Mona Awad, Chanelle Benz, Jonathan Dee, Matt Grzecki, Sarah Harwell, Brooks Haxton, Mary Karr, Christopher Kennedy, George Saunders, Bruce Smith, Dana Spiotta

The MFA program in Creative Writing at Syracuse has long been regarded as one of the best in the country. Each year six students are admitted in poetry and six in fiction to work closely in small workshops with an accomplished group of writers. Coursework includes a strong emphasis on the study of literature. Six semesters are usually needed to complete the M.F.A.

Applicants must upload a sample of fiction or poetry with their online application through CollegeNet no later than December 15, as well as complete the online graduate application for graduate study.  Admission is based primarily on the writing sample, but also upon the academic record. Thus, letters of recommendation should address not only the student’s creative work, but also his or her general preparedness for advanced graduate study. Likewise, in their personal statements on the application for graduate study, students should state their reasons for pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing as well as describe their own backgrounds as writers.

Submit online Graduate Application via ApplyWeb by DECEMBER 15th. 

  • FICTION APPLICANTS: UPLOAD your 20 page maximum writing sample with your CollegeNet application by DECEMBER 15.
  • POETRY APPLICANTS: UPLOAD your 10-12 POEMS with CollegeNet application by December 15 . Do NOT mail in your poetry writing sample.

Candidates must complete 48 credits of coursework, which includes 9 credits of workshop, a minimum of 9 credits in forms courses, a 3-credit second-year essay seminar, 12 to 15 credits in other English department courses, 6 to 9 credits of electives outside the department, and 6 credits for the preparation of the thesis (a collection of poems or stories or a novel).

For more information about our graduate programs, visit our department web site at .

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Writing, editing and revision in student’s primary literary genre, leading to a creative manuscript of publishable quality

2. Reading in ways that contribute to a student’s writing

3. Analyzing and writing with care about literary texts

4. Responding thoughtfully and critically to work by other MFA students

5. Demonstrate writerly discipline by accepting criticism from professionals and rewriting accordingly, writing regularly, and developing a life-long reading list

6. Place their own work in the context of a broad range of issues and activities associated with a literary writer and the communities in which the writer lives and works

7. Teach composition and research writing to undergraduates and conduct one-on-one tutoring sessions in a Writing Center

MFA Graduate Awards

First year MFAs come in on a Creative Writing Fellowship award which carries no teaching duties. The award comes with a stipend and a 24 credit hour tuition scholarship.

Second and third year students are funded by teaching assistantships. Teaching assistantships include a 24 credit hour tuition scholarship and a stipend of $20,000. Second year TAs will have full responsibility for teaching/consulting in the department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition. They are expected to attend regular staff meetings and workshops and participate in a mentoring group. There is a review of each teaching assistant’s performance as a teacher. Third year students will teach in the English Department, courses to be determined on an as needed basis.

Orange Alert

Creative writing faculty.



  1. In Class With Professor Christopher Kennedy, Director of the MFA

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  1. Creative Writing M.F.A. Program

    We the faculty of Syracuse University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing stand with our students against the structural racism in this country that has led to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, and the thousands who have preceded them in the last 400 years.

  2. Program: Creative Writing, MFA

    The MFA program in Creative Writing at Syracuse has long been regarded as one of the best in the country. Each year six students are admitted in poetry and six in fiction to work closely in small workshops with an accomplished group of writers. Coursework includes a strong emphasis on the study of literature.

  3. Creative Writing, M.F.A.

    The three-year M.F.A. program in Creative Writing gives promising fiction writers and poets an opportunity to practice their art with dedicated fellow writers. This close-knit community is committed to addressing the challenges of the literary process and concentrates on the craft and quality of literary writing.

  4. M.F.A. Creative Writing Students

    Graduate Students Elena Asofsky M.F.A. Student and Creative Writing Fellow (ENG) English [email protected] 315.443.2173 Stephen Banks M.F.A. Student and Creative Writing Fellow (ENG) English Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition [email protected] 315.443.2173

  5. Application Instructions

    We welcome campus visits for applicants who have been admitted to the MFA in Creative Writing, the MA in English, or the PhD in English programs. You MUST possess a BA or BS in order to apply to any one of our Graduate Programs, but you don't need to have a BA or BS degree while applying. Financial Documents

  6. Creative Writing Faculty

    You are here: Arts & Sciences Department of English Creative Writing M.F.A. Program Creative Writing Faculty Creative Writing Faculty Mona Awad Esther M. Larsen Faculty Fellow in the Humanities and Assistant Professor English Chanelle Benz Associate Professor English [email protected]