Creative Writing M.F.A. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

English Language and Literature

Program Description

The M.F.A. Program.

The Creative Writing program in the department of Literatures in English offers an M.F.A. degree only, with concentrations in either poetry or fiction. Each year the department enrolls only eight students, four in each concentration. Our small size allows us to offer a generous financial support package, details of which are outlined on our department website. At the same time, we have a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical, and cultural fields.

Students participate in a graduate writing workshop each semester and take 6 additional one-semester courses for credit, at least four of them in English or American literature, Comparative Literature, literature in the modern or classical languages, or cultural studies (typically two per semester during the first year and one per semester during the second year). First year students receive practical training by working as Editorial Assistants for Epoch, a periodical of prose and poetry published by the Creative Writing staff of the department. The most significant requirement of the M.F.A. degree is the completion of a book-length manuscript: a collection of poems, short stories, or a novel.

The Special Committee. Every student selects a Special Committee who will be responsible for providing the student with a great deal of individual attention. The University system of Special Committees allows students to design their own courses of study within a broad framework laid down by the department, and it encourages a close working relationship between professors and students, promoting freedom and flexibility in the pursuit of the graduate degree. The student's Special Committee guides and supervises all academic work and assesses progress through a series of meetings with the student.

Teaching. Teaching is considered an integral part of training for the profession. The Field requires a carefully supervised teaching experience as part of the training for the degree. The Department of English, in conjunction with the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines, offers excellent training for beginning teachers and varied and interesting teaching within the university-wide First-Year Writing Program. Graduate students are assigned to writing courses under such general rubrics as "Portraits of the Self," "American Literature and Culture," "The Mystery in the Story," "Shakespeare," and "Cultural Studies," among others. Serving as a Teaching Assistant for a lecture course taught by a member of the Department of English faculty is another way graduate students participate in the teaching of undergraduates.

Contact Information

Phone: 607-255-7989

250 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • creative writing


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Dec. 15 (Fall term admission only)

Requirements Summary:

 (includes Graduate School Requirements)

 The application must be submitted online. Detailed requirement summaries for applicants are available on the MFA in Creative Writing Program website.

Learning Outcomes