Masters of Fine Arts – MFA in Writing
USD 9,450 / per semester
Earliest start date
Our low-residency MFA in Writing program is a nationally recognized leader in graduate writing education. Founded in 2001, it’s one of the oldest and best-regarded programs of its kind. But the Spalding MFA is more than an outstanding creative writing education in a non-competitive, supportive literary community. For our students, alums, and faculty, it’s home. As the flagship program of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing, it’s also sister to three additional low-residency programs: the 35-credit Master of Arts in Writing (MAW), 15-credit graduate certificate in writing, and the post-master’s certificate.
At a substantial 65 credits, the MFA program creates space for creative writers to thrive. Over four semesters plus a graduation residency, students write prolifically in their own area of concentration, explore across genres, examine the interrelatedness of the arts, gain editorial experience in a literary journal, learn about the writing business, and complete a creative thesis — all while becoming part of a lasting community.
Each semester begins with a week-long residency. Whether you attend virtual or on-campus residencies or a mix of both over the course of your studies, you’ll find that residency days are filled with learning opportunities: workshops led by our actively publishing and producing faculty members, genre-specific and cross-genre lectures, panel discussions, readings, and more. At on-campus residencies, you'll discover Louisville&rsquo's downtown arts scene and stay in the four-star Brown Hotel. At virtual residencies, you;ll engage with the same immersive curriculum as you would on campus, taught live in real time by the same outstanding faculty. MFA students can opt to spend a residency in a teaching seminar, a book-length manuscript workshop, or a workshop in translation, adaptation, or another creative writing genre.
Back at home, a one-on-one mentored independent study course rounds out the semester. During independent study, you’ ll exchange five full packets of material with your mentor. That's more writing and expert feedback than most other programs can offer. Students produce a creative thesis; playwriting students also develop their creative thesis with a professional theater company. Students can take an entire semester in another area and still graduate on time.
Every writer has work or family obligations. While you could push aside those commitments for a couple of years of grad school, you can’t keep life at bay forever. Much better to build a sustainable writing practice into your daily life. Our low-residency model teaches you to do just that &mdash, and to make it easier, we offer flexibility in scheduling your weekly workload and charting your course of study. For added inspiration, we also offer students and alumni the option of enrichment travel.
We accept transfer credit from other MFA programs. Students with a published book or produced script may apply for acceleration.
- Upcoming Residencies
- Fall: November 11 – 18, 2023
- Spring: May 25 – June 1, 2024
- Named a top 10 low residency MFA program by Poets & Writers.
- Early decision application deadlines are February 1 for the spring and summer semesters, and August 1 for the fall semester.
- MFA alumni have garnered top national honors while publishing and producing more than 500 books, plays and films. To read about alumni successes, click on the concentrations listed above.
- Recent visiting writers include Natasha Trethewey, Kiki Petrosino, Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson, Randy Ribay, Kevin Willmott, Sheila Callaghan, Ann Patchett, Tim O’Brien, Terese Marie Mailhot, Pico Iyer, Doug Wright, John Patrick Shanley, and more.
- Tuition is affordable, and financial aid is available.
- We are members of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, SCBWI and the Playwrights’ Center.
- Spalding is the world’s first certified Compassionate University.
- We welcome veterans.
- You can get to know our faculty and directors on our blog.
Scholarships and Funding
Assistantships and Program Scholarships
We award more than $1 million in assistantships and scholarships to graduate students each year. Check with your graduate program of interest for more information or view our types of aid to learn more about graduate assistantships, grants and other types of aid.
Endowed and Named Scholarships
Our endowed and named scholarships are funded by gifts from alumni, friends and faculty of Spalding. Scholarships are awarded annually based on financial need. Completed application for admission and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are required. Award amounts and qualifications vary by scholarship, but funding is available to students across academic programs. Learn more about our endowed and named scholarships.
Spalding graduates with a bachelors or masters degree may qualify for a 10% discount on tuition for the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Master of Science in Business Communication, Doctor of Social Work, and Post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate.
Many national organizations offer financial assistance to students. For these outside scholarships, we’ve gathered links to help you in your search. Local organizations may also be a resource for you.
As students become aware of outside awards that they will have while at Spalding, they can send that information to [email protected]. Terms of outside awards are determined by the person/organization awarding the funds. Spalding does not provide students with any personal information about a scholarship donor.
- Creative Nonfiction
- Writing for Children & Young Adults