Majors & Programs

Creative Writing (MFA)

We are the storytellers and the poets.

We know writing is your life. That’s why our Creative Writing (MFA) focuses on the actual practice of writing, as well as its literary foundations. As one of the longest-running programs of its kind, this MFA program boasts some of the most impressive faculty in writing and publishing, is home to two award-winning literary journals, and is strongly connected to the Boston publishing community. Choosing from the areas of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, you will explore writing as both an art form and a professional pursuit.

You'll have the chance to:

  • Improve your writing and develop your unique literary voice while exploring the history and context of your genre;
  • Take elective workshops in topics from fiction to nonfiction, poetry to screenwriting, digital to traditional publishing, and everything in between; and
  • Gain experience outside the classroom, from teaching creative writing in our Writing Studies Program to editing journals such as Ploughshares and Redivider.

By the time you graduate, you will have completed a professional thesis—a novel or novel excerpt; nonfiction book or excerpt; or a collection of poems, short stories, or essays—ready for consideration by agents and publishing houses or for digital publication.

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Detailed Curriculum

View degree requirements, sample curriculum maps, and more.

Careers & Connections

Our students are offered opportunities to teach writing through the Writing Studies Program, edit literary journals including Ploughshares and Redivider, work as interns at Boston publishing houses and magazines, and teach creative writing to high school students from the greater Boston community through emersonWRITES. Students participate in Emerson’s Graduate Reading Series and the inter-MFA program Breakwater Reading Series to showcase their own work. A close relationship with the MA in Publishing and Writing program allows students to improve their professional skills (copyediting, book design, digital publishing, etc.) and develop lasting connections with the publishing and editorial world. Emerson offers everything aspiring writers need to hone their talents and refine their craft in a world-class city brimming with professional and artistic opportunities.

Faculty

As one of the longest running creative writing MFA programs in the country, Emerson’s Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing has attracted an industry-active faculty that offers students a diverse range of perspectives and expertise.

  • Emerson’s creative writing faculty are all actively writing and publishing in their respective genres. Recent faculty accolades include:
  • Pulitzer Prize in Biography and Memoir
  • Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts
  • Fiction Honors from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association
  • Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction

MFA students can count on the mentoring of our faculty members during and after the program. A distinguishing feature of Emerson’s program is the peer-to-peer relationships that students build with the faculty; you will be treated as an equal and a future colleague from your first day on campus.

Your Graduate Program Director

Jabari Asim is a writer and multidisciplinary artist. His poetry, drama, and prose have been widely published in various periodicals and anthologies. He was an editor for eleven years at the Washington Post, where he also wrote a syndicated column on politics, popular culture, and social issues. For ten years, he was the editor-in-chief of The Crisis, the NAACP's flagship journal of politics, culture, and ideas. In 2009, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts.

Asim's nonfiction books include The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why; What Obama Means: ...For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future; and Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on Law, Justice, and Life. His books for children include Whose Toes Are Those? and Fifty Cents and a Dream. His works of fiction include A Taste of Honey and Only The Strong, a novel.