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Call us: 419.289.5098 

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Now accepting applications for Spring 2020

Faculty Spotlight

Lily Hoang, creative nonfiction faculty, Ashland MFA
Lily Hoang is the author of five books of prose, including Changing (recipient of a PEN Open Books Award) and A Bestiary (winner of the...Read more

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Student Opinions

"The distance education model attracted me to Ashland because it is a model that reflects writing in real life, among the time constraints and busy schedules that plague us all. The faculty was also a huge factor in selecting Ashland. Bar none, the faculty rocks…in a literary sense." - Jon Kerstetter '11
"...the greatest value, by far, was the network I gained -- the peer writers and faculty I still rely upon for feedback, encouragement, and those long email discussions about structure and ethics and how best to handle a tetchy real-life character on the page. I've tried local writing groups... more" - Valerie Due '09
"I learned to read all over again, and learned to write with a keenness and honesty that I would not have gained on my own. I learned also that writing in itself is a goal, a valuable end in itself. I value this MFA more than my Ph.D., for sure." - David MacWilliams '11
"[The program] gave me a place to start in getting down “to it.” The “it” being serious about writing. For me, the program was an organized way to begin taking myself seriously and finally calling myself a writer--with no apologies." - Nancy Leinbach '11
" poetry seems richer. I tend to take more risks with my work without worrying (as much) about how it will be received." - Detrick Hughes '11
"I appreciated the combined creative nonfiction and poetry craft sessions and readings. I found that the two genres began to speak into one another in a way that impacted my writing unlike other programs where I would be limited to my genre alone." - Joan Hanna '11
"I took away from the program a sense of willingness to risk, creatively and personally, and a sense of connection to others who are eager to expand their creative repertoire as writers. I also regained my sense that writing lives most vitally when it grows into and out of rich relationships... more" - David Wright '11
"The (MFA) program taught me what it’s like to balance real life (as in, the work life) and writing. I feel like the low-res track is more realistic, in some ways. The program taught me to balance reading, writing and the day job. When I finished the MFA, I didn’t stop writing. I just kept... more" - Ashley Bethard '10
"I love how the faculty and students at Ashland MFA have helped me fine-tune my writing with tactful craft suggestions, but without sacrificing my voice and style. I've found a wonderful community here and I am so thrilled with the program as a whole." - Amy Zaranek ’20
"The Ashland MFA program taught me the art of the essay. I learned from skilled writers who showed me mentor texts to emulate, broke down skills and techniques, and provided feedback on my own writing. From my first days in the program, I was impressed with the amount of time faculty spent in... more" - Mark Putney ’18
"During my MFA in Creative Writing at Ashland I wrote my thesis “The Beginning of Trouble” and it was published by Main Street Rag out of Charlotte, NC under its new title “Asphalt Heart” upon my graduation in August 2018. Over half of my thesis also was published in literary magazines during... more" - William Garten ’18
"The award-winning young relevant faculty, intensive interactive two-week summer residencies on a lush campus and supportive high-bar year round curricula at Ashland University's MFA program pushed my poetry to and through places I did not even know existed. It is the MFA low-residency option... more" - Judith Camann ’18

Contact Us

Phone: 419-289-5098
Address: 401 College Avenue / Ashland, Ohio 44805

The MFA Office is also home to The Ashland Poetry Press.

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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

We are currently accepting applications for Spring 2020.

Welcome from Program Director

Christian Kiefer, MFA Director

Greetings from the eastern edge of the great Midwest, a place of marked contrasts and artistic furies: verdant summer days, fall colors to steeple the blood, stark beautiful winters, springtimes filled with the hum of bees and the silence of butterflies. And in the midst of such geographies: the village of Ashland, Ohio, more than two hundred years old and containing within its borders the creative spark you have been looking for all your life.  Read more...

Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing:

  • Degree tracks in poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, or sci-fi/fantasy
  • Cross-genre options for students interested in more than one genre
  • Single, annual-residency model: 14 days each summer for three summers
  • Six total weeks of intensive residencies on campus during entire program
  • Four non-residential semesters of study via the internet
  • Maximum of five students per faculty mentor
  • Writing packets exchanged four times per semester
  • On-going, intensive online discussion of assigned books

The low-residency format of our creative writing graduate programs is based on the sort of mentorship relationships that informed the development of many accomplished writers prior to the establishment of traditional, residential MFA Programs. Throughout all aspects of the Ashland MFA Program, students will:

  • Connect with and learn from distinguished writers
  • Develop writing relationships to last a lifetime
  • Build a basis in reading for a life of writing
  • Create and revise original materials in chosen genre(s)
  • Complete a book-length manuscript
  • Deepen an ability to assess literature critically
  • Re-energize a commitment to the literary arts

Read more about our coursework or faculty