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MFA Creative Writing Program Overview

Our MFA in Creative Writing program includes three intensive two-week summer residencies, three online semesters of creative writing and critical reading and one online semester of thesis preparation. We encourage students to begin the program with a summer residency, but you may opt to begin in the spring.

We modeled our low-residency format on the mentorships that informed the development of many accomplished writers before residential M.F.A. programs even existed. Each faculty mentor works with no more than five students per class. As a result, our students enjoy the freedom and flexibility to participate in our program remotely, while still benefiting from close mentoring relationships with established authors.

You will choose the primary genre in which you plan to work: poetry, creative nonfiction or fiction (fiction includes science fiction and fantasy). If you’d like to work in a second genre, a cross-genre is available.

By the time you’ve completed our M.F.A. program, you will have created and revised an original work and finished a thesis that can serve as the foundation for a book-length manuscript.

MFA Summer Residency student

Delivery Format



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How Do I Know if This Program Is Right for Me?

This program is ideal for anyone who:

  • Wants to develop writing skills and relationships that will last a lifetime.
  • Has been out of school for a while and wants to reconnect with the literary arts.
  • Would love to be mentored by accomplished writers.
  • Is eager to gain publishing experience by working as an editor for a literary magazine or a publishing assistant for a poetry press.
  • Writes better and more regularly when involved in a community of writers.

Learning Experiences

You can look forward to the following:

  • Three intensive two-week summer residencies that are taught on a mentorship basis.
  • Four online semesters of courses taught via Blackboard and video conferencing.
  • Ongoing, individualized mentoring from established writers.
  • Lively yet rigorous discussions of contemporary literature and one another’s writing.
Writers at MFA Summer Residency

Student Organizations and Internships

You will have the opportunity to participate in:

  • Editing the Black Fork Review, a literary journal featuring poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction by AU students and faculty and writers from the wider literary landscape. In your role as an editor, you lead teams of undergraduates in editing work in each genre.
  • Graduate publishing assistantships
    • A limited number of graduate publishing assistantships to work with the Ashland Poetry Press are available to students who have taken ENG 631: Mentorship I and have selected poetry as their primary genre.
    • Students are chosen for assistantships during the fall semester; decisions are based on faculty recommendations and a cover letter sent to the managing editor of Ashland Poetry Press.
  • Graduate teaching assistantships that help pay for your education while you gain teaching experience. Currently, qualified M.F.A students earn $2,494 for each course they teach. Based on availability, you may be able to teach five classes during your time in the M.F.A program.
Writers at MFA Summer Residency in classroom

Course Sequence

You can learn more about the curriculum by reviewing the Curriculum for the M.F.A Program in Creative Writing and Academic Catalog.



The Student Accessibility Center works one-on-one with students to ensure that all coursework and events are fully accessible. The center offers a variety of resources and services, including text-to-speech software. Please contact the Student Accessibility Center to learn more or to set up an appointment.

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Tuition & Fees

This information shows the tuition fees for the M.F.A program in creative writing. Explanations of residency-only and additional fees follow the table.

For information about financial aid, go to Graduate School Financial Aid.

Graduate Outcomes

"The Ashland University low-residency program feels more akin to a family than a program. The faculty and staff are not only highly skilled but also deeply caring. I graduated from the program not only a better writer but a better person."

- David Baxley, Ashland University M.F.A. Alumnus

MFA Summer Residency participants talking to each other on campus

Can You Give Me a Glimpse of My Future?

Graduates may pursue opportunities as a published author, freelance writer, editor, or educator, our program and be equipped with the skills, knowledge and creative insight to thrive in today's competitive writing landscape. Beyond traditional roles, graduates often find success in fields such as marketing, communications and content creation, leveraging their storytelling abilities to engage audiences and drive impactful narratives across industries. Our program fosters a supportive community of writers and provides opportunities for professional development, mentorship and publication, empowering you to pursue your passion and make a lasting impact with your words.

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