Master of Fine Arts (MFA) – Creative Writing (Low-Residency)

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) – Creative Writing (Low-Residency)

mfa creative writing

The MFA in Creative Writing is a two-year co-educational low residency program designed for serious, independent writers seeking advanced instruction in poetry, fiction, young adult fiction, creative nonfiction, and environmental writing through a non-traditional course of graduate study. The program emphasizes the mastery and understanding of writing skills and contemporary literature and craft through the master-writer and apprentice mentoring relationship, ultimately offering students a stimulating and individually tailored curriculum of courses and projects.

The degree requires 48 hours of graduate credit completed during four 9-day residencies at Converse College, offered twice annually (summer and in January), four mentoring semesters, a fifth graduating residency, the completion of a substantive analytical project on literature or craft, and a book-length creative thesis and oral defense.

Learn more about the Master of Fine Arts.

The main requirement for applications is a portfolio of original work comprised of the following:

  • Applicants in Fiction and Young Adult Fiction: 20-25 pages of fiction or young adult fiction, typed and double-spaced.
  • Applicants in Nonfiction: 20-25 pages of creative nonfiction, typed and double-spaced.
  • Applicants in Poetry: 10- 12 pages of poetry
  • Applicants in Environmental Writing: Students applying for the Environmental Writing emphasis are admitted as either fiction, nonfiction, or poetry genre students, and should submit according to the page requirements above.

In addition to the sample manuscript, you will submit the following:

  • MFA Cover Letter
  • Completed MFA application including $40 application fee
  • Official transcripts from the accredited college or university from which her/his highest degree was awarded
  • Two letters of academic and/or professional reference.
  • A brief personal statement responding to the following:
    Whose writing do you admire and why? Why do you want to study the writing of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction? What do you hope to gain from an MFA program, especially a low-residency MFA program?

Application Deadlines

Applications for the Summer/Fall term should be submitted by February 15.
Applications for the Winter/Spring term should be submitted by October 1.

Apply to the MFA Program

The 2019-2020 tuition rates for the MFA program are $530 per credit hour or $6,360 per semester, well below the national average for low-residency MFA programs.

Upon acceptance, a $400 deposit is required to hold the student’s place in the program. This deposit is non-refundable and is applied to tuition. There is also an access fee of $80 for Fall and Spring terms (each term) and $50 for Jan and Summer terms (each term).

Full payment of tuition and registration fees are due two weeks before the beginning of each residency (early May for the Summer Residency and Fall Mentoring Semester and early December for the January Residency and Winter/Spring Mentoring Semester) and may be sent by check or money order or paid by Visa or MasterCard by phone before arrival at the residency. Tuition is nonrefundable after the tuition payment deadline.

Housing Costs
The MFA program works with Residential Life to provide affordable on campus room & board during the summer residency session when available, and with local hotels to provide housing during the January residency session. Rates vary from year to year, but generally cost approximately $1200 to $1500 annually for room and board.

Learn more about financial aid for the MFA program.


Gabrielle Freeman

Gabrielle Freeman

Converse MFA Graduate, Gabrielle Freeman, Wins Randall Jarrell Prize in Poetry
MFA Alumna Gabrielle Freeman’s poem “Failure to Obliterate” was the prize winner in the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition. She won $200 and publication in a special supplement of storySouth. The North Carolina Writer’s Network story gives high praise for this work. Congratulations Gabrielle!


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