Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Converse College MFA

Priority deadlines for application and scholarship consideration: Summer residency/Fall semester-February 15; Winter residency/Spring semester-October 1. As long as space is available, additional applications are considered on a rolling basis one month beyond the priority deadline-March 15 for Summer/Fall and November 1 for Winter/Spring.

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 MFA 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.

An Award-Winning Tradition

Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of their “MFA Programs to Watch”, Converse’s MFA in Creative Writing program boasts a long history of inspiring and developing award-winning writers. Our alumni include Julia Peterkin, the only South Carolinian to win the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Recent students and graduates have published or had accepted for publication multiple books with major NY publishers and acclaimed independent presses, plus they have been honored as Georgia Author of the Year, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and received a number of individual writing awards.

Our Converse graduates have distinguished themselves with accomplishments and awards including:

  • Graduates signed book deals with HarperCollins, Little A, Random House, Press 53 and others
  • MFA graduate selected as the Georgia Author of the Year
  • The South Carolina Poetry Initiative Book Prize winner
  • Southeast Review Narrative Nonfiction Prize winner
  • Bryant-Lisembee Poetry Prize winner
  • The Association of Writers & Writing Program’s Intro Award winner
  • Co-founder/Director of the Disquiet International Literary Program in Portugal
  • Hub City Writing Award winner (poetry and fiction)
  • Faculty at East Carolina University, Clemson University, and College of Charleston

Clemson-Converse Literature Series

In partnership with Converse’s MFA program, the Clemson-Converse Literature Series publishes poetry collections, short-story collections, and creative nonfiction. Read more about the series here.

Publishing Opportunities Through the Clemson-Converse Literature Series

Converse College and Clemson University Press are pleased to announce a publishing collaboration in conjunction with the low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program at Converse. The partnership, known as the Clemson-Converse Literature Series, publishes poetry collections, short-story collections, and nonfiction essay collections selected by two competitions, each of which will run biennially.

The first in the Clemson-Converse Literature Series is the Converse MFA Alumni Book Prize Series, which offers current students and alumni the opportunity to enter a book-length poetry manuscript, short fiction manuscript, or essay manuscript into the contest. Submissions to the inaugural MFA Book Prize for book-length submissions in poetry and short fiction must be received by February 15, 2021.

The submissions will be judged by a writer of national distinction, edited, published and distributed by the Clemson University Press. The winning author will receive a standard royalty book contract and a reading during the Converse MFA program residency session.

2021 Converse MFA Alumni Book Prize Guidelines and Eligibility

Visiting Writers

During residencies and throughout the academic year, writers, editors, and agents visit Converse to give public readings and to lead discussions on writing craft, publishing, and literary editing. Recent visiting writers to the Converse campus include:

  • C. Michael Curtis
  • D. Gilson
  • Gary Jackson
  • Ashley M. Jones
  • Randall Kenan
  • Margaret McMullan
  • Julie Marie Wade
  • Jillian Weise


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