»M.F.A. in Creative Writing

The MFA in Creative Writing at Chapman University is the most aesthetically diverse program you’ll find anywhere, with more genre options for students. Our faculty include award-winning writers Mark Axelrod, Richard Bausch, James P. Blaylock, Alicia Kozameh, Anna Leahy, Martin Nakell, and Tom Zoellner. At Chapman University, we write nestled between the mountains and the ocean, with sunshine almost every day of the year.

Our MFA students begin with a common course called Aspects of a Writer that introduces the practice and business of the writer’s life. Students read great literature and write fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or even screenwriting and can work in more than one genre and in digital modes. The MFA program culminates with a thesis guided by a faculty mentor. All courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening.

We offer two fellowships each year, with full tuition remission and an $18,000 stipend, and also offer scholarships. Second-year students have assistantship opportunities in the classroom, with literary projects, and in campus offices such as Chapman Magazine. Our program beyond the program is unbeatable, with the Tabula Poetica reading series and WordTheatre every fall, the John Fowles Literary Forum of international writers every spring, and an international poetry journal on which MFA students work as readers and book reviewers.

+-Admission Requirements

All applicants must provide the following materials:

  • Official transcripts from baccalaureate degree granting institution.
  • A three- to four-page essay stating your reasons for wanting to attend Chapman University’s MFA Program. Discuss your career and personal goals and how you believe earning your degree at Chapman University will assist in attaining your goals.
  • Two letters of recommendation that speak to your academic preparation, intellectual ability, and aptitude for graduate study.
  • A non-returnable portfolio of creative work that represents your style and demonstrates your potential; this portfolio should include a minimum of either 25 pages of fiction or nonfiction or 10-15 pages of poetry.

+-Application Deadlines

Apply now using the Online Application.

Fellowship/Scholarship Application Deadline: 
February 1

Applications are reviewed year-round for Fall and Spring admission.

+-Dual M.A./M.F.A. Degree

The dual degree combines the MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in English by merging the practice and study of creative writing with in-depth literary scholarship in a three-year program. It is designed especially for students who intend to pursue a career in teaching English and creative writing at the university, community college, or secondary-school level.

Dual-degree students must be admitted to both the MA and MFA programs, be enrolled concurrently in both programs, and complete all requirements for each degree program, including both thesis requirements. For further information on degree prerequisites, admission requirements, and a list of courses, view the Graduate Course Catalog.

In addition to application materials required for the MFA, dual-degree applicants must submit a non-returnable critical essay of 10-15 pages that demonstrates critical skills and ability to discuss literary and theoretical texts.

Students already enrolled in either the MA or the MFA program who wish to switch to the dual-degree program must apply and be admitted to the other degree program before completing 27 credits.

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The Fowles Center for Creative Writing

Learn more about the Fowles Center!

Tabula Poetica

Professor Richard Bausch

Prof. Bausch Wins Rea Award

The Rea Award honors a living American or Canadian writer whose published work has made a “significant contribution in the discipline of the short story as an art form.” (Read More)

TAB Poet Awarded Pushcart Prize

The Pushcart Prize is, according to Publishers Weekly, “among the most influential projects in the history of American publishing.” In only its second year of publication, TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics was recognized by a Pushcart Prize for Chloe Honum’s poem “Snow White.”