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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Master of Fine Arts – Creative Writing

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The M.F.A. program in creative writing meets the needs of students who want to strike a balance between the development of individual creative talent and the close study of literature and language.

Candidates in the program will find it appropriate training for careers in free-lancing, college-level teaching, editing and publishing, arts administration, and several other areas.

New students will discover the faculty eager to work with them and a community atmosphere extremely supportive of their writing.

Up IconAdmission Requirements

To enter the program without deficiency, you must have the equivalent of at least a minor in English--that is, 18 semester credits in literature, writing, and/or linguistics. Students who enter with small deficiencies may be allowed to make them up within their programs.

Deadlines for applications: February 1 to be considered for a Teaching or other Graduate Assistantship. April 15 for fall-term admission only.

By the above date, you must submit the following material to the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English.

See the [PDF] Application Cover Sheet (88 KiB) for more details:

  • a writing sample: 10 pages of poetry, or 20 pages of prose (with a short explanation if an excerpt)
  • a 1-2 page statement describing your background in writing and your interest in working in a graduate creative writing program
  • if interested, a [PDF] Graduate Assistantship Application (54 KiB), with additional material required by the Department of English (see Graduate Assistantships below)
  • two letters of recommendation addressing your preparation for graduate study and (if relevant) for a teaching or other graduate assistantship
  • a completed Application for Graduate Study (all required forms, transcripts and fee)
  • verification of your baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college (if your baccalaureate degree has not been completed at the time of application, send a current transcript with your application and send a verification of your degree directly to the Graduate School upon completion)
  • any additional information required of international students (visit the College of Graduate Studies web site)

GRE scores are not required.

Candidates whose native language is not English must have a TOEFL score of at least 550.

Up IconGraduate Assistantships

The Department of English employs about 30 teaching and research assistants at stipends of approximately $9000 over two semesters. Assistants receive full tuition remission for up to 18 credits over the academic year (two semesters). All graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of six credits per semester. Assistants are provided office space and have faculty library privileges.

Teaching Assistants in the Department of English typically teach freshman composition. The TA Director provides a supportive atmosphere where assistants learn composition theory and pedagogy. In addition, assistants are trained in the latest methods of computer-assisted writing instruction. For more information, visit the English Graduate Assistantships web page and also see the [PDF] GTA Vacancy Notice (263 KiB) and [PDF] GTA instructions (49 KiB) for screening criteria.

Other assistantships are available from Student Affairs, Learning Center, Memorial Library, and Residential Life offices of the University. For a list of available graduate assistantships, visit the Human Resources Job Posting web page on the College of Graduate Studies web site.

For information about other types of financial assistance, students should write to:

Office of Financial Aid
Minnesota State University, Mankato
109 Wigley Administration Center
Mankato, MN 56001
Telephone: (507) 389-1185
Web site:

Up IconMFA Creative Writing Program Director

Professor Richard Robbins
Department of English
Minnesota State University, Mankato
230 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, MN 56001
Telephone: (507) 389-1354

Up IconDepartment of English Graduate Programs Director

If you do not find answers to your questions on this web page, or if you need more information about Department of English graduate programs at Minnesota State University, Mankato, please contact:

Professor Melissa Purdue
Director of English Graduate Studies
Department of English
Minnesota State University, Mankato
230 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, MN  56001
Telephone: (507) 389-5510

Up IconProgram Requirements

Required for MFA in Creative Writing: 48 credits

See the Program Requirements (broken link)

Up IconLength of Program

Full-time students will typically complete their coursework and theses in 2-3 years. All graduate requirements for the Master of Fine Arts must be completed within a six-year period.

Up IconProgram Activities

Visiting Writers

The Good Thunder Reading Series brings emerging and established writers to Minnesota State University, Mankato for one-day residencies, usually seven per year. These visits include manuscript conferences, classroom visits, craft lectures, and public readings. Past guests have included William Stafford, Olga Broumas, Tim O'Brien, Louise Erdrich, Donald Hall, Carolyn Forche, Rick DeMarinis, Jane Smiley, and over 100 others. During Spring Semester, the Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Program sponsors an extended, week-long residency by an additional poet or prose writer.

Community Readings

Each month during the semester, graduate students in creative writing sponsor the Writers Bloc series of open readings, which gives campus and community writers the opportunity to read their work in a public forum. At various times during the year, graduate students who are nearing completion of their programs will give thesis readings before audiences of faculty, fellow students, and members of the general public.

Student/Faculty Publications

If you would like to see where MSU creative writers are publishing their work, see our Kudos page.


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