MFA Creative Writing


Poetry & Fiction

Over 25 years of guiding writers to unexpected heights

Apply to the MFA now!
MFA Creative Writing

Upcoming Readers

Oni Buchanan
    & John Woodward

Piano, Spoken Word, Electronics November 3

Richard McCann

Fiction, January 30

Robert Hass
    & Brenda Hillman

Poetry, April 24


The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is for students with advanced abilities in the writing of fiction and poetry. The nationally ranked program offers a balance of intimate and intensive writing workshops with courses in literature, form and technique, and related electives. CSU also offers a Master of English in Creative Nonfiction, and our MFA students regularly enroll in Creative Nonfiction Courses. Course work culminates in a thesis—a collection of poetry, short stories or a novel—and the completion of a comprehensive Portfolio.

Applicants to the program should request application information from our Graduate Programs Assistant; contact information is available on the M.F.A. application page. Though GPA is considered, we pay the closest attention to your writing sample: 12-20 pages of poems for poets, or two short stories or a chapter or two of a novel in-progress for fiction writers. For full consideration for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, and for any University fellowships, we must receive all of your application documents by January 1st.

Learn More About Fort Collins

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships are available on a competitive basis, as are assistantships for the position of Administrative Assistant to the Director of Creative Writing. Students with Teaching Assistantships or Colorado Fellowships usually complete the M.F.A. in three years; those who don't need financial aid can finish in two.

If you're applying for a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA), make sure to provide a written statement that speaks to your qualifications and enthusiasm for college teaching. Remember, most GTAs will be teaching freshman composition. In your application, emphasize anything that speaks to your formal teaching experience (paid or volunteer), such as tutoring, writing center counseling, or even coaching or outdoor recreation. In addition, remind those who are writing your letters of recommendation to speak to your potential for college teaching.

MFA Internships

Internship Opportunities

We offer a variety of for-credit internships (some paid) in such areas as college teaching, public education, arts administration in literature, and literary editing (including the Center for Literary Publishing, the Colorado Review, and the Freestone, the Department's alumni magazine. A paid internship as editor of Garden Level, a literary magazine staffed by CSU undergraduates, is also available.

M.F.A. candidates can also take a course in Teaching College Creative Writing, which allows them to teach Introduction to Creative Writing.

Learn about our Colorado Review graduate internship.

MFA Requirements


  • Completion of forty-eight semester credits including twelve credits of thesis work
  • Completion of the following required core courses:
    • E513 Form & Technique in Modern Literature: Fiction or Poetry (3 credits)
    • E640 Graduate Writing Workshop: Fiction or Poetry (12 credits)
    • One course (300-level or above) outside the English Department (unless your bachelor's degree was not in English—3 credits)
    • E699 Thesis (12 credits)
    • Pre-20th Century E500+ literature course (3 credits)
    • For a brief overview of all major requirements, see M.F.A. Program Requirements
  • Completion of portfolio
  • Graduate Advising Notes:MFA Program
  • For additional details, see:
    The Book

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

~ Toni Morrison


Compassion for the Character Sitting Next to You

By Meghan Pipe  |  December 19, 2015  |  Uncategorized

Finals week wrapped up and I headed home on an early flight, fun-reading book in my carry-on bag. I had been waiting since August to read this novel; it sat on my bedside table for months, spine uncracked and taunting. The workshop comments and the grading and the office hours and the adjusting to my […]

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Writer Insecurities

By Lauren Matheny  |  December 10, 2015  |  Uncategorized

Three times each semester, a knell rings for an MFA Creative Fiction student at CSU. Do you hear it? That, my friend, is the harkening of a deadline. Three stories a semester might not seem like much. Each clocking in at somewhere close to twenty pages, double spaced, they’re perfectly manageable when looked at as […]

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Fort Collins’s Literary Scene Just Got Larger

By Sasha Steensen  |  November 30, 2015  |  Uncategorized

Todd Simmons has been the forefront of Fort Collins’s literary scene for over a decade. Back in 2002, he began Matterzine, a local newspaper that published fiction, nonfiction, poetry and community writing. In 2005, Simmons founded Wolverine Farm, a nonprofit literary/ arts organization. For those of you who don’t already know, Wolverine Farm Publishing is […]

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Gratitude and Imitation- For Everyone at the Table

By Ryann Peats  |  November 27, 2015  |  Uncategorized

I’ve been thinking a lot about Rilke and angels lately, perhaps as two separate things or as one in the same for me. I want to begin by meditating on this quote by Rilke in The Preface to the Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow; “But now it is. Is. Is. Amen. So this is […]

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Why We Must Write: A Reflection on Last Week’s Attacks on Paris

By Debbie Vance  |  November 16, 2015  |  Uncategorized

In the wake of the unexpected and horrific attacks on Paris this past Friday, it felt trivial, selfish even, to return to my desk and continue writing and studying fiction. I’ve always believed in the importance of stories, but how can they stack up against the tangible need for physical safety? For me, this event […]

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