Graduate Creative Writing
At Penn State, we offer an integrated undergraduate/graduate degree in English with a creative writing concentration in Poetry and in Prose (fiction and creative nonfiction). This is a full-residency program that can be completed in two years—the student’s senior year and the additional M.A. year. We have a 2:1 student-to-faculty ratio. We place a special emphasis on mentoring writers who are polishing their portfolios for eventual application to outside M.F.A. programs.
All students complete 30 credits of graduate course work. Under the supervision of a creative writing faculty member, students complete a substantial creative project, due at the end of the M.A. year.
Before their M.A. year, students may apply for some combination of tuition release, teaching stipend, fellowship or scholarship. Students who receive a teaching stipend gain experience teaching first-year composition.
Our program also features a series of readings and residencies by prominent writers, including Elizabeth Alexander, Jo Ann Beard, Aimee Bender, Richard Blanco, Elizabeth Bradfield, Sandra Cisneros, Lydia Davis, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Stuart Dybek, Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Cary Holladay, Li-Young Li, Sharon Olds, Susan Orlean, Robert Pinsky, George Saunders, David Shields, Melanie Thernstrom, John Edgar Wideman, and many, many others.
core creative writing faculty
Our creative writing faculty write, publish, and often teach in more than one genre. Robin Becker and Julia Kasdorf primarily teach poetry; William J. Cobb, Charlotte Holmes, Toni Jensen, Elizabeth Kadetsky, and Toby Thompson primarily teach prose.
Writers who received graduate degrees at Penn State include Peter Chilson, Rita Ciresi, Morris Collins, Geffrey Davis, Vicki Glembocki, Cary Holladay, Cathleen Miller, Rebecca Rasmussen, Lisa Roney, Sheila Squillante, and Lyrae Van Clief Stefanon.
Writers who studied in our undergraduate program include Diane Ackerman, Jillian Cantor, Nomi Eve, Jane Miller, Chinelo Okparanta, Ruth Ellen Kocher, and Ryan Teitman.
Internal applications are vetted in the spring of the student’s junior year (deadline March 15--see "Application for the BA-MA Program"). Once accepted into the program by the English Department and creative writing faculty, students file an official application with the Graduate School during their senior year. This carries an application fee of $65 and consists of the same materials as submitted for the original application. GRE scores are not required.
for information please contact
Director of Creative Writing
for news, events, and reflections related to our creative writing community, please follow us on Facebook, and visit: