Our MFA in Creative Writing


The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing is a terminal degree awarded by the University of Illinois. Our three-year MFA program provides students with graduate study and professional training in the writing of fiction and poetry with our distinguished graduate facultyÁngel García, Janice Harrington, Amy Hassinger, Christopher KempfTed Sanders, Alex Shakar, Corey Van Landingham, and David Wright.

The primary goal of the MFA in Creative Writing is to give literary artists time and space to work on perfecting their art. Students will teach creative writing and produce a book-length, publishable manuscript. Students will also gain extensive experience in literary editing and publishing while enrolled in the program.

Teaching Assistantships, Fellowships, and Tuition Waivers

The MFA program at the University of Illinois is fully funded. Students accepted into the program will receive full tuition waivers, guaranteed teaching assistantships, and partial-fee waivers for the duration of the program, as long as they remain in good standing and make reasonable progress toward their degree.

In their first year, all entering MFA candidates will receive a 1/1 teaching assistantship (one class each semester). In their second and third years, candidates will receive a 2/2 teaching assistantship. Stipends for these teaching assistantships are highly competitive with other fully-funded MFA programs. First-year candidates will also receive fellowship funds in the amount of $6,500.  

Most semesters, teaching assignments will be in the undergraduate rhetoric program. MFA students will also teach at least one undergraduate workshop, with an opportunity to teach additional undergraduate classes in creative writing. In recent semesters, MFA students have taught CW 104 Fiction Writing I, CW 106 Poetry Writing I, and CW 200 Reading for Writers, among other courses. 

For application requirements and instructions, please visit Application Requirements for Prospective Students.


The faculty of the Creative Writing Program represent a diverse range of writing and teaching styles and interests. Faculty members work and teach actively in a wide variety of genres and media, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, juvenile fiction, theater, and film. Faculty members have received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction, the O’Henry Prize in fiction, the Pushcart Prize, the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize, the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize, the Levis Prize, the William Peden Prize, the FC2 National Fiction Competition, the Academy of American Poets Award, the Bakeless Prize, the Wallace Stegner fellowship, and fellowships from the NEA, Guggenheim Foundation, Yaddo, MacDowell, CantoMundo, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and many others.

Follow the links below to learn more about our MFA program's core faculty members:

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Ninth Letter

Ninth Letter, the University of Illinois's award-winning literature and arts magazine, is a semi-annual publication featuring emerging and established writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and other genres undefined, as well as visual artists working in a variety of mediums. This collaborative energy comes together in a highly-designed format, both in print and on the web.

Ninth Letter is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all interested MFA candidates. Students may enroll in the Ninth Letter- based literary publishing course and will have the opportunity to work as assistants on the editorial staff alongside the journal’s faculty editors: Amy Hassinger (Fiction Editor), Ángel García (Poetry Editor) and Christopher Kempf (Creative Nonfiction Editor).

Graduate Students

Students in UIUC's MFA in Creative Writing program hail from a wide range of educational and cultural backgrounds, and their work in prose and poetry explores an extensive range of literary styles. While enrolled in the program, students past and present have published writing in PANK, Passages North, Mid-American Review, Cincinnati Review, Massachusetts Review, AGNI, Zoetrope: All-Story, Paris Review, DIAGRAM, Copper Nickel, Sou'wester, Alaska Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Missouri Review, Kenyon Review Online, The Los Angeles Review, Sycamore Review, Image, Denver Quarterly, South Carolina Review, Arkansas Review, Georgia Review, Black Warrior Review, Texas Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Grain, Kalliope, 13th Moon, North Dakota Quarterly, Raven Chronicles, Berkeley Fiction Review, Michigan Review, Phoebe, BorderSenses, Boxcar Review, RHINO, Pebble Lake Review, New Ohio Review, Storyglossia, Fiction International, Oxford Magazine, The Believer, and elsewhere.


Third Year

Claire Christoff (poetry)

Madeline Furlong (fiction)

Chelsea Christine Hill (poetry)



Erin Hoffman (fiction)

Weston Morrow (poetry)



Second Year

Carrie Johnson (poetry)

Deon Robinson (poetry)

Nina Sannes (fiction)



Andrea Sielicki (fiction)

Zach Simon (poetry)



First Year

Matthew Fash (poetry)

Justine Mercado (poetry)

David Miller (fiction)



Jason Pfister (fiction)

Erin Stoodley (poetry)

Hannah Thorpe (fiction)


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