Our three-year MFA program provides students with graduate study and professional training in the writing of fiction and poetry with our distinguished graduate faculty.

AWP Reading


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.

MFA voice reading

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.

Stipends for MFA students are competitive and the low cost of living in the area is quite reasonable. In their first year, all entering MFA candidates will receive a 1/1 teaching assistantship (one class each semester). In their second year, students will receive a 2/1 assistantship, with opportunities for teaching-load reduction in the form of publishing-job-training graduate assistantships with our award-winning literary magazine, Ninth Letter. In their third year, students will again receive a 1/1 teaching assistantship.

Most semesters, teaching assignments will be in the undergraduate rhetoric program. MFA students will also teach at least one undergraduate creative-writing 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.


Life in Champaign-Urbana

Life in C-U combines some of the best aspects of life in a city with the benefits of a small-town environment.


  • Low cost of living, affordable housing, and green spaces within half a mile of every home
  • Free, award-winning mass transit for all U of I students
  • Proximity to major cities with Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis only a few hours away

Arts & Culture:

  • Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and Krannert Art Museum
  • Vibrant local live music scene
  • Public art and murals throughout the area, seasonal fairs and festivals

Food & Drink:

  • A food scene reflecting the diversity of the country’s second largest international population at a public university
  • A wide range of bars and local breweries to suit anyone’s taste




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:

issues of Ninth Letter

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), Janice N. Harrington (Poetry Editor) and Christopher Kempf (Creative Nonfiction Editor).

Jericho Brown and MFA

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 AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, The BelieverCincinnati ReviewColorado ReviewCopper NickelGeorgia Review, Kenyon Review, Missouri ReviewParis Review, and elsewhere.  Additionally, recent MFA book publications include Laura Adamczyk's Island City (Macmillan, 2023); Lillian-Yvonne Bertram's Negative Money (Soft Skull, 2023); Chekwube Danladi's Semiotics (University of Georgia Press, 2020), winner of the 2019 Cave Canem Poetry Prize; Katherine Gaffney's Fool in a Blue House (University of Tampa Press, 2023), winner of the 2022 Tampa Review Prize; Matthew Minicucci's DUAL (Acre, 2023); and Jess Tanck's Winter Here (University of Georgia Press, 2024), winner of the 2022 Georgia Poetry Prize.



Third Year

Carrie Johnson (Poetry)

Deon Robinson (Poetry)

Nina Sannes (Fiction)

Andrea Sielicki (Fiction)

Zach Simon (Poetry)


Second Year

Matthew Fash (Poetry)

Justine Mercado (Poetry)

David Miller (Fiction)

Jason Pfister (Fiction)

Erin Stoodley (Poetry)

Hannah Thorpe (Fiction)


First Year

Isabella Escamilla (Poetry)

David Foley (Poetry)

Gabriella Hoggatt (Fiction)

Callan Latham (Poetry)

Tyler Moore (Fiction)

Garrett Stack (Fiction)

Follow us on Instagram
Instagram Logo