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 faculty: Ángel García, Janice Harrington, Amy Hassinger, Christopher Kempf, Ted 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
Students accepted into the MFA 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) with an annual stipend of $11,740, in addition to a one-time fellowship of $2,500. In their second and third years, candidates will receive a 2/2 teaching assistantship with an annual stipend of $23,835.
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 undergrad classes in creative writing.
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, 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: Jodee Stanley (Editor, Fiction Editor), Corey Van Landingham (Poetry Editor) and Christopher Kempf (Creative Nonfiction Editor).
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.