The Temple MFA Program in Creative Writing awards a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, with a focus in either fiction or poetry. Our innovative curriculum immerses students in the study of creative writing and literature, with course offerings that range from special topics and craft classes in creative writing to graduate seminars in literature, the humanities and the arts. Through small workshops and one-on-one manuscript tutorials with our resident faculty, the curriculum supports students as they gain technique and self-confidence and prepare to hand in their MFA theses in their final semester. The supportive environment also helps our students move successfully from the MFA into the highly competitive world of submissions to journals and book publishers.

Workshops are supplemented by individual consultations with visiting writers and a series of readings by prominent writers. For more information, please look at our Poets & Writers events page. Students also have the opportunity to work on our online literary journal, TINGE Magazine, which is graduate student–edited.

Read about the writers and poets who are currently teaching in the MFA program on our faculty page. Past faculty who have taught in the program include such noted writers and scholars as Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Samuel R. Delany, David Bradley, Toby Olson, Sonia Sanchez, and Susan Stewart.

Degree Offerings

Part-Time MFA Program

You have the option of attending part-time over three years (two three-credit classes per semester) or taking some classes as a non-matriculated student. If you’re interested in the latter option, inquire by emailing at least two weeks before the start of the semester about specific classes. Check Temple’s course schedule (select the semester, then look under English, Graduate). If there’s space and the instructor is amenable, you’ll most likely be asked for a writing sample and other information for further consideration if you haven’t already sent in a formal application.

Visiting Writers Program

The Creative Writing Program invites a distinguished novelist (in the fall) and poet (in the spring) to be in residence for several days in order to work with MFA students. These guests read student manuscripts in their genre, meet with students individually in conference, give a reading, attend graduate workshops and spend informal time with the students over the course of their visit. During the two years of the master’s program, students have the opportunity to engage with four of these visitors and have conferences on their work with one or two of them (in their specific genre). The writers brought to Temple under this program are a distinctive and internationally recognized group.

In recent years, the Visiting Writers Program has hosted the following authors:

  • Jennifer Haigh
  • Alexander Chee
  • Susan Briante
  • Roberto Tejada
  • Brian Evenson
  • C. S. Giscombe
  • Jaimy Gordon
  • Bhanu Kapil
  • Katie Kitamura
  • Brenda Hillman
  • Dawn Lundy Martin
  • Jesse Ball

Admission Requirements

Although not required, Temple prefers Creative Writing MFA program applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in English or creative writing or to have taken a significant number of workshops or literature classes as an undergraduate. However, some students without this background have performed well in the program. Therefore, we consider the entire application package in our admission decisions.

A writing sample in the genre of your choice, a personal statement, a resume and three letters of reference are required for admission. The GRE is optional.

All materials should be submitted by February 15. If you would like to be considered for a teaching assistantship or fellowship, please submit your materials by December 15. Applications submitted after December 15 will still be considered for a teaching assistantship or fellowship, but those meeting the initial deadline will be prioritized.

Please visit the university’s Creative Writing MFA admissions page to learn more about graduate program requirements and instructions on how to apply.

Tuition and Fees

Temple University is relatively affordable in comparison to other programs. In the past, some students with no funding chose Temple instead of other programs that offered some funding because Temple was still more affordable for them. Also note that Pennsylvania residents receive reduced tuition at Temple (see the registrar’s residency page for eligibility). The MFA program requires 33 total credits. Check the Bursar’s Office for current tuition rates and fees. 

MFA Resources