Creative Writing Program

The Alabama MFA Program

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing is a 48-hour studio/academic course of study designed to advance and develop students’ intellectual and artistic abilities. The University of Alabama MFA Program has long been considered among the best in the nation, renown for its robust visiting writers series, for its spirit of experimentation and flexibility (students may take workshops in any genre, regardless of how they were admitted), and for housing the award-winning Black Warrior Review, which is edited and run entirely by graduate students. As well as working alongside our award-winning faculty, Alabama is well-known for its rich tradition of visiting writers.

A recent incoming class of MFA students
Incoming MFA students gather in the campus sculpture garden before the start of fall classes.

In addition to the genre-based writing workshops, MFA students study literature, take a broad range of forms classes, and can choose courses from across the University. Working closely with a faculty mentor, students in their final year complete and defend a thesis—typically (but by no means limited to) a book-length manuscript. The program can be completed in three years, but all students are guaranteed support for a fourth; many take advantage of this option in order to have a year of intensive focus on the thesis project and to gain additional teaching experience (a minimum of two years in residence is required). In sum, the MFA is designed for maximum flexibility to allow students to pursue diverse interests and develop naturally as they grow as writers. Learn more about required courses and general degree requirements in the UA Graduate Catalog.

In addition to the Black Warrior Review, Alabama offers MFA students many opportunities to gain professional experience. Students can work as Writing Center tutors, research assistants, program assistants, and after the first year everyone teaches. UA offers MFAs a greater number of courses available to teach than most programs: in addition to composition, graduate assistants can go on to teach any number of literature classes, creative writing (both our multi-genre intro course and intermediate courses in their specialty). Also check out the Prison Arts Program, English Graduate Organization (EGO), and the MFA Reading Series.

Follow these links for information on how to apply and what financial assistance opportunities are offered by the English Department and the Graduate School.