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17 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs In 2023

Generally, the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a three-year, intensive studio arts terminal degree.

It has a strong international emphasis and requires writing a book-length creative thesis in fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry.

This article explores the best MFA creative writing programs in New York, Europe, and Canada.

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs

There are several MFA creative writing programs; however, below is an outline of the 17 best MFA creative writing programs.

  • #1. University Of Oregon
  • #2. Indiana University
  • #3. Washington University
  • #4. University Of Minnesota
  • #5. Arizona State University
  • #6. Brown University
  • #7. University of Iowa
  • #8. Cornell University
  • #9. New School
  • #10. Columbia University
  • #11. New York University
  • #12. University of British Columbia
  • #13. Humber College
  • #14. University Of Regina
  • #15. University of Groningen
  • #16. Oxford Brookes University
  • #17. University of Roehampton London

You can also read: 20 Best MHA Programs in 2023 | Full Student Guide

#1. University Of Oregon

The University of Oregon provides one of the best MFA creative writing programs. 

They provide a 2-year residency program where students focus on either fiction or poetry.

The program comprises six workshops, four craft seminars, and three reading tutorials. 

In the second year, all the candidates must pass a formal examination.

At the end of the session, all the enrolled students are required to conduct research.

By the end of the first year, all students who made it to this stage can choose a thesis advisor.

However, to get into the University of Oregon, you must fill out their online application form.

Application Requirements:

  • Personal Particulars
  • Past Academic Experience/Qualifications
  • Recommendation Letters
  • For poetry, the requirement is ten poems of up to 14 pages. Then for prose, an adequately written two short stories or a chapter novel of up to 25 pages.

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#2. Indiana University

At Indiana University, they have experience working with candidates throughout a three-year program.

The program surrounds learning, applying, and integrating craft concepts and working on students’ original literary work.

Every year, Indiana University accepts eight applicants; four in poetry and four in fiction.

Application Requirements

  • Personal statement (500 words limit)
  • Information about experience teaching creative writing
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A set of transcripts from the past educational institution
  • TOEFL scores (for foreign aspirants only)
  • A creative writing sample of 5000 to 7,500 words for fiction and 12 to 15 pages of poetry.

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Discover more: 15 Best Online Degree Programs for Working Adults

#3. Washington University

Washington University offers one of the best MFA creative writing programs in 2023. 

They offer a two-year Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA) with tracks in poetry and prose.

The University accepts a maximum of at least 12 students every year.

According to the University, the low acceptance of students is for close associations among students and instructors for a better learning experience.

The program comprises features that make it stand out as one of the world’s best MFA creative writing programs. 

They offer writing workshops in prose and poetry, and students are to undertake coursework in literary periods, types, and critical theory.

MFA candidates also present a Creative Manuscript (minimum of 30 poems,100 pages of 5 short stories, or 150 pages of a novel), a Critical Essay (20-30 pages), and an oral presentation.

Application Requirements

  • Transcript from the past education experience
  • Statement Of Purpose (Word limit: 500-1000)
  • Critical writing Sample
  • Creative writing sample
  • Tree letters of recommendation
  •  English Language Proficiency Proof (for non-native English speakers)

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#4. University Of Minnesota

The MFA program in Creative Writing is for students who intend to balance the development of personal creative talent and the general study of literature and linguistics.

The three-year program is one of the world’s best MFA creative writing programs. 

The third year of the MFA is devoted to completing a publishable manuscript.

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#5. Arizona State University

The Master of Fine Arts at Arizona State University offers one of the world’s best MFA creative writing programs. 

It has always been an unswervingly student-first program.

The University offers one of the best learning experiences through small classes, deep workshops, and training. 

Students at the University have access to outstanding faculty members who have over 80 book publications and have received national and international recognition.

Application Requirements

  • Graduate admission application and application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Creative manuscript
  • Proof of English proficiency

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#6. Brown University

Another option for the Best MFA creative writing programs in 2023 is Brown University. 

At Brown university, students can choose to focus on either poetry, fiction, or Digital/cross-disciplinary writing.

They offer a two years program that allows students to use their stay at the University for creative and intellectual exploration.

Each semester, the student attends two courses: a writing workshop and an elective every three semesters. 

In the last semester, students complete an independent study to conduct research and an elective.

Application Requirements

  • Writing Sample: An excerpt from a longer work, multiple short positions, or another combination. For Digital language arts; One or two electronic projects. For cross-disciplinary, 30 – 50 pages. For poetry, a poem of 10-20 pages. (Upload as one PDF file)
  • Graduate School application fee (or an approved fee waiver request)
  • Online application form
  • Personal statement
  • Transcripts (Upload a PDF file — if you are accepted, you’ll submit official transcripts at that stage)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL or IELTS results (for international students) – Brown code for TOEFL: 3094; Department code: leave blank. For IELTS, have the score sent to Brown Graduate School, Box 1867, Providence RI 02912 USA.

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You can also read: TOP ONLINE MHA PROGRAMS NO GRE IN 2022

#7. University of Iowa

An excellent option for the best MFA creative writing programs in 2023 is the University of Iowa.

The University offers top-notch lecturing services focused on exploring and leveraging creative writing.

Application Requirements

  • A BSc degree from a university that has accreditation.
  • A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00, or the foreign equivalent, as determined by the Office of Admissions.
  • A manuscript of the applicant’s notable work, with a Manuscript Cover Sheet (PDF), sent through the mail.
  • Evidence of your manuscript 
  • A Statement of Purpose
  • Application for Graduate Awards
  • Your General GRE test scores (optional but recommended)
  • Supplemental Financial Aid
  • English Proficiency Requirements
  • Submission of a Financial Statement by international students upon acceptance to the University.

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Best MFA Creative Writing Programs in New York

#8. Cornell University

One of the Best MFA creative writing programs takes place at Cornell University in the USA.

The university has needed and conducive teaching resources which include experts in different literary, theoretical, and cultural standpoints.

Every year, the university accepts only 8 students, four in each concentration. However, the university fully funds the students.

Each of the students can choose any two faculty members who can supervise and work closely with them for a better learning experience.

To get admission into one of the best MFA creative writing programs in 2023 at Cornell University, you need to fill out an online application form.

Application Requirements

On the online application form, you need to attach the following admission requirements:

  • 3 letters of recommendations
  • Previous study transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Creative writing samples of 6000-10,000 words, double-spaced. It can also be an excerpt or combination of several works for fiction applicants.
  • Poetry applicants must submit a 10 pages sample of their written poems.

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Explore more: How to Effortlessly Get Online Masters Programs Without GRE In 2021

#9. New York University

New York University offers an MFA in Creative Writing program that allows students to focus more on their writing and to pick from a more comprehensive selection.

They offer courses that will enable students to develop their unique writing skills. 

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#10. Columbia University

Another option for the best MFA creative writing programs in New York is Columbia University. 

Columbia University offers a highly regarded MFA Writing Program.

 The faculty at Columbia university consists of great writers and editors.

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Find out more: Strathclyde Prestige Award for Excellence in Creative Writing 2022

#11. New School

Another option for the best MFA creative writing programs in New York is New School.

At New School, they teach their students how to harness their skills and become daring voices of a new generation.

Students can choose a concentration in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Writing for Children and Young Adults.

They conduct workshops and seminars with an internationally recognized faculty closely tied to the NYC literary community.

In addition, students get access to 30+ annual writing events on campus.

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Best MFA Creative Writing Programs in Canada

#12. University of British Columbia

One of the options for the best MFA creative writing programs in Canada is the University of British Columbia.

The MHA in creative writing was the first writing program in Canada, and they are doing a great job training their students. 

They conduct Small, intensive workshops with 12 genres of writing available for study. 

In addition, they have 12 professors and an additional nine permanent instructors. 

They also regularly bring in a wide variety of writers in residence and adjunct instructors from the general writing community.

Application Requirements

  • A TOEFL score of about 90 and an IELTS score of about 6.5.

You can also read: 10 Best Schools for Creative Writing in the World | 2022

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#13. Humber College

There is Humber College which is another option for Canada’s best MFA creative writing programs. 

Humber College offers online training in Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, and Poetry. They help students improve their writing skills from the comfort of their homes.

At the College, students have access to work one-on-one with a professional writer-mentor to improve their short stories, poems, memoir, or novel-in-progress.  

Application Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree, diploma, or advanced diploma
  • A Work-in-Progress Form
  • A sample of writing that is no more than 15 pages in length.
  • Submission of a cover letter.
  • English Language Proficiency.

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#14. University Of Regina

The University of Regina is another option for Canada’s best MFA Creative Writing program. 

They offer a non-terminal degree, which implies that students can choose to obtain a studio-based MFA in Creative Writing or go for a PhD in Creative Writing.

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You can also read: Reedsy National Creative Writing Scholarship 2022

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs in Europe

#15. University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is an excellent destination for MHA in creative writing in the Netherlands.

The University of Groningen offers an entire course in literary studies comprising writing, editing, and meditating. 

Regarding duration, An MHA in creative writing lasts for 12 months course that explores all you need to know about creative writing and hone skills. 

Application Requirements

To attend one of the best MFA creative writing programs at the University of Groningen, you must meet the following requirements.

  • A BA in English Language/ Literature or a degree in another literature or culture taught in English.
  • A TOEFL IBT score of about 110 and a minimum of 25 on all items. An IELTS Academic Module, with a score of 8 (min. of 7.5 on all items)

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#16. Oxford Brookes University

Another option for the best Mfa Creative Writing Programs in Europe is Oxford Brookes University. 

Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom offers courses that will grow your writing through training and practice with seasoned professionals.

They have the necessary skills and instruments to instil all you need to succeed in your creative writing sphere. 

At Oxford Brookes, you can complete your Creative Writing program in three years of your degree. 

They have internationally acclaimed writers and dedicated tutors to help you find your writing style. 

In addition, students benefit from studying in one of the world’s most vibrant cultural cities.

Application Requirements

  • A BA in a related discipline
  • Proof of English proficiency 
  • Copy of a valid passport
  • Health Insurance
  • Evidence of financial support

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You can also read: Best 15 Creative Writing Scholarships | APPLY NOW

#17. University of Roehampton London

The University of Roehampton London is another option on our list of the best MFA creative writing programs in Europe.

The University of Roehampton London offers an MHA creative writing program for writers who intend to develop their writing skills and master their writing style. 

They generally teach students to develop their creative, critical, and professional writing skills for a bountiful career in the creative industries. 

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You can also read: How Can I Get An Online Creative Writing Degree? Schools and Salaries


Is attaining an MFA in creative writing worth it?

An MFA in creative writing offers a basic theory and form and workshops to hone your skills and develop your craft.
If you want to get published or further your career, an MFA program in Creative Writing will aid you in developing your voice and becoming a more proficient writer.

How many creative writing MFA programs are there?

Today, there are over 350 creative writing programs in the U.S. alone, doubling if you include undergraduate degree programs.

Is it hard to get into MFA creative writing programs?

Getting into an MFA program may not be complicated.
However, most MFA programs take aspirants who have been out of school for a while, continued to write outside school, and have done some work in the writing/literary community

How long is an MFA in creative writing?

How Long Does It Take to Get an MFA in Creative Writing? Like other master’s programs, creative writing degrees typically take two years or 36 credits. Some schools follow a three-year curriculum.


This article has explored the best creative writing MFA programs in New York, Europe, and Canada that will be helpful in your decision-making.

However, you can explore other educational opportunities that may benefit you.