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Facts About the Boston Massacre

The Boston massacre is considered the first violent event between Britain and the Colonies, serving to fuel Colonial dissent against the British. This riot erupted without warning on a chilly March evening on the streets of Boston, and it led to deaths, charges of murder and trials.

Events Preceding the Boston Massacre___

England’s participation in the Seven Years’ War caused a lot of debt, which England tried to recoup by increasing the Colonists’ taxes. More laws and higher taxes led to unrest and eventual rebellion by the Colonists. England sent soldiers to the Colonies to try to keep order, which caused even more problems. It wasn’t uncommon for scuffles to erupt as the Colonists and the Redcoats reacted to increasing tensions. In March 1770, Britain vacated a house in Boston where poor Colonists were living so that soldiers could live there. This was the last straw before a confrontation started on the evening of March 5, 1770.

On the Night of March 5, 1770

The Boston massacre started as an argument between a small group of colonists and a British soldier, Private Hugh White. The confrontation happened on King Street in Boston in front of the Custom House. As the argument grew heated, more Colonists joined the fray. Eventually, people started throwing snowballs and sticks at the British soldier. The British officer in charge sent in some reinforcements to try to instill order. Instead of calming things down, more Colonists gathered and the altercation got even more intense. A British soldier was knocked to the ground, then he shot into the crowd of Colonists and one thing led to another. The British soldiers fired more rounds into the crowd, killing three colonists immediately and wounding two others who died later.

The Aftermath

After the riot, eight British solders and one British officer were arrested as well as four civilians. These people were all charged with murder and jailed to await trial. To calm the Colonists, British soldiers left Boston.

The eight British soldiers and the officer stood trial with John Adams as their attorney. Adams was a solid patriot, but he believed that the Redcoats deserved to have their trials. Adams supported the soldiers’ right to defend themselves because they thought their lives were in danger. In the end, the officer and six of the eight soldiers were found not guilty, and the remaining two were convicted of manslaughter. The four Colonists were found not guilty at their trials

More Boston Massacre Facts

Crispus Attucks was a runaway slave turned sailor that was killed in the Boston massacre. His death is often cited as the first of the American Revolution.

Samuel Adams is credited with first referring to this riot as the Boston massacre.

The two British solders convicted of manslaughter avoided the death penalty, instead receiving brands on their thumbs to show their crimes.


mfa creative writing boston

Boston University Academics

Boston University

MFA in Creative Writing

The MFA in Creative Writing is a small, intensive one-year program that is completed over two to three semesters. The program is designed to help students become better writers of original prose or poetry and to produce readers and critics of the highest quality. Our program also strives to help students improve as creative writing instructors.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Creative Writing MFA program, all students should be able to:

Course Requirements

The MFA is an eight-course, 32-credit degree, including four workshops, four graduate literature courses, and completion of a world language requirement.

At least four of the courses taken must be workshops the genre in which the student is admitted (either fiction or poetry). The four remaining courses are normally graduate-level literature courses, some of which may be completed during the BU summer session(s). Students must receive a grade of at least B– in these courses.

It is possible to take a course (or courses) in a subject or discipline other than literature, provided that these are demonstrably essential to the student’s creative work, and show a strong emphasis in reading literary, as distinct from purely scholarly or academic, texts. Such courses are subject to the approval of the program director.

Language Requirement

Each student who has not previously completed at least two college courses of intermediate study in a non-English world language or is not already multilingual may fulfill the language requirement in one of the following ways:

Completion of a substantial master’s thesis in fiction or poetry is required for all students. The thesis should consist of a minimum of 95 pages of prose or 35 pages of poetry and must be read and signed by two members of Boston University faculty.

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Home › Academics › College of Liberal Arts › English Department › Graduate Programs › Creative Writing, MFA

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Creative Writing, MFA

UMass Boston's Creative Writing MFA is a highly selective, 3-year creative writing master's program. UMass Boston is Boston’s only public research university and the most diverse university in New England. We admit approximately five students in fiction and five students in poetry each academic year, starting in the fall semester. When you apply through GradCAS using the link above, search for "Creative Writing" to find our MFA program. 

Please check  Healey Library’s Support for Teaching, Learning, and Research Continuity for continued updates on library resources and services.

What we provide: The program offers an intense and focused opportunity for students to further their commitment to writing as the center of their professional lives. Through a combination of mentoring by accomplished faculty in a series of creative writing workshops, courses focused on the study of literature offered through the English MA Program, and electives that include the practice of literary editing, the teaching of creative writing, digital poetics, documentary poetics, the art of memoir, and more—students will have the guidance to develop and shape their work to the full extent of their talent. After three years in the program, their will be prepared to sustain their commitment to contemporary literature as writers, readers, editors, and teachers.

Our program prioritizes diversity, inclusion, and sustaining community partnerships. Students in our program take advantage of our relationships with community programs and institutions like 826Boston, Grub Street, Write on the Dot , and the Black Seed Writers group. They work for literary magazines and presses including Consequence, Hanging Loose, University of Massachusetts Press, Breakwater Review, and Black Ocean , and start and run their own literary magazines. They teach undergraduate creative writing classes at UMass Boston and continuing education classes for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) . Our students and graduates publish widely, and find jobs they love. Most importantly, they're happy they chose UMass Boston.

Our Faculty : As a group, the four core MFA faculty members have decades of experience in writing, teaching, editing, and publishing. Our visiting prose writer is invited by the fiction faculty to teach in the program for one or two years. Collectively, program faculty have published dozens of books and received some of the highest honors and prizes in literature. More importantly, they are dedicated to the teaching of creative writing and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in creative writing and literature. 

Our Students: Students who apply to and are admitted to our program are all unique: some have traditional academic and English department backgrounds, but many more do not. Some join our program directly from undergraduate programs, but many more come to us later in life with years or even decades of work experience in other fields.  For each student who wants to pursue a career in teaching or academia, another student wants to do something entirely different. Graduates from our program have published numerous books and won prestigious writing awards. Many work in teaching, publishing, web development, journalism, and in community-oriented literary programs. While there is no single background or trajectory for our students, they all share some common characteristics: our students are compassionate, socially engaged, self-directed, and committed to their writing and to the broader community. If this sounds like you, you might be a great fit for our program! Reach out to us at [email protected]

The MFA degree requires: six semesters of full-time study, with 9 credits required in each of the first four semesters, and 6 credits in the final two semesters, during which students will concentrate on completing a thesis in fiction or poetry under the direction of a faculty member. MFA workshops are limited to 12 students, and seminars are limited to 15. Students have the opportunity to interact with writers in our Global Voices Visiting Writer series (recent visitors have been Raquel Salas Rivera and Carole Maso) and work with visiting prose writers; recently these have included Jane Unrue, ZZ Packer, and Fanny Howe.

View UMass Boston's Creative Writing MFA Program FAQ for more information on diversity, inclusion, and other relevant matters for how UMass Boston, the English Department, and the Creative Writing MFA Program work to create a welcoming environment for every student and a community for all!

>> MFA Program Statement on Black Lives Matter

Final Deadline to apply is January 15! ** While rare, if space is available, we’ll happily consider applications after the deadline.

Please contact us with any questions.

John Fulton, MFA Program Director [email protected] [email protected] 617.287.6702

New Faculty Publications

Three MFA faculty are publishing books this year! Read More

MFA program thrilled to have visiting poet, Joan Naviyuk Kane.

Joan Naviyuk Kane UMass Boston MFA program as visiting faculty. Read More

Tools & Resources

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Creative Writing (MFA)

We are the storytellers and the poets.

Emerson’s Creative Writing (MFA) program focuses on the practice of writing and its literary foundations and is one of the longest-running programs of its kind.

We know writing is your life. That’s why our Creative Writing (MFA) focuses on the actual practice of writing, as well as its literary foundations. Our MFA program boasts some of the most impressive faculty in writing and publishing, is home to two award-winning literary journals, and is strongly connected to the Boston publishing community. 

Focus on your passion, choosing from the areas of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and explore writing as both an art form and a professional pursuit.

Request More Information

Program details.

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Creative Writing

Nurture your writing to its fullest potential.

Lesley University's celebrated low-residency MFA program nurtures and challenges your creative potential. Attend nine-day residencies in the literary mecca of Cambridge. Pursue interdisciplinary study as a spur for fresh ideas. Cultivate mentor relationships with prize-winning writers. Graduate with the work and connections to publish, win literary prizes and fellowships, and find teaching positions or work related to your writing.

Program Summary

Exclusive partnerships create opportunities for you to put your pieces in front of prominent publishers, agencies, and organizations. You’ll meet literary figures who, as masters of their craft, will give you the tough love you need to achieve your aspirations. Benefitting from our small-group learning, you’ll form bonds with fellow writers from diverse backgrounds, and join in craft seminars, workshops, readings, and publishing events.

You'll have opportunities to interact with students and faculty from across the entire program, while still engaging in a deep exploration of your chosen genre: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Graphic Novels and Comics, Writing for Stage and Screen, or Writing for Young People.

Program Structure

Low-Residency Program

Man sitting while listening and writing.

Through our Fiction genre, you'll develop and hone your fiction-writing skills while being coached in the practice of constructing, analyzing, drafting, and revising short stories, novellas, or novels. As a graduating student in the Fiction genre, submit a sample from your thesis to acclaimed literary agency Aevitas Creative Management . Gain advice on the publishing strategy of your work and forge meaningful professional relationships.

Accomplished Faculty You'll be mentored by well-know writers with multiple publications to their credit.

Tony Eprile Laurie Foos Rachel Kadish Hester Kaplan Michael Lowenthal Kyoko Mori A.J. Verdelle

Distinguished Visiting Writers As you progress through the program, you'll have the opportunity to work with experienced fiction writers to hone your craft. Recent visitors include:

Creative writing students reading and discussing classwork

Graphic Novels & Comics

Through Lesley’s Graphic Novels & Comics genre, explore how to integrate text, image and design to create narrative and meaning. All practitioners of word and image work are welcome to apply, from traditional cartoonists to writers, photographers, and artists creating webcomics, zines, illustrated fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid forms. Mentorship will be tailored to students’ individual needs and projects.

Accomplished Faculty You'll be mentored by well-known creators with multiple projects and publications to their credit. Pamela Petro John Rozum Craft and Technique Learn the essential tools and skills involved with producing sequential narratives and other word and image pairings. Topics will include

Learn more about the Graphic Novels & Comics curriculum . 

creative writing students in a classroom

Through our nonfiction genre, gain a foundational approach to craft in genres such as memoir, personal essay, literary journalism, food and travel writing, and research-based narratives. Receive professional guidance through our exclusive partnership with  Aevitas Creative Management.  Submit a sample of your thesis for an immediate read and publishing advice from the acclaimed literary agency.

Accomplished Faculty As you progress through the program, you'll be mentored by faculty with extensive experience publishing works of nonfiction.

Rachel Manley Kyoko Mori Pamela Petro Janet Pocorobba

Distinguished Visiting Writers You'll work alongside successful nonfiction writers as they visit Cambridge during the residencies. Recent visitors include:

Student Writing on Paper

Through our poetry genre, learn directly from internationally-recognized poets and faculty as you explore the poetic forms and approaches that will serve to establish your aesthetic voice. Graduate deeply-read and immersed in a close-knit community that will provide ongoing support as you venture into the professional world.

Accomplished Faculty You'll be mentored by award-winning poets throughout your graduate program.

Erin Belieu Sharon Bryan Steven Cramer Joan Houlihan Adrian Matejka Kevin Prufer

Acclaimed Visiting Poets Make connections with visiting poets, who have included:

Students Sitting in Circle Having Discussion

Writing for Stage and Screen

Through our Writing for Stage and Screen genre, work on scripts with professional actors and directors while enrolled in one of the few university-based programs affiliated with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Given our location in a major metropolitan area, Lesley is one of the few low-residency MFA programs that offers graduate students staged readings of their scripts with professional actors and directors.

During your first year, write full-length scripts for stage and screen. In your second year, choose to concentrate in either stage or screen, or write another full-length play and another screenplay. During your fourth semester, participate in a Play Lab where your completed full-length play is read to students, faculty, and the public. You'll graduate with four full-length scripts and three ten-minute plays.

Accomplished Faculty Throughout the program, you'll learn from faculty whose work has been staged by prominent theater companies and presented at film festivals around the world.

Jami Brandli Barry Brodsky Ellen Lewis Thato Mwosa Cassie Seinuk Kate Snodgrass Sinan Ünel

Distinguished Visiting Writers You'll connect with visiting playwrights and screenwriters, providing an opportunity to network with industry insiders. Some recent visiting playwrights and screenwriters have included:

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Writing for Young People

Through our Writing for Young People genre, create works of fiction and nonfiction while studying under award-winning faculty in the picture book, middle grade, and young adult genres. Our program maintains an exclusive agreement with  Candlewick Press , providing the opportunity for your final manuscripts to be considered for publication by this award-winning publisher. Candlewick's catalog includes picture books, middle-grade, and young adult fiction from hundreds of celebrated authors.

Accomplished Faculty You'll work closely with faculty who have substantial experience writing for children and young adults, including:

Tracey Baptiste Sara Farizan Michelle Knudsen Chris Lynch Jason Reynolds

Distinguished Visiting Writers As you progress through the program, you'll connect with visiting writers who have published a variety of books for young people. Recent visitors have included:

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Why We Write

Jason reynolds named national ambassador for young people’s literature.

Aqueela Culbreath-Britt writing outside in a sunny park.

Aqueela Culbreath-Britt ’18

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Remote Learning at Lesley University

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Axie Oh's 'Rogue Heart'

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Katie Cotugno ’15

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Women, History, and The Weight of Ink with Rachel Kadish

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MFA in Creative Writing on Facebook #LesleyMFA

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Writing books for kids who don't read books

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Celeste Mohammed's 'Pleasantview' of Trinidad

Creative writing student and mentor meeting reading and discussing classwork

Residencies in Cambridge, MA

Our residencies immerse you in a vibrant literary arts scene. Your faculty mentor will work with you throughout your residency to create a tailored plan for the upcoming semester. Seminars, lectures, and readings foster discussions about concept and craft. Genre-specific workshops allow you to share work and receive the praise/tough love that fuels you to keep writing, revising, and moving forward.

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Interdisciplinary Study

Through our program’s interdisciplinary component, you can design an independent study on a topic vital to your writing, gain professional experience in publishing or education, take courses in subjects related to your concentration, and experiment in other genres.

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Study Abroad in Wales

Study abroad at the Dylan Thomas International Summer School in Creative Writing, a 12-day residency in rural West Wales. Engage in on-site workshops in castles, gardens, Iron Age villages, slate and coal mines, and more. Plus, participate in readings and visits with internationally renowned Welsh writers.

Christine Bess Jones on the beach

Christine Bess Jones ’16

The 10 best us cities for creative workers.

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Visit us. We'd love to show you around.

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Shakespeare documentarian at National Press Club

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Top Ranking MFA Programs

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Tracey Baptiste

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Leland Cheuk ’08

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Making hard science easy

sara farizan

Sara Farizan ’10

cassie seinuk

Read more about alumni accomplishments.


Janet Pocorobba

Professor and Director, MFA in Creative Writing

I am interested in building power and voice with language, and in writing personal stories that push the boundaries of self. I’m obsessed with narrative persona, as well as the narrative modes required to shape a story. I loved braided essays and hybrid memoirs, where the story is larger than the self. Another obsession is creative writing pedagogy, which I work on with writers who want to teach. 

I work with my nonfiction writers via email, on the phone, over Zoom, however they need to work. “Who is this person writing the piece?” I want to know, “and how can I help them fulfill their intention and vision for the work?” I listen carefully—I’m a deeply intuitive writer—because writers often say out loud what they have neglected to say on the page. Speech is important to voice, and to catching the parts of ourselves that we reveal spontaneously and without censure. These are often the most important parts of the story. 

But writing is not just self-expression. The poet Billy Collins said, “Form gives you an enclosed space to work within and keep it from descending into chaos or tantrum. “ We are here not to only say what we must but to find the most effective way to say it. Artfulness comes only when one applies a shape—even in nonfiction. The separation of the author and the narrator is critical. I don’t think that demystifying the writing process has to take the magic out of it. It can add to the awe.    For more information about Janet, visit her website:  

Tracey Baptiste

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty

The publishing industry is changing. There is a broader definition now of what storytelling looks like, and who storytellers are. But change is coming painfully slowly, and it needs to be changed from all fronts, including accepting that there are different, beautiful, engaging ways to tell a story than we have previously seen on our shelves, in our classrooms, and in our workshops.

The traditional workshop model worked for those whose stories were traditionally acceptable, stories that often perpetuated bias and cut out many voices. I work to educate myself about storytelling from different cultures. I actively seek new ways to create workshops that embrace different story styles and push the individual creator forward. I love the low-residency model of the Creative Writing program because I can individualize instruction for each mentee.

It is, I hope, a way to break new ground while also cracking open something for each writer. The goal is to find stories that only you can tell, and the format that best serves the story, and then focusing on the craft that illuminates both. It is tough, careful work, and my favorite thing about teaching.

Learn more about Tracey Baptise on her website .

Faculty Erin Belieu

Erin Belieu

Erin is a poet and writer whose work focuses on gender, love, and history.  In 2009, along with the poet Cate Marvin, Belieu founded the national literary organization VIDA.

Headshot of faculty Jami Brandli

Jami Brandli

To be an effective dramatist, I believe you must do three things:

Writing a script, play or screenplay, is a journey, and as your teacher/mentor, I'll do my best to guide you in writing the script you want to write. At the same time, I'll be asking all the hard questions of the script. No doubt, my main focus will be on character, for the core of all drama is "character in action." "Character in action" applies to every script, from a high-concept action-adventure screenplay to an intimate two-person play.

An interview with Jami Brandli

faculty barry brodsky

Barry Brodsky

I have been teaching playwriting since 1990 and screenwriting since 1998. My total love for theatre and movies (and TV too) as well as the history of these genres, drives my instruction. I'm always intrigued at the seemingly infinite number of ways people want to tell a visual story. Just when I thought I'd seen it all, some student will come to a class, or send me an assignment, that will test the boundaries of everything I thought I knew about writing for the Stage and Screen. And that's when the fun begins. As I read something I'm working on, I'll often stop and think "I'd never accept this from a student," shake my head, hit the "delete" button, and try it again.

It all pays off when I'm sitting in a theatre, or a classroom, and watching (or listening) to a student's work being read or performed. I remember the piece's various drafts. I marvel when something I told the student wouldn't work does work after all. I can feel the attention being paid to the spoken word. And I can't imagine doing anything else.

faculty sharon bryan

Sharon Bryan

Can creativity be taught? When I took modern dance lessons as a child, we spent the first half of each class practicing technique (craft). Then we took a break, lay on the floor, and closed our eyes. Music played softly in the background, and our teacher began to tell a story about a snowflake falling, a caterpillar, a woman planting corn. When we wanted to, we got up and danced how we felt - and of course when we did, we used the techniques we'd been practicing. I believe craft and creativity are inseparable. I teach craft. Then I do everything I can to encourage creativity.

My special interests in poetry include translation, point of view, the free verse line, traditional forms, form in free verse, the invention of free verse, poetry and painting, poetry and science. I have a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Physical Anthropology, so I'm always glad to have students with backgrounds outside literature.

Steven Cramer

Steven Cramer

Professor, Creative Writing

I teach creative writing as the art that it is. Teachers of any art can’t implant true originality, or stoke the “fire in the belly” without the help of ready kindling, but they can nurture, through attentive challenge, the promise of apprentice artists. That dynamic involves the student’s willingness to recognize critique as a kind of caring, and the teacher’s alertness to the constraints and capacities of the apprentice.  The way a painter teaches studio art, or guitar instructors position their students’ fingers on the frets—that’s how good creative writing mentors teach.  And they don’t confuse rigor with ruthlessness, even as they know artists must be ruthless with themselves. Yes, they have to provide an honest appraisal of the merits of a student’s work-in-progress—promising or unpromising—but that can be done with what Seamus Heaney beautifully calls “care for the emotional tissues.”

I'm interested in how poetic traditions of all sort live inside our own work. I don’t believe that creative writing exists without creative, constant, and catholic reading. I know of no serious writer who didn’t first love reading.

When a poem is finished, it is a gift that no longer belongs to the poet.  

MFA in Creative Writing faculty Tony Eprile portrait.

Tony Eprile

My teaching philosophy is constantly response to what I'm reading, encountering in daily life and in the classroom, or learning from my students. My basic goal is to provide my students with the tools to teach themselves. Some of these tools have to do with how we gain access to the creative, inspired, subconscious sides of ourselves; others have to do with our critical faculties. The writing workshops are particularly useful to help people learn to become their own best editors through editing the work of others.

Beyond that, I'm strongly interested in questions of how we live in, engage with, and observe the world. I teach a seminar on the art of observation or "seeing like a writer." Understanding our own habits of mind and how these affect what and how we see is vital to also understanding that others see differently, and that you can show a great deal about who people are by what it is that they notice or fail to notice.

My aim is to encourage my students to move their own work to its highest level, not to write like me or according to some prerequisite standard of what makes a good story. There are always a variety of styles and approaches to writing in my workshop, and I'm delighted when someone "goes too far." Beyond that, I have to agree with Henry James that "the only condition that I can think of attaching to the composition of (a work of fiction) is, that it be interesting.

faculty laurie foos

Laurie Foos

My philosophies regarding the teaching of writing are these: that the gateway to the unconscious must be opened, through habit and practice, in the production of creative material, or the writing cannot succeed. As a mentor, I ask students to describe the actual process that goes on in the writing of a story (or novel), and specifically how the story or novel idea came to be, how it germinated. Often stories succeed or fail when they are conceived in the rational part of the mind, or when the rational mind is too soon engaged.

I encourage students to risk themselves in their work, to be bold, for only in the act of risk can there be growth. The two years in an MFA program is in and of itself a permission slip, perhaps the one time they've been afforded to place writing in the center of their lives, and therefore students should use this time to try as many different styles as possible. In this way it is also important that they be exposed to many different types of writing, both contemporary and from the canon. In this way they are exposed to the many ways other writers approach the craft. What matters, I always tell students, is what has been gained in the process of taking risks.

Headshot of Danielle Georges

Danielle Georges

Professor, MFA Program in Creative Writing

*Currently on Leave*

Danielle Legros Georges is a professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University. She is also the former Poet Laureate of the City of Boston, where she was tasked with raising the status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of Bostonians, acting as an advocate for poetry, language and the arts, and creating a unique artistic legacy through public readings and civic events.

She notes, "As an educator and practicing artist, I draw on the theoretical frameworks and approaches of the arts traditions: the fine arts, arts and education, and arts integration. I feel that the arts allow us to experience different perspectives in powerful ways, and allow students to appreciate and reconsider boundaries of identity, culture, and perceived or understood ability. I feel art is a powerful tool for inquiry, reflection, and knowing; and that art practice allows for critical engagement and the development of valuable critical skills—in essence they operate as epistemology. I feel that art allows for complexity in the complex world we all inhabit."

faculty joan houlihan

Joan Houlihan

In poetry, more than in any other type of writing, language drives meaning. By focusing on the small elements of craft: line, syntax and line break, image and metaphor, sound and diction, I believe the poet finds a way to discover and inform the large elements: inspiration, intention, concept, invention, and communication. I engage each poem—and student—on their own terms, taking them as far (and deep) as possible, while challenging the student to examine their assumptions about what a poem can do. Through my extensive experience as an editor, I am especially able to help envision and re-envision a poem as well as a thesis/manuscript. My students have published books and chapbooks as well as poems in journals.

faculty rachel kadish

Rachel Kadish

Good writing makes us our most honest selves, and as a faculty mentor I'm fundamentally committed to coaching students as they work to set down the truth - whether it takes the form of fiction or nonfiction. When I work with a student, my most important job is to notice everything I can about that student's writing. Because the best way I know to understand writing is through detail - what Ryszard Kapuscinski called "the universe in the raindrop" - I focus on very close readings of student manuscripts. I try to read not only the story that's on the page, but also the story that might only be hinted at, because the writer hasn't yet dared write it. Sometimes this kind of reading leads us to focus together on what initially seemed only a faint tracery on the page - but might in fact be the barely audible heartbeat of the story that the writer truly needs to tell. My students know I'd rather they take risks and fail than write safe stories that leave no mark on either reader or writer. I congratulate my students on attempting each big leap, even if they fall hard - that sort of failure is productive, necessary, catalyzing.

I write fiction and nonfiction and have edited radio drama, but I learn a great deal from other genres and art forms, and I encourage my students to do the same - to attend playwriting workshops, read craft books written for sculptors. Art should always be surprising, and I want my students to surprise themselves; to raise the bar again and again; to be delighted by their own and others' contributions to the fledgling writing community that is a workshop. I believe in taking a student's writing more seriously than he or she may have dared take it... I tend to focus intensely on character development, as so much of a story's structure and plot grow out of character... I have a particular interest in the ways in which history and politics are metabolized through art. That said, I try to leaven seriousness with humor, with compassion, and with the sense that good writing is absolutely essential, though producing it can feel like pulling one's soul through a sieve. If we do this work well together, then the heartbeat of a story, perhaps only faintly audible in the first draft, strengthens. These are the best moments. A student revises and I critique, the student revises and revises again... and then abruptly the student is off and running without need of more advice, and we're looking at a draft together, and we can all of us hear that heart beating.

Listen to Rachel Kadish talk about her work on Lesley's podcast, Why We Write. Also available here: iTunes , Stitcher , Google Play or Spotify.

Hester Kaplan headshot

Hester Kaplan

My most valuable teaching tool is the work itself, whether it's a piece of student writing, or the published work of a seasoned author. I'm interested in how and why a piece of fiction engages the reader, and I ask my students to consider what elements make a story and lead them to feel a certain way. I ask them where the engagement is happening on the page, and what dynamic is taking place between the reader and the words. This search is often where the student, transferring this consideration to his own work, discovers what his story is really about. This exploration, if we take a risk and allow it to, will lead the writer to discover the truth in and about his own writing.

I stress revision as the time when a piece of work finds its form and meaning, and when all the elements of fiction we talk about in seminars and workshops and submissions come together to serve the story. Revision - that process of chipping away, fine-tuning, and rethinking - is also about looking at the language and considering the cadence and the music of the writing. It's during revision that we feel ourselves itching to leave the work and run away, but it's those drops of sweat, that racing heart, that lets us know we're about to get to the true and genuine stuff.

I love teaching in Lesley's program and find my students enormously inspiring. Learn more about Hester at her website, , or at

Faculty member Michelle Knudsen portrait

Michelle Knudsen

Michelle Knudsen is the New York Times best-selling author of fifty books for young readers of all ages, including the award-winning picture book Library Lion, which was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 Best Children's Books of All Time. Her other books include the picture book Marilyn's Monster (one of NPR's Best Books of 2015) and the novels The Dragon of Trelian (VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers) and Evil Librarian (YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults and winner of the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor). Michelle also works as a freelance editor and writing coach. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

Connect with Michelle through her website at . 

Photo of Ellen Lewis smiling, wearing a black hat, black shirt and red scarf

Ellen Lewis

E. M. Lewis is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and opera librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and published by Samuel French. She received the Steinberg Award for both  How the Light Gets In  and  Song of Extinction  and the Primus Prize for  Heads  from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama, and an Edgerton Award for her epic Antarctic play,  Magellanica,  that was produced at Artists Repertory Theater in 2018 and released as a five-part audio podcast in 2020.

Other plays by Lewis include:  Apple Season  (which received a rolling world premiere from the National New Play Network in 2019) , Infinite Black Suitcase ,  The Gun Show  (which has had more than fifty productions across the country and went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland),  True Story, Dorothy's Dictionary, You Can See All the Stars  (a play for college students commissioned by the Kennedy Center), and  How the Light Gets In  (a semi-finalist for the O’Neill that premiered at Boston Court Pasadena in 2019).

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant , a new opera commissioned by American Lyric Theater that Lewis is working on with composer Evan Meier, had an orchestral workshop in New York City in February 2020.  Town Hall , her opera about health care in America, created with composer Theo Popov, was produced at University of Maryland and Willamette University. She wrote a ten-minute musical called  The Letter  with composer Stacey Philipps, and is working on a full-length musical called  In the Deep  with composer Roscoe McDonald.

Lewis is currently working on a big, new political play called  The Great Divide , commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as part of their American Revolutions program, and co-commissioned by Artists Repertory Theater, where she is Playwright in Residence through the Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program. Lewis is a proud member of LineStorm Playwrights, Opera America, and the Dramatists Guild. She is represented by Samara Harris at the Michael Moore Agency. She lives on her family’s farm in Oregon. 


Michael Lowenthal

To walk a fictional mile in someone else's fictional shoes, first you have to make that pair of shoes; it helps to know something about cobbling. After many years in the footwear trade, as it were, I'm happy to share with students anything I've learned about uppers and soles (or even, on a good day, maybe, souls).

Chris Lynch

Having worked with quite a few editors over the past twenty years, I feel my strongest work as a teacher is when I bring the best of those experiences to my students. The most energizing exchanges always came when I realized a great editor was in fact pouring her energy into channelling me, rather than battling me. I believe new writers come to us wanting to sound like their best selves, I believe they are right to feel this way, and I believe it is my duty to help them achieve this. (We may sometimes have to debate what that best self might actually be, but that too is part of the fun.)

In workshop there is one horse I feel is never too dead to beat: our objective is to get the writer back to the keyboard. All feedback does not need to be cheerleading but it does need to be designed to leave the writer with the ideas - and the will - to go back and make the work stronger.


Rachel Manley

I do not have a teaching philosophy. Maybe empathy. But that's not philosophy. As a mentor I try to intuit what's in the minds and hearts of the writers I work with, hoping to help sharpen their philosophy, their thoughts, their words, and their meaning, so that they can achieve whatever special literary goal they have set for themselves. In the end, if I do have to define a philosophy of teaching, or the technique I use to buttress that philosophy, then simply, it is to use my experience as a writer in guiding and assisting my students along their journey to fulfill their imagination.

Adrian Matejka author photo

Adrian Matejka

Adrian was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. His poetry is known for its exploration of identity and cultural history.


In the early drafts, I'm mostly interested in helping you see what is at the heart of the story. Who is this character, what does he or she want, and why do you, the writer, see him or her in that particular place doing that particular thing? I try to get you to understand the elements of the story that interest you the most - the characters, the place and the time setting, the images that started you thinking about the story in the first place, the one sentence that seemed right and important from the beginning - in order to sort out what is essential and what is not. My job is to help you figure out which things you started out with are worth keeping and developing, and (just as importantly) to encourage you to be utterly ruthless about throwing out the rest.

In the middle stages, I try to help you with the overall structure of the narrative: where to begin, what to explain right away, what to reveal more gradually along the way, how much to leave open-ended. This is a good time to consider and reconsider what is plausible and what is not, what is confusing to the reader and what is so clear that it doesn't need to be explained, where the story happens too fast and where it bogs down. With every subsequent draft, more attention can be paid to each paragraph, each sentence, each word. The final revision in which we get to scrutinize every word is a real pleasure and reward. I enjoy teaching because I like to see the story come into focus over time; it's both a pleasure and an honor to be part of that process. Learn more about Kyoko at her website:

Photograph of Thato Mwosa smiling facing the camera

Thato Mwosa

Thato R. Mwosa is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker. Her films have been broadcast nationally and internationally. Thato’s first feature film, Memoirs of a Black Girl, premiered at the 2021 Boston Globe’s Black History Month Film Festival and it won Best Feature Film award at the 2021 Hamilton Black Film Festival and the 2021 Roxbury International Film Festival (RIFF). Thato has been featured by National Public Radio (NPR) and Boston Globe. Thato is currently working on her next feature film which hopes to complete in 2024.

In 2021,  Thato was selected for  Company One’s Playlab Circuit Volt Playwriting Lab. She was a finalist for the 2019 Mass Cultural Art Fellowship in the Dramatic Writing category. Thato was a quarter-finalist for The Academy Nicholl Fellowship and a semi-finalist of the 2021 Writer Lab NY for her screenplay A Blue Dawn.

Thato teaches Visual Media Arts at Emerson College and Writing for Stage and Screen at Lesley’s University Creative Writing MFA Residency Program. This fall of 2022, she will be a full-time Professor of Screenwriting at Boston University.


Pamela Petro

Pamela teaches in the Nonfiction and Graphic Novel & Comics genres of Lesley's MFA in Creative Writing program. Pamela views the mentoring relationship in both as a dialogue rather than a traditional teaching experience.

"The most important thing I’ve discovered as a working writer, and that I can convey to students, is that inspiration comes from writing. Writing doesn’t come from inspiration. Slogging out one word after another, sketching one comics panel after the next—especially when you don’t know what you want to say or where you’re going—is an act of great bravery. It’s also the only way I know to sufficiently rev up my imagination to take creative leaps into the unknown. The usual advice is to write what you know. I say, write what you are familiar with, not what you know. The very act of writing helps us articulate the deep, important things we didn’t even know we knew. Only writing affords me access to that place of understanding inside me. And I see my job at Lesley University as helping students find their way to that place inside themselves."

In addition to mentoring students, Pamela directs the Dylan Thomas Summer School in Creative Writing at The University of Wales where Lesley MFA students have been attending for credit since the program began in 2014. If you’ve ever wanted to write about an 11 th -century Welsh castle while in that castle, or compose a poem in the style of Dylan Thomas in Dylan Thomas’ childhood bedroom, come with us to Wales.

Learn more about Pam on her website and connect with her on Instagram @petropamela

Color photograph from the neck up of Cynthia Platt smiling at the camera.

Cynthia Platt

Cynthia Platt is the author of books for young readers for all ages, ranging from board books to young adult fiction. Her picture books include Grow, A Little Bit of Love, and Panda-monium . She’s also the author of the young middle grade novel Parker Bell & the Science of Friendship , the YA novel Postcards from Summer , and numerous Curious George books. She also teaches undergraduate liberal arts courses at Montserrat College of Art. With more than twenty years under her belt as an editor of books for young readers at Candlewick Press and the former Houghton Mifflin Harcourt trade publisher, she brings her experiences as both a writer and editor to her work as a faculty mentor for Writing for Young People MFA program.

You can learn more about Cynthia at her website:


Kevin Prufer

Keven Prufer teaches in the Poetry genre of the MFA in Creative Writing program.

"Like other art forms, poetry at its best is a kind of complex communication—a way one mind speaks to a multitude of minds, many of them not yet born. What attracts me to poetry particularly is not merely the way it compresses or asserts meaning, but the way a poem can hold multiple, often conflicting, meanings. The poems I admire are frequently born out of ambivalence—out of strong feelings or beliefs in conflicting directions. These poems ask difficult, vital human questions, but their object is not necessarily to answer these questions. They are, in fact, often unanswerable. Instead, they think about them with purpose and complexity, helping us reformulate them for ourselves."

Although Kevin loves to talk about the technical aspects of poetry writing—rhyme, meter, image, tone—Kevin generally approaches drafts of student poems with these 3 questions:

Connect with Kevin through his website .

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds

My philosophy is to have a good time getting to know the characters in the stories. Let's all ask the questions, the hard ones, the funny ones, the ridiculous ones, to make sure the characters are breathing. Then, once they are alive, we can be better informed of the development of the plot. Also, I believe in positive reinforcement. I refuse to edit without highlighting strengths. My job is to serve as sort of a literary "personal trainer."  When you show up to my "gym," I'll be certain to let you know how great you look, and far along you've come. I'm going to tell you how proud I am, and how I can finally see the abs coming in. And then, we're going to hit the weights and work our butts off, pushing you to the limit for the desired goal — a perfectly chiseled story.

photo of faculty member John Rozum, wearing glasses, standing in front of wall art

Aside from writing for television, magazines, and video games, John Rozum has been writing comics professionally for over thirty years. He has written for companies such as Marvel, DC, Topps, Milestone Media, Boom! Studios, Interpop Comics, and others. He has written characters such as Daredevil, Batman, Superman, and Scooby-Doo, and properties ranging from The X-Files to Dexter ’s Laboratory . He is best known as the creator of the critically acclaimed Xombi and Midnight, Mass . Currently, he is writing the digital comic, The Abyss, for Interpop Comics. He has been an independent study advisor in writing graphic novels for Lesley University since 2012.

photo of faculty member Cassie Seinuk in a jean jacket and glasses against a brown background

Cassie Seinuk

Cassie M. Seinuk is a playwright, AEA Stage Manager, visual artist and educator in Boston, MA. Her play, From the Deep , has won multiple awards, including The Pestalozzi New Play Prize and the Latinidad Playwrights Award at the Kennedy Center. It was also a recipient of the Boston University Jewish Culture Endowment, and it appeared on the 2015 Kilroys Honorable Mention List. The production of From the Deep received IRNE Award nominations and nearly sold out at 2016 FringeNYC Festival.

Eyes Shut. Door Open. or “ ESDO ” was a recipient of the Bob Jolly Charitable Fund Grant. ESDO  won the 2016 OnStage Critics Award for an Outstanding New Work. Short play,  Occupy Hallmark , won the 2015 National Ten Minute Play Award at the Kennedy Center. Her newest play, Dream House , was developed at New Repertory Theatre as part of Next Voices Fellows, and has earned her a Mass. Cultural Council Fellowship. 

Seinuk’s short plays have been produced nationwide. She is a member of Boston Public Works, The Dramatist Guild, and AEA, and is a 2017 Mass. Cultural Council Fellow Finalist. As a stage manager, Seinuk has worked with Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Central Square Theatre (The Nora and URT), Bridge Rep of Boston, SpeakEasy, and The Berkshire Theatre Group.

"Playwrights are given the gift of creating entire worlds for our audiences to experience with all five senses. We are able to make magic happen before their eyes with our words.  I want you to know what your character wants and what they will do to get what they want.  As a faculty mentor, I want you to dream wild, write imaginatively, and ask big questions from your plays and screenplays." - Cassie Seinuk


Kate Snodgrass

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty Emerita

At its core, teaching is a partnership (it's just you and me). I have a passion for storytelling - whether it's on the stage or on the screen, and my favorite thing to do is to talk about the infinite varieties of story. As a teacher I consider it my calling to open doors, not to close them. I try to listen, not only to you and what you want to accomplish and why you're writing and what you want the audience to understand, but also to what the play/screenplay itself wants to do, say, accomplish. Sometimes we writers are not sure what we're writing about or even why we're writing it; we're simply trying to get something out onto the page so we can understand it and then shape it in a meaningful way. And sometimes our intellects get in the way of our instincts - especially in the first drafts. I try to listen to the play's instincts most of all - sometimes they are smarter than we are. And I ask a lot of questions. Answers are not so helpful in the long run - they're an easy fix, but questions are helpful. Questions open doors to solutions. Finally, I want you to come away knowing your strengths and weaknesses so you can continue to grow in the "real" world. Therefore, I revere so-called "failure." It's where we learn the most, and it sets us on a path toward success. I hate to mention the dreaded word "process," but writing is one, and once we understand this, we retain power over our writing. And we should all be so very powerful.

faculty sinan unel

When asked what principle qualities make a good dramatist, playwright David Hare replied without hesitation: “Good playwrights have a distinctive view of the world. It’s their world view. It’s how they see the world.” This is the mantra that steers me as artist and as instructor. If my first job is to ensure that students discover, value and cultivate that individual perspective, my second - and perhaps more important - job is to give them the tools to bring forth a work of art.


A.J. Verdelle

My teaching passion involves revision. Period. When I first began to write, I was completely daunted by my heroically obtained but completely unsatisfactory drafts. I went, as I do always, in search of references to instruct me, and found nothing I could really use on revision. This challenged me. I have spent all my teaching energies of the last fifteen years coming up with a strategy for communicating revision. My work as a teacher is all about answering this critical question: What do you do now that you have a good draft? How do you move a draft from "done", to beautiful?

I teach a method of revision that has been page-tested by my students. Beginning with defining the hot center, or the passion source, of each manuscript, and radiating out, we refine everything down to where you place your commas and periods. I teach students to revise with acuity, and I teach students to consider and reconsider every word they choose to use. I encourage students to refresh their understanding of the narrative and poetic elements we employ to write fiction, and to make choices among those of which elements to scour, polish and/or re-envision.

Once you know what you're doing revision is the revelator. Watching a manuscript begin to glisten from the muck of an early draft is like finding an emerald in the mud.

Listen to A.J. share writing advice on our podcast.

Black and white photograph of Sara Zarr smiling facing the camera.

Sara Zarr is the author of nine novels for young readers, as well as  Courageous Creativity: Advice and Encouragement for the Creative Life  and  This Creative Life: A Handbook for Writers.  All of her fiction is contemporary realism, with a focus on the inter- and intrapersonal dramas within the family unit, broadly defined. Her nonfiction (both short and long form) ranges in focus from the psychological and practical obstacles to a productive writing life, to how childhood trauma and dysfunction play out in adulthood, to faith and religion in art and culture. 

Sara is a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and the International Reading Association. Her essays and creative nonfiction have been published in  Image ,  Relief, Gather , and several anthologies. She also hosts and produce the This Creative Life podcast.

Each year, the MFA in Creative Writing awards up to $490,000 in merit scholarships. Other forms of financial aid are also available. Review all graduate tuition and fees , and what they cover. Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

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Creative Writing, Low-Residency MFA

New England College’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program is a truly transformative learning experience for writers. This program delivers a rigorous, individualized program with five dynamic degree tracks: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, Writing for Stage and Screen, and Dual Genre.

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Info session, recent visiting artists, application requirements, assistantships, scholarships, and program details, notable alumni, degree requirements, contact the creative writing department, graduate admissions.

Bliss Clemmer 603.428.2252 [email protected]

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Jennifer Militello 603.428.2309 [email protected]

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The MFA’s academic model is studio/research: integrating substantial work in the academic study and creative production of literary art. Students are individually mentored by accomplished, award‐winning faculty members who are among the most compelling writers in their genres, and who also are known for their excellence in teaching.

Students also have opportunities for specialized study in areas such as translation, cross‐genre writing/hybrid forms, editing and publishing, new media, and performance.

Available Tracks

Allison Titus

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty

Allison Titus is a poet and fiction writer living in Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry: Instructions from the Narwhal (Bateau Press, 2007), Topography of Tears (Artifact Press, 2017), and Sob Story (Barrelhouse Press, 2018); two books of poetry: Sum of Every Lost Ship (Cleveland State University Press, 2010), and The True Book of Animal Homes (Saturnalia Press, 2017); and a novel, The Arsonist’s Song Has Nothing to Do with Fire (Etruscan Press, 2014). In 2011, she was awarded a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for her poetry.

Anaïs Duplan

mfa creative writing boston

Anaïs Duplan is a trans* poet, curator, and artist. He is the author of a book of essays,  Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture (Black Ocean, 2020); a full-length poetry collection, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016); and a chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus  (Monster House Press, 2017). He has taught poetry at the University of Iowa, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, and St. Joseph’s College.

His video works have been exhibited by Flux Factory, Daata Editions, the 13th Baltic Triennial in Lithuania, Mathew Gallery, NeueHouse, the Paseo Project, and will be exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 2021. As an independent curator, he has facilitated curatorial projects in Chicago; Boston; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Reykjavík, Iceland. He was a 2017–2019 joint Public Programs fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2016, he founded the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color, based at Iowa City’s artist-run organization Public Space One. He works as Program Manager at Recess.

Andrew Morgan

mfa creative writing boston

Andrew Morgan is a professor, poet, editor, and volunteer whose work can be found in magazines such as Conduit ,  Verse ,  Slope ,  Stride ,  Fairy Tale Review , New World Writing ,  Post Road, Pleiades  (as part of a “Younger American Poets” feature)   and is the recipient of a  Slovenian Writer’s Association Fellowship, which sponsored a month-long writing residency in the country’s capital city of Ljubljana. Currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at New England College, his first book, Month of Big Hands , was published by Natural History Press in 2013.

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty

Anna Qu is a Chinese-American writer. Her debut memoir, Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor was published in 2021 by Catapult . Publisher’s Weekly hailed the memoir as “the arrival of a new voice,” and Time has called it a must-read for the summer. Her work has appeared in the  Threepenny Review, Lumina, Kartika, Kweli, and Vol.1 Brooklyn , among others. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and teaches workshops at Catapult and Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop.

mfa creative writing boston

Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities  (BOA Editions, 2017) , which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. Bloodaxe Books has just released the UK edition. He is also the author of four chapbooks, most recently You MUST Use the Word Smoothie (Sundress Publications, 2019) and GESUNDHEIT!  (with Sam Herschel Wein and out now from Glass Poetry Press). His work appears in many publications, including  Poetry , Poem-a-Day, The Best American Poetry (2015 and 2019), and The Best American Nonrequired Reading (2017). He has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman and the National Endowment for the Arts. He holds an MFA from Syracuse University and a PhD from Texas Tech University. He teaches at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence and co-runs the journal, Underblong. He lives in Waltham, Massachusetts, with his partner, Jeff Gilbert, and their pug, Mr. Rupert Giles.

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty

David Ryan is the author of the short story collection,  Animals in Motion  (Roundabout Press) and  Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano: Bookmarked  (Ig Publishing). His fiction has appeared in  Esquire ,  Tin House ,  BOMB ,  Fence ,  Denver Quarterly , and  Alaska Quarterly Review , among others, and has been anthologized in  Flash Fiction Forward  (W.W. Norton), Boston Noir 2: The Classics (Akashic Books), and The Mississippi Review: 30 Years . His essays, reviews, and interviews have appeared in  The Paris Review ,  Tin House ,  BOMB ,  BookForum ,  The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Fiction  (Oxford University Press), and others. A founding editor of the literary magazine,  Post Road , he currently edits the Fiction and Theatre sections.

Jennifer Militello

mfa creative writing boston

Jennifer Militello is the author of the poetry collection The Pact (Tupelo Press/Shearsman Books, 2021) and the memoir Knock Wood (Dzanc Books, 2019) and is winner of the Dzanc Nonfiction Prize. She is also the author of four previous collections of poetry, including A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments (Tupelo Press, 2016), called “positively bewitching” by Publishers Weekly  and Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), named one of the best books of 2013 by Best American Poetry . Her poems and nonfiction have appeared in Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, POETRY , and Tin House .

Leah Johnson

mfa creative writing boston

Leah Johnson is the author of the young adult novels You Should See Me in a Crown (Scholastic, 2020), recently named a Junior Library Guild selection, and Rise to the Sun (Scholastic, 2021). She received her MFA in fiction at Sarah Lawrence College, where she currently teaches in their undergraduate writing program. Leah is a staff contributing editor at Catapult Magazine and a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow. She resides in Brooklyn, New York, but will always be a Midwesterner at heart.

Paige Ackerson-Kiely

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty

Paige Ackerson-Kiely is the author of three books of poetry— In No One’s Land (Ahsahta, 2007); My Love is a Dead Arctic Explorer  (Ahsahta, 2012); and Dolefully, A Rampart Stands (Penguin, 2019)—and other works of poetry and prose. Her poems have appeared in journals such as jubilat, Ninth Letter, Bellingham Review, Verse , and Copper Nickel . She’s received grants and fellowships from such places as Poets & Writers, Boomerang, Vermont Arts Council, and others.

MFA Faculty Tara Ison

Tara Ison is the author of three novels: A Child out of Alcatraz , The List , and Rockaway ; the essay collection Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies ; and the short story collection Ball . Her work has appeared in Tin House, BOMB, The Kenyon Review, Salon, Black Clock, O, the Oprah Magazine, Electric Lit, and several anthologies. She is the recipient of multiple Yaddo fellowships, the PEN Southwest Award for Creative Nonfiction, and two NEA fellowships. She is also the co-writer of the cult classic movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead . Ison is a Professor of Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

Jericho Brown

mfa creative writing boston

Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal , Coldfront , and the Academy of American Poets. He is also the author of the collection The Tradition (2019), which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and the winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His poems have appeared in BuzzFeed , The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time, The Pushcart Prize Anthology , and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies. He is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta.

Andre Dubus III

MFA visiting artist

Andre Dubus III is the author of The Cage Keeper and Other Stories;   Bluesman;  and the New York Times bestsellers, House of Sand and Fog , The Garden of Last Days (soon to be a major motion picture) and his memoir, Townie , a #4 New York Times bestseller and a New York Times “Editors Choice.” His work has been included in The Best American Essays and The Best Spiritual Writing anthologies, and his novel House of Sand and Fog was a finalist for the National Book Award, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. His novella collection, Dirty Love , was published in the fall of 2013 and has been listed as a New York Times “Notable Book,” a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a 2013 “Notable Fiction” choice from The Washington Post , and a Kirkus  “Starred Best Book of 2013.” His new novel, Gone So Long , was published in 2018 (W.W. Norton). Mr. Dubus has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over 25 languages, and he teaches full-time at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Fontaine, a modern dancer, and their three children.

Vievee Francis

Vievee Francis

Vievee Francis is the author of The Shared World , which is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press; Forest Primeval (TriQuarterly Books, 2015), winner of the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award; Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize; and Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006). Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, textbooks, and anthologies, including Poetry , Best American Poetry 2010 , 2014 , 2017 , 2019 , and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry . She has been a participant in the Cave Canem Workshops, a Poet-in-Residence for the Alice Lloyd Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, and teaches poetry writing in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop (USA, UK, and Barbados). In 2009 she received a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and in 2010, a Kresge Fellowship. She is the recipient of the 2021 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry.

Linda Gregerson

mfa creative writing boston

Linda Gregerson is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently of  Prodigal: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015). Among her earlier books,  Magnetic North (2007) was a finalist for the National Book Award; Waterborne (2002) won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award;  The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep  was a finalist for both the Lenore Marshall Award and The Poets Prize. Gregerson has also received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Poetry Society of America, the Modern Poetry Association, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Gregerson teaches at the University of Michigan, as Distinguished University Professor of English and Creative Writing, and is also a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Vijay Seshadri

MFA visiting artist

Vijay Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India, in 1954 and moved to America at the age of five. He is the author of the poetry books  Wild Kingdom ,  The Long Meadow ,  The Disappearances , and  3 Sections , as well as many essays, reviews, and memoir fragments. His work has been widely published and anthologized and recognized with many honors, most recently the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and, in 2015, the Literature Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was educated at Oberlin College and Columbia University and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Ocean Vuong

mfa creative writing boston

Ocean Vuong is the author of The New York Times bestselling novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous , out from Penguin Press (2019) and forthcoming in 30 languages worldwide. A recipient of a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant, he is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds , a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize.

Vuong’s writings have been featured in The Atlantic , Granta , Harpers , The Nation , New Republic , The New Yorker , The New York Times , The Village Voice , and American Poetry Review , which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as a 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker—alongside Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon, and Angela Merkel—Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers” and has been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS NewsHour, Teen Vogue , Interview , Poets & Writers , and The New Yorker .

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass-Amherst.

The NEC MFA program looks forward to your application. Though we have year-round rolling admissions, we do have preferred deadlines which allow us to give an application our fullest consideration.

Preferred Deadlines Spring: December 15 Summer: Our application deadline has been extended to May 1.

Personal Essay: 1–4 pages

Applicants should address their preparation for graduate work as writers and scholars, the vision and goals they have for themselves and their work as writers looking to undertake a graduate degree program, and any other information pertinent to their application process.

Writing Sample: 10–15 pages in poetry; 20–25 pages in prose and Writing for Stage and Screen

Applicants should submit a sample of creative work in the genre for which they are applying. Dual genre applicants should submit a sample that contains both genres of interest. Prose should be double-spaced; poetry may be single-spaced.

Two Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation should address an applicant’s potential for rigorous creative and critical work at the graduate level.

Official Transcripts

Applicants must submit proof that they have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Rare exceptions may be made for individuals who can show a high level of professional achievement.

For additional Admissions questions, please contact our Graduate Admissions Office [email protected] 603.428.2252

Teaching Assistantships and Scholarships

The NEC MFA offers several merit-and need-based financial assistance packages.

Full Teaching Assistantships Full Teaching Assistantships cover the full cost of tuition. The teaching load for full teaching assistants is four courses per year.

Partial Teaching Assistantships Partial Teaching Assistantships provide partial tuition for students. The teaching load for part-time teaching assistants is one to three classes per year.

The Joel Oppenheimer Scholarship The Joel Oppenheimer scholarship is awarded to an MFA student whose writing sample demonstrates outstanding literary achievement and exceptional promise.

The Joel Oppenheimer Scholarship is awarded in memory of the distinguished Black Mountain poet, Joel Oppenheimer, who taught at New England College from 1982 to 1988. He lived among the poets and artists of Greenwich Village, and was a columnist for The Village Voice from 1969 to 1978 before settling in Henniker, New Hampshire, where he was a popular presence in the local community. His most important publications include Collected Later Poems of Joel Oppenheimer (1997); Names and Local Arbitrations (1988); Drawing from Life: A Selection of Joel Oppenheimer’s “Village Voice” Columns (1997); Don’t Touch the Poet: The Life and Times of Joel Oppenheimer (1998); Just Friends: Friends and Lovers Poems , 1959–1962 (1980); New Spaces Poems 1975–1983 (1985); and Poetry: The Ecology of the Soul (1983).

Pilgrim Plus Scholarship New England College provides NEC alumni with a 25% tuition discount applied to graduate level classes across a wide range of graduate programs.

For additional information and assistance with program tuition and financial aid, you may contact Student Financial Services by phone at 603.428.2226 or by email at [email protected] .

If you’d like to sign up for a teaching assistantship, please fill out this application .

Program Details

Upon graduation from the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, students will be able to:

Tara Betts | Dr. Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit (Trio House Press, 2016), Arc & Hue (Willow Books, 2009),  7 x 7: Kwansabas (Backbone Press, 2015) and The GREATEST!: An Homage to Muhammad Ali (Argus House, 2013).

Catherine Kyle | Catherine Kyle is a writer, teacher, and scholar based in Seattle. She is the author of the poetry book Shelter in Place (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019), along with six shorter collections. She teaches literature and creative writing at DigiPen Institute of Technology.

Melissa Cahnmann-Taylor  | Professor of TESOL and World Language Education in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, Dr. Cahnmann-Taylor’s honors include a 2017 Richard Ruiz Scholar-Artist Residency Award (Guanajuato, MX); 2015 Beckman Award for Professors Who Inspire, a 2013-14 Fulbright Award (Oaxaca, Mexico), three NEA Big Read Grants (Jeffers 2015; Poe 2016; Hua 2018), top Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes, a Jewish Currents Prize, first place in Anthropology and Humanism poetry prize, a Leeway Poetry Grant, and several Pushcart Prize nominations.

Cole Phillips | Writer and educator living in coastal Maine and teaching in New Hampshire at Manchester Community College. His work has been featured in New World Writing , Juked , Post Road , Green Mountains Review , and elsewhere, and has been longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions. He was a semi-finalist for the 2021 River Styx Microfiction Contest. He is the author of Standish Blue (Ghost City Press) and is the prose editor for Malasaña .

Kimberly Priest | Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird  (Sundress Publications 2021), finalist in the American Book Awards, and the chapbooks The Optimist Shelters in Place  (Small Harbor Press 2022),  Parrot Flower (Glass Poetry Press, 2021), Still Life   (PANK 2020) , and  White Goat Black Sheep (FLP, 2018).

Reverie Konieki | A voice can be singular, yet also belong to all the bodies and experiences it connotes. Language is where we construct the common dream of the human experience, yet fails at ultimately allowing one to fully experience the body of another. My artistic aim is to explore these seemingly contradictory aspects of the physical and metaphysical with wonder.

Creative Writing, Single-genre Track, M.F.A.

Creative writing single-genre core.

36 credits in

EN 5311 - Mentorship Study: Creative Writing

16 credits in

EN 6411 - Residency Study: Creative Writing

12 credits in

EN 7051 - Mentorship Study: Thesis Development

En 7130 - final residency: lecture, public reading, and thesis defense, creative writing course map.

Best Creative Writing Graduate Programs & Schools in Boston

What are creative writing graduate programs in boston.

Creative Writing Graduate Programs teach the art of language. You could develop your writing through study and practice. Classes might cover both general English topics, craft classes, and even courses about the publishing industry. Workshops offer the chance to hone your work. And of course, gain peer feedback to help improve that short story or poem. Most MFA Creative Writing programs take the format of a two-year program. (In the second year, MFA students may work on crafting a thesis.) That said, you may be able to find a three-year program. And some students study part-time. So, they could earn their MFA on a different timeline.

Creative Writing Masters Programs in Boston

MFA stands for Master of Fine Arts. An MFA in Creative Writing may be an especially common option. Most programs include courses in the department of English and courses about the craft of writing. In addition, programs strive to create a community of writers. They may do that by:

But these days, MFA students could pursue other paths. Like an online degree program. Or programs where you take most classes online but do a brief residency on campus. (Often called low residency.)

Wondering about admissions requirements? An MFA in writing often considers more than just your undergrad transcripts. The program may look at your past writing experience. And a big part of your application is the writing sample. Samples should likely be in the genre you’d like to study. It could be a novel chapter. Or a collection of poems. Even a play or movie script!

MFA Writing Workshops

Expect workshopping to be a large portion of your program. Workshops are writing intensive courses. Students develop new work for peer review. They submit drafts for peer feedback. Then it’s time for revisions to make the work as good as it can be.

These classes might be a great way to produce new work. Plus, learn from what your peers are writing. And, workshops could provide a safe place for students to give and get critical feedback.

There’s one other potential plus. Writing workshops often bring together students from different genres. So, you could get constructive feedback from many different perspectives. For example, students writing poetry could offer fresh insights into your creative nonfiction.

Workshop requirements may differ by graduate school. Want the specifics? Contact the program director for the MFA program you’re considering.

MFA Writing Courses

Practicing writing in workshop is just part of an MFA. You’ll also take core academic courses. These focus on the craft of writing. For instance, you might learn about point of view. Or different forms and styles of poetry. You’ll study how other writers achieved certain effects. And you’ll try your hand at new techniques. MFA writing courses could include:

PhD Creative Writing Degrees in Boston

Creative Writing PhD Programs  are writing intense programs like the MFA. But they may have more of a research element along with coursework.

So how does this PhD program differ from other doctorate programs? One big difference may be the dissertation. Most doctoral programs ask students to write and present works of original research. In comparison, creative dissertations are usually long-form works. Like:

Due to the intensity of the above-mentioned writing requirements, students could potentially complete a PhD program in 3 to 5 years. Program length may vary by school and enrollment.

PhD programs in this field may require previous graduate experience, as well as a 3.5 graduate GPA. Additionally, writing schools may ask students to submit samples of their previous work. Check with intended programs for more admissions details.

Creative Writing Graduate Certificate Programs in Boston

Graduate Certificate Creative Writing  programs might be a great way to quickly build your writing skills and knowledge. These programs typically do not require a minimum GPA for admissions. This may make them more accessible to a wide array of students, so that they can begin to hone their craft.

Many certificate programs only workshop one specific genre. For example, they might focus solely on children’s literature. This may provide a focused curriculum without unnecessary academic electives. So, graduate certificates are often on the shorter side. Full time students could potentially earn a Graduate Certificate in one year, although program lengths vary.

High vs. Low Residency Writing Programs

Residency requirements are common in many graduate writing programs. Biannually, students may be required to live and work on campus.

This is done to provide a space for students to concentrate on writing, reviewing, and revising their work. During this time, you could be sharing housing with other students from your program. Students are also encouraged to workshop pieces with others in the residency program to further refine the final product.

Typically, graduate writing programs either offer a low or high residency option. Low residency writing programs are shorter and may last around 10 days. High residency writing programs are often lengthier, lasting from 2 to 6 weeks. Residency lengths and details may vary by university.

Graduate Creative Writing Program Formats

Pinpointing MFA programs that complement your daily routine could be difficult. But, there are several different program types that could make it easier to study and write…even if you have other responsibilities.

On Campus MFA Programs

On campus programs are what you might picture when you imagine the traditional university experience.  Graduate creative writing schools  provide the opportunity to develop your work alongside your peers and mentors.

Things like workshops and office hours could make it easier to get help polishing your work. Additionally, this might be an opportunity to build professional relationships with classmates. You never know who might be your connection to a literary agent or publishing house.

Online Creative Writing Graduate Programs

Online MFA programs are a great way to stay in your own space while earning your degree. No matter where you live, you could attend classes on your own schedule. And, you could still receive valuable feedback from peers and professors via email or online forums.

An  online writing degree  may be a perfect option for students who work. This way, you could pursue your professional endeavors while honing your craft.

It’s important to note that online programs may require students to take part in residency programs. Typically, these are offered in the low-residency format but could require you try travel to campus or a nearby location.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid Creative Writing degrees  offer a little taste of both the above programs. Depending on your personal schedule, you could choose to pursue one style of learning at any given time. For instance, you could take online courses while working. Or, take on campus courses in between jobs.

This might be great for current freelance writers because of their constantly changing work schedule. Depending on your future responsibilities, you could plan your semesters accordingly.

in  Boston Information about Creative Writing Graduate Programs

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Schools with Creative Writing Graduate Programs in Boston offers 3 creative writing programs in boston.

Southern New Hampshire University

Emerson College

Boston university, simmons university.



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Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests database, the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.

Find a home for your poems, stories, essays, and reviews by researching the publications vetted by our editorial staff. In the Literary Magazines database you’ll find editorial policies, submission guidelines, contact information—everything you need to know before submitting your work to the publications that share your vision for your work.

Whether you’re pursuing the publication of your first book or your fifth, use the Small Presses database to research potential publishers, including submission guidelines, tips from the editors, contact information, and more.

Research more than one hundred agents who represent poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers, plus details about the kinds of books they’re interested in representing, their clients, and the best way to contact them.

Trying to get your work published can feel like wandering in a maze. If you are running into one dead end after another, not sure which way to turn, Poets & Writers can demystify the process and help you reach your destination—publication.

Every week a new publishing professional shares advice, anecdotes, insights, and new ways of thinking about writing and the business of books.

Stay informed with reports from the world of writing contests, including news of extended deadlines, recent winners of notable awards, new contest announcements, interviews with winners, and more.

Since our founding in 1970, Poets & Writers has served as an information clearinghouse of all matters related to writing. While the range of inquiries has been broad, common themes have emerged over time. Our Top Topics for Writers addresses the most popular and pressing issues, including literary agents, copyright, MFA programs, and self-publishing.

Our series of subject-based handbooks (PDF format; $4.99 each) provide information and advice from authors, literary agents, editors, and publishers. Now available: The Poets & Writers Guide to Publicity and Promotion, The Poets & Writers Guide to the Book Deal, The Poets & Writers Guide to Literary Agents, The Poets & Writers Guide to MFA Programs, and The Poets & Writers Guide to Writing Contests.

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Research newspapers, magazines, websites, and other publications that consistently publish book reviews using the Review Outlets database, which includes information about publishing schedules, submission guidelines, fees, and more.

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Boston University

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MFA Program

Poetry: Andrea Cohen, Karl Kirchwey, Robert Pinsky, Nicole Sealey Fiction: Leslie Epstein, Jennifer Haigh, Ha Jin, Jayne Anne Phillips

The program offers full funding. Every student receives full tuition coverage and a teaching stipend.

The program also offers Global Fellowships, which allow students the opportunity to live, write, and explore for up to three months, anywhere in the world.

AGNI , Clarion , 236 , Favorite Poem Project

This program features the Robert Lowell Memorial Lectures reading series and the Ha Jin Visting Lectures series. There is a foreign language requirement which may be satisfied in a number of ways.

Applicants may apply for an application fee waiver .

The Creative Writing Program was first established in 1954, shortly after WWII, as an MA program.

Elizabeth Alexander, Ellen Bass, Robin Becker, Duy Doan, William Giraldi, Arthur Golden, Ha Jin, Jhumpa Lahiri, Thu Nguyen, Patricia Park, Weike Wang

Masters Programs in Creative Writing 2023 in Boston in USA

In order to successfully obtain a Masters qualification, you will need to obtain a number of credits by passing individual modules. Most taught Masters will have a number of core modules which you must take and pass in order to obtain the qualification. The assessment of research Masters is almost always entirely by a single dissertation module or project.Students who complete a program in creativ… Read more

In order to successfully obtain a Masters qualification, you will need to obtain a number of credits by passing individual modules. Most taught Masters will have a number of core modules which you must take and pass in order to obtain the qualification. The assessment of research Masters is almost always entirely by a single dissertation module or project.

Students who complete a program in creative writing can often find work in a variety of writing positions across different industries. Students may find professional opportunities in areas such as teaching, publishing, journalism and marketing.

Education in the United States is mainly provided by the public sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: state, local, and federal, in that order. The common requirements to study at a higher education level in United States will include your admissions essay (also known as the statement of purpose or personal statement), transcript of records, recommendation/reference letters, language tests

Charlestown was the first neighborhood to pop up in Boston later becoming a city in 1848. It has one community college and a graduate school made by a local general hospital.

4 Results in Creative Writing, Boston

MA in Publishing and Writing

Whether you want to shape the prose of fresh voices as an editor, represent writers as a literary agent, or work with exciting online publications and new media formats, Emers ... +

Master of Arts degree in Children’s Literature

Simmons launched the first Master of Arts degree in Children’s Literature in 1977 to provide a rigorous, disciplined study of children’s and young adult books for those who ar ... +

MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing

Romance. Fantasy. Science fiction. Horror. Mystery. Thrillers. Young adult. Which is the right genre for your story? Become a genre fiction author with our online Popular Fict ... +

Earn a scholarship worth up to $10,000

Mfa in creative writing.

Emerson’s Creative Writing (MFA) program focuses on the practice of writing and its literary foundations and is one of the longest-running programs of its kind. We know writin ... +

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