Skip to Content

Creative Writing

Large gathering of writers around table

The M.F.A. program offers students access to incredible resources, including readings and master classes given by acclaimed visiting writers, agent and editor talks, and facilities like the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center in Kyle and the Clark House in Smithville. Each year, two graduates of the program hold residencies in these literary landmarks.

The program gives talented authors the opportunity to develop their craft in a formal academic program and a community of writers.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Doug Dorst
Flowers Hall (FH), Room 359

Advisor Support
Stanislav Rivkin
Flowers Hall (FH), Room 359

“The Texas State M.F.A. program helped shape the writer I am today. I worked with a faculty of amazing writers and insightful mentors, and I found a community of creatives that has lasted long past graduation. I’m forever grateful for my years at Texas State.”

— Owen Egerton, M.F.A. ’05, Screenwriter and Novelist

Course Work

The master of fine arts degree in creative writing requires 48 semester hours, including:

  • writing workshops
  • literature
  • form and theory
  • literary techniques
  • minor or cognate (other than creative writing)
  • thesis credit leading to the production of a book-length work of literary merit

Students may take literature courses in either poetry or fiction, but workshop classes are limited to students who are studying that particular genre. Students may also receive course credit for work on Porter House Review, the program's literary journal.

Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.F.A. Fiction 48 Thesis Minor required
M.F.A. Poetry 48 Thesis Minor required
Flowers Hall building

Graduates have won a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford, an AWP prize for Best Novel, and an honorable mention for the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Program Mission

The M.F.A. program in creative writing provides students with graduate-level knowledge of literature and theory, as well as the skills to function as advanced practitioners within their genre. Students will demonstrate their development as artists through a facility with the elements of craft in their area of concentration, along with a mature understanding of writerly process and discipline.

Students can also take course work in creative nonfiction, though it is not an official concentration.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

Our program offers students the opportunity to learn from renowned writers and committed mentors. Students workshop with Tim O’Brien, Naomi Shihab Nye, and our Endowed Chair, a position held on a rotating basis by internationally acclaimed writers (Karen Russell ’17-’20). They also work closely with our full-time faculty, including Doug Dorst, Jennifer duBois, Tom Grimes, and Debra Monroe in fiction, as well as Cyrus Cassells, Cecily Parks, Kathleen Peirce, Roger Jones, and Steve Wilson in poetry.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

The M.F.A. is considered a terminal degree, which means that graduates can teach at a university level. Many graduates are working practitioners of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and screenplays and also possess highly-developed writing skills that are valuable in a wide variety of work environments. Graduates of the Texas State program are competitive with literature doctoral students.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall January 15 January 15
Spring November 1 October 1
Summer I No Admission No Admission
Summer II No Admission No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Funding Information
For scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship consideration, applications must be completed by the deadline above. Read additional information about departmental funding opportunities below.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a firm basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

  Review important information about transcripts.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


  • Statement of purpose (maximum 750 words) discussing your goals for your time in the three-year program:
    • How do you hope to use this time to grow as a writer? You might additionally choose to address scholarly goals, professional goals, and/or what you see as the benefits of living and working in a diverse community of writers.
    • submit as a PDF file
  • Three letters of recommendation that address your academic qualifications and your commitment to good citizenship in a collegial and diverse academic community
    • If you are applying for an Instructional or Teaching Assistantship, all letters should also discuss your potential as a teacher
  • Creative portfolio (combined into one PDF file)
    • Fiction applicants should submit a maximum of 25 double-spaced pages of their work (short stories and/or a novel excerpts)
    • Poetry applicants should submit 12-15 poems
    • Both Fiction and Poetry applicants may, if they choose, also include one creative nonfiction essay or excerpt in their portfolio, subject to the same 25-page maximum for the manuscript in total
  • *Effective Spring 2023: CV/resume will be required

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.

Additional Information

  Funding Information
If you are applying for a departmental graduate assistantship (IA/TA), you must submit required materials for both the creative writing program and the IA/TA position by January 15 for the following academic year. Please submit the following items to the director of the M.F.A. program in the Department of English:

  • completed application form for a graduate assistantship
  • statement of purpose (maximum 500 words) describing your potential for and interest in teaching college first-year composition