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MFA Creative Writing


I know what you’re thinking: Another MFA program in creative writing? Isn’t the world full of those? Aren’t they sprouting like mushrooms?

You may be right. There are a lot of graduate programs in creative writing, and graduate students today have more options than ever if they want to pursue an advanced degree. But we believe we’re building something special here at WKU, and we want to tell you about it. Read a recent story about our new program and view a video featuring our first class of MFA students.

It’s true that our program features the things you would expect to find anywhere else. We offer an intensive, two-year course of study in which students work hard to hone their craft as writers. But we also offer so much more:

  • Tracks in fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and scriptwriting;
  • Courses in creative writing pedagogy as well as readings courses dedicated to the history and the craft of creative writing;
  • A required secondary area in literature, composition and rhetoric, or teaching English as a second language that will give students greater employment options after graduation;
  • A low student to faculty ratio.

And the program is fully funded, offering generous assistantships, which will allow our MFA students to gain valuable experience tutoring and teaching. Our MFA faculty publishes widely, and they’re dedicated to their teaching. And all of this takes place on a beautiful campus in a town that is frequently cited as one of the most livable in the country.

Our first MFA cohort has been productive and successful during their time at WKU. They've had:

  • A poetry chapbook accepted for publication by Slash Pine Press
  • Internships at The Byrdcliffe Artists in Residence program in Woodstock, NY, Sarabande Books, and the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts.
  • Numerous publications in literary journals and anthologies, including Indianola Review, A Narrow Fellow, The Harpoon Review, Voicemail Poems, Microtext 2, Tammy, Sourland Mountain Review, Midwood Press, Literary Orphans, Red Earth Review, Miracle Monocle, Open 24 Hours, and Lavender Bluegrass.

If you have any questions, feel free to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

 --- Dr. David Bell, Director of Creative Writing

Program Description:

WKU's two-calendar-year, fully funded, residential MFA program in creative writing will prepare students for lives as writers of novels, short fiction, creative nonfiction, scripts, and poetry and related pursuits such as teaching, literary editing, and publishing. Our students also complete a secondary concentration in literature, composition/rhetoric, or teaching English as a second language in order to give them additional options for employment after graduation. The program of study consists of 48 credit hours of graduate course work, culminating in rigorous comprehensive exams and the completion of a publishable creative thesis in fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, or creative nonfiction.

Students begin the program of study with Introduction to Creative Writing Studies, which introduces them to the history and trends of creative writing as an academic discipline, creative writing pedagogy, the business and culture of creative writing, and literary citizenship. Along with three standard creative writing workshops where students will hone their craft, they will also take Reading as a Writer to discuss the techniques and history of the craft of creative writing and learn to apply various literary techniques to their own poetry, literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and scriptwriting. In addition, students will complete one thesis hour during the first summer of the program to begin thinking about their final creative project and allow for more careful planning to produce a higher quality manuscript and five additional thesis hours over the remainder of the program. 

In terms of career preparation, we recognize that many students may not be able to become full-time writers on graduation, so we have developed pieces that will prepare them for supplementary employment. All students will tutor in our Writing Center, take a course in the pedagogy of composition and rhetoric, and normally teach four undergraduate classes before graduation to prepare them for possible teaching jobs and/or make them more attractive candidates for Ph.D programs.  Students will complete course work in one of three secondary concentrations that are more career related: the literature concentration will prepare them for teaching jobs; the composition/rhetoric track will prepare them for work as composition teachers, editors, and professional writers; the teaching English as a second language track will prepare them for work in a high-demand field in this country or abroad. 

Students will also enroll in one literature elective and two free elective courses in the English Department that will allow them to explore additional interests and customize their programs to suit their individual needs. Finally, students will complete two internships related to creative writing and/or their career interest to give them real-world experience outside of the classroom so that they may better position themselves for professional work and create opportunities for community engagement.

For more information about MFA program requirements, click here.

Admission Requirements:

Applicants should write a one- to two-page letter of application in which you explain why you want to study in the MFA program at WKU and how that experience will help you with your academic and career goals.  At the end of your letter, please list contact information for three references who could support your application to our program.

Applicants should have completed a minimum of four undergraduate English courses beyond general education requirements with a GPA of at least 3.0. At least two of the courses should be upper-level English courses.  Undergraduate creative writing courses are highly recommended.              

Applicants should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

Finally, a great deal of importance will be placed on the creative writing sample as well as the application letter applicants submit. Applicants should submit up to 20 pages of prose fiction or non-fiction; 10-15 pages of poetry; or a one-page, double-spaced film treatment AND 30-40 pages of script (either a single script, multiple short scripts, or an act from a longer script).  This writing sample will be evaluated by the MFA faculty.

Application Process:

All application materials should be submitted electronically to The Graduate School at WKU by February 1, 2018. Within three days of completing The Graduate School's online application, applicants will be directed to submit letters of application/statements of purpose and writing samples to graduate.school@wku.edu.



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Application Deadline

February 1, 2019 

All application materials should be submitted electronically to The Graduate School at WKU by February 1, 2019. After completing The Graduate School’s online application, applicants will be directed to submit letters of application/statements of purpose and writing samples via email.


 For more information about the program, contact Dr. David Bell at david.j.bell@wku.edu


 MFA Creative Writing Faculty

Dr. David Bell

Professor Jessica Folk

Dr. Tom Hunley

Dr. Dale Rigby

 All Full Time English Faculty


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MFA Graduates of 2018

MFA Graduates 2018MFA Graduates 2018


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 Last Modified 10/30/18