Creative Writing

Head of the Department: Vicki Mahaffey
Director of Graduate Studies: Eleanor Courtemanche
Director of Creative Writing: Jodee Stanley
Associate Director of Creative Writing: Steve Davenport
210 English Building
608 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-3646

Major: Creative Writing
Degrees offered: M.F.A.

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of English offers a program of study leading to a Master of Fine Arts. A candidate for the MFA must spend at least four semesters or the equivalent in residence and complete at least 48 graduate hours. A full-time student typically completes this program in three academic years.


Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required, but the GRE subject test for literature in English is not. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Currently, a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test (213 on the computer-based test) is required. Before a teaching assistantship involving classroom instruction or student consultation can be awarded to a non-native speaker of English, the applicant must take the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and achieve a score of 50 or higher (230 or higher before 1996). Because applications for admission usually far exceed capacity, in recent years undergraduate grade point averages of students admitted have been significantly higher than the 3.0 (A = 4.0) required by the Graduate College. The committee on admissions tends to select those applicants who have a solid array of undergraduate courses, strong recommendations, and a compelling writing sample: in short, an academic record that shows promise of a student capable of doing outstanding work in the field and earning a degree within a reasonable time. Preference is given to applicants who will be full-time students and active degree candidates. Applicants are considered only in spring for fall admission, and the deadline for submitting applications is December 17.

Graduate Teaching Experience

Experience in teaching is considered a vital part of the graduate program and is required as part of the academic work of all MFA candidates in this program.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to students in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, and waivers of tuition and service fees. For complete information about the program, prospective applicants should consult our website at

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Craft course in the appropriate genre4
Approved Literature courses at the 400 and 500 level8
CW 595Final Project0-12
Total Hours40-52

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Four semesters in residence
Teaching experience is required.
A public reading from the completed project is required for graduation
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall: 12
Minimum GPA: 3.0