The Master of Fine Arts in creative writing is a part of the English Department in the College of Arts and Sciences

  • Masters Available
  • Masters Available

Master of Fine Arts in

Creative Writing

The BGSU Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is widely recognized as one of the country’s most prestigious MFA programs for writers and poets. For more than fifty years, graduates of BGSU’s master’s program in creative writing have contributed to contemporary literary culture and published hundreds of books.

Our MFA in creative writing program gives you a comprehensive and rigorous education in professional writing, editing and marketing of poetry and fiction. Artistic development, craft knowledge and professional presentation are guiding principles.

The program requires a total of 36 semester hours, primarily of writing workshops, including a minimum of one course in techniques, one in literary editing, one in pedagogy and the remainder in recommended courses or electives.

Writers complete a thesis and comprehensive examination. BGSU requires a paper thesis submission. Learn more about this here.

Fostering personal and artistic growth

Writers in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program work in intensive workshops of limited size and gain a comprehensive education in the craft of writing and knowledge of the discipline and industry.  

The MFA in creative writing is a studio-based program designed for students ready to concentrate on creating original literary work. For two years, you will work with a small group of peers under the guidance of experienced writers and teachers to complete a book-length thesis of publishable quality while also gaining skills in literary editing and publishing and experience in teaching.  

The studio experience is complemented by courses in literature and other disciplines as well as competitive opportunities to intern with Mid-American Review, our award-winning international literary magazine.

To help you achieve your degree goals, graduate assistantships (including stipends and scholarships) are available for all eligible face-to-face students. Graduates go on to careers in writing, teaching, journalism, technical writing, editing and publishing while some pursue doctoral degrees in creative writing.

Stand Out in courses

  • Writers' Workshop
  • Techniques Course
  • Advanced Writer's Workshop
  • Editing the Mid-American Review
  • Pedagogy of Creative Writing
  • Thesis Research

The MFA in creative writing program admits a limited number of students each year who will have the opportunity to work closely with faculty.


Every semester features a Graduate Writers Workshop where individually directed projects are submitted and discussed at length with the group. Genres include fiction and poetry.  

To build skills, you will study high-level fictional techniques in the novel and short story including character development, plot, setting, mood, tone and diction.

To complement the core of writing and creative development, you will learn editing skills and desktop publishing through the production of the Mid-American Review. 

Training for those students with graduate assistantships is offered in techniques for teaching creative writing before and concurrent with teaching in a classroom. Classroom skills include observation, visitation, preparation of teaching materials, reading in the pedagogy of creative writing and preparation of a teaching portfolio.

We recognize the value interdisciplinary studies have for artistic development and intellectual enrichment. During your studies, you may choose electives from various fields, such as philosophy, cultural studies, science, history and art.  

Total hour requirements may be reduced for outstanding students who are able to apply credit from previous graduate work. Every accepted student is required to take a minimum of thirty hours in residence with at least one workshop in their area per semester.

GO FAR In Careers Like

  • Author
  • Poet
  • Editor
  • Critic
  • Educator
  • Journalist

MFA Reading Series

The MFA Reading Series brings poets and writers from all over the world to visit, read their work and interact with writers in our programs. The MFA Reading Series schedule is updated regularly and most often happens in the historic Prout Chapel on our Bowling Green, Ohio campus.  

Mid-American Review

Mid-American Review is the literary publication of the Department of English and the creative writing program at BGSU. Started by Robert Early in 1980, MAR has served the literary community by publishing the best contemporary fiction, non-fiction and poetry being written today. MAR is proud of its tradition of publishing both new and established writers. Poets and writers who have been published in MAR include Madison Smartt Bell, Fred Chappell, Bernard Cooper, Stephen Dunn, Stuart Dybek, Albert Goldbarth, William Goyen, T.R. Hummer, Susan Ludvigson, Naomi Shihab Nye, A. Poulin, Jr., Alberto Rios, Richard Russo, William Stafford, Jean Thompson, Chase Twichell, Lee Upton, David Foster Wallace, C.K. Williams and Eleanor Wilner.

Work from MAR has been reprinted in Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, Pushcart: Best of the Small Presses, Prize Stories: The O'Henry Awards, New Stories from the South and Harper's. Selected MFA students serve as assistant editors for MAR, providing them with valuable editorial and production experience.


While many graduates of the BGSU MFA in creative writing are published authors and poets, many more have found productive and rewarding careers in addition to their writing. 

While your MFA in creative writing will furnish you with many translatable skills, we encourage an individualized professional plan to add practical experience to your resume. Competitive internships, electives, further study, writers’ colonies, residencies and publishing opportunities all help boost students real-world experience.  

All students will graduate knowing how they learn best and with the ability to learn new skills. You will also know how to teach, edit and publish through your experience with graduate assistantships and work on the Prarie Margin and, for some, the Mid American Review.  

The MFA program at BGSU also has a large and generous body of alumni spread throughout industry, education, publishing, nonprofits and government.

BGSU Arts and Sciences white

The Master of Fine Arts in creative writing is a part of the English Department in the College of Arts and Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with the MFA in creative writing will have:

  • Developed individual, original approaches to writing fiction and poetry.
  • Produced a book-length thesis comparable in quality to the published work of contemporary poets and fiction writers.
  • Developed an understanding of their work’s place within the context of contemporary literature.
  • Evaluated literary work for publication.
  • Produced and distributed a literary journal through relevant technologies.
  • Developed pedagogical skills sufficient to design and teach courses at the college level.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The creative writing program went through Program/Cluster Review during the Academic Year 2016-17.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The master of fine arts in creative writing program does not lead to professional licensure.

Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The master of fine arts in creative writing program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.

* Job placement and salary information was compiled by the Office of Academic Assessment through the Graduation Survey from AY2015-2018. The data are gathered around the time of Commencement and a follow-up survey six months post Commencement. For the salary question, data for programs with fewer than fifteen responses are not included. Salaries for those programs are from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2019 Survey. For questions regarding the data, contact

Updated: 05/02/2023 03:32PM