Creative Writing

Thriving Writers
Check out the BG24TV video of The Write Kind of Jobs Event!

One of the oldest established programs in the country, Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University emphasizes the studio fine arts element of its degree. The program offers a BFA and MFA.. Teaching assistantships are available for the MFA Program. Please see the Graduate College policies and procedures. MFA students will be expected to concentrate in either poetry or fiction and all application materials must be sent to the Graduate College by January 15th  prior to the fall semester in which they wish to enter the Program.

Writers in the BFA Program work in intensive workshops of limited size, with comprehensive education in craft and knowledge of the discipline. This studio experience is complemented by English and interdisciplinary courses as well as competitive opportunities to intern with Mid-American Review, our award-winning international literary magazine.

The program hosts the College of Arts and Sciences Visiting Writers Series, an important aspect of BGSU's campus culture. Nationally-known writers, such as Marge Piercy, Virgil Suarez, C.K. Williams, Aimee Bender, Anthony Doerr, Simon Ortiz, Stuart Dybek, Grace Paley, Stephen Dunn, Frank Chin, and Rick Moody, visit to read their works and meet with faculty and students. In addition to visiting writers, BGSU faculty, students, and distinguished alumni also read from their works. All readings are free and open to the public. A schedule can be found by following the link on the sidebar to the left.

Recently, three MFA alumni have been selected to join the 100 Most Prominent Alumni over BGSU's 100-year existence: Mark Berman, Anthony Doerr, and Carolyn Forche. Students and graduates of the MFA program have won awards such as the Yale Younger Poets Award, Guggenheim, Rome Prize, NEA Individual Artist Fellowships, Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry, NY Public Library Young Lions Award, Iowa Short Fiction Prize, Flannery O'Connor Prize, Milkweed Prize, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Prize in Fiction, Willa Cather Prize, NYU Press Prize in Fiction, Bluestem Award, National Contemporary Poetry Award, AWP Intro Journals Project, and many more. The contemporary literary, visual, and performing arts scene at BGSU is vibrant! And there is plenty of housing close to campus.

Recent graduates of the BFA program are publishing with excellent literary presses, such as Milkweed Editions, Random House, and Amistad Press. Using their broad-based training, BFAs also enter fields as varied as publicity writer for Simon & Schuster, writer and editor for WTOL-TV in Toledo, comic book writer for Marvel Comics in New York, and others. Other BFA graduates continue on to MFA programs. The BFA writer's experience is enriched by program activities: Undergraduates edit BGSU's literary journal, Prairie Margins; organize the BFA reading series; participate in all cultural events of the MFA program; and have the opportunity to intern with the Mid-American Review. First- and second-year students can join the Arts Village, a live-in learning community devoted to the fine arts, Joel O'Dorisio, Director. 

But enough about us. What about YOU? To apply, follow hyperlinks for BFA first-yearBFA transfer, and MFA graduate students. Begin your adventure in the fine art of creative writing!

A screenshot of the fact sheet

Click on the image to visit an information sheet with additional details about the degree program.

Remembering Wendell Mayo

It is with great sadness that the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English announce the passing of Wendell Mayo. Beloved by students and colleagues alike, Wendell taught at BGSU from 1996 until his retirement last year, and his contributions to the Creative Writing program were incalculable.

He leaves a legacy of published work—five books, most recently Survival House (2018) and more than one hundred stories in distinguished literary journals, including The Missouri Review, The Harvard Review, and New Letters. He received many honors and awards for his work, including the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Subito Press Award for Innovative Fiction, and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He also leaves a legacy for those who love the short story as an art form: the establishment of the Center for the Short Story at BGSU's Jerome Library.

But Wendell's most important legacy is the impact he had on literally thousands of students over the years. His students will no doubt continue to speak of how inspiring and energetic he was. He launched many talented young writers with his mentorship, and he contributed to their lives and work in ways that go far beyond the classroom. A dedicated, generous, and demanding teacher of writing and literature, Wendell gave 100% to everything he did for our community of writers, and contributed greatly to the content and spirit of our program.


Wendell Mayo at the Jerome Library

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Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree, students in Creative Writing are expected to be able to:

  • Use writing effectively—including current modes and evolving techniques and technologies—to explore subject matter and to communicate;
  • Develop understanding of subject matter in relation to larger historical and/or cultural contexts, including multicultural contexts;
  • Make connections between theory and practice. Students apply theory to understand texts, solve problems, and teach effectively. Students generalize from experiences with texts, communication situations, and teaching situations;
  • Develop skills of creative and/or critical thinking.

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review
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.

Professional Licensure (If applicable)
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 Creative Writing program does not lead to professional licensure.

Gainful Employment (If applicable)     
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 Creative Writing program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.