Master of Fine Arts

"BG's creative writing program sets itself apart because the faculty is committed to supporting the unique voice and talents of each individual writer. It's not a factory churning out copies. The program fosters personal and artistic growth, and each member of the faculty and staff works diligently to provide the tools needed for that maturation. In addition, the teaching experience gained goes a long way, both in the classroom, and for the graduated student in the 'real world.'"

-Megan Ayers, MFA 2009

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at BGSU is widely recognized as one of the country’s most prestigious. For more than fifty years, graduates of BGSU’s Program in Creative Writing have contributed to contemporary literary culture and published hundreds of books.

The MFA in Creative Writing program gives a comprehensive and rigorous education in the professional writing, editing, and marketing of poetry and fiction. Artistic development, craft knowledge, and professional presentation are guiding principles. The program is a composite of a total of 36 hours, consisting 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 does NOT require an electronic thesis; ours is paper-based. Why? See the article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, here.  

MFA APPLICANTS: MFA students will be expected to concentrate in either poetry or fiction and all application materials must be sent to the Graduate College.

The deadline for application submissions for Fall 2024 admission is January 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Apply here

CURRENT STUDENTS: See the link below for your roadmap to the MFA degree!

Roadmap to the MFA Degree

CURRENT STUDENTS: Going for more graduate work? Want a job? Time to write? Want to publish something? See the link below for the Careers Page!


A typical student's program consists of:

Required Courses:

  • Eng 6320 Writers' Workshop -  12 semester hours
  • Eng 6300 /6310 Techniques Course -  3 semester hours
  • Eng 7820 Advanced Writer's Workshop -  3 semester hours
  • Eng 6330 Editing the Mid-American Review -  3 semester hours
  • Eng 6370 Pedagogy of Creative Writing -  3 semester hours
  • Eng 6990 Thesis Research Hours -  6 semester hours

      TOTAL: 30 semester hours

Required Electives: 6 semester hours

GRAND TOTAL: 36 semester hours

Total hour requirements may be reduced for outstanding students who are able to apply credit from previous graduate work. However, approval for the transference of hours must happen prior to matriculation. In all cases, a student is required to take a minimum of thirty hours in residence with a minimum of one workshop in their major area per semester after being accepted into the Program.

In recognition of the value that interdisciplinary studies has for artistic development and intellectual enrichment, graduates may choose electives from a wide range of fields, such as philosophy, cultural studies, science, history, and art. Students must choose electives early in the program, and show a clear relationship between their electives and their specific goals as writers.

For detailed Graduate College requirements for preparing the thesis, click here.

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.

Mid-American Review is the literary publication of the Department of English and the Creative Writing Program at Bowling Green State University. 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 including 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 have published in MAR.

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. MFA students serve as assistant editors for MAR, providing them with valuable editorial and production experience.

MFA Reading Series

Poets and writers from all over the world have visited, read from their work, and interacted with writers in our programs. Follow the link to find the schedule.

Click here for further information and to submit an on-line application.

Please contact for more information.

Updated: 12/18/2023 01:22PM