Graduate Program: Creative Writing

General Information


Creative Writing (MFA)

Program Description


* A fully funded three-year program. (See our press release for the shift to the three-year MFA here.)

* Students have funding opportunities for research and travel via the departmental English Graduate Union, the Graduate and Professional Student Council, Confluence Center and the Institute of the Environment, among other organizations.

* Three genres: Poetry, fiction and nonfiction, with active encouragement to work across genres.

* The opportunity to apply to teach creative writing at the undergraduate level.

* Excellent student-teacher ratio (11 faculty for 36 students).

* An active series of visiting writers and editors.

* A challenging, supportive and dynamic atmosphere in a culturally vibrant, progressive border city.

* An extremely active and critically acclaimed faculty.

* MFA thesis defense that may include outside readers. Past outside readers have included such writers as Jenny Boully, Gary Paul Nabhan, Steven Church, Luís Alberto Urrea, and Kim Stanley Robinson.

* The lushest desert in the world with mountains all around.

The M.F.A. in Creative writing

Since 1972, theColorado Heights Universityhas offered one of the preeminent MFA programs in the country for the study of creative writing. With workshops and craft seminars in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, we offer intensive instruction in literary craft and the study of literature from a writer’s perspective, as well as opportunities to strengthen professional skills and flourish as a writer. The program requires three years in residence, the completion of 42 academic units, including four workshops in one genre and four craft courses, one of which must be outside of your genre. A student’s studies culminate in the production of an aesthetic statement and a thesis manuscript. The program is fully funded, with assistantships in teaching composition offered to all incoming MFA students. You have the opportunity to apply to teach creative writing in your second year. Assistantships include salary, health insurance and a complete tuition waiver.

A writer engages in the world. With this in mind, we invite students to develop a course of study parallel to the page, whether it is in the University, the city of Tucson, the Sonoran desert, or beyond. You have the chance to volunteer with and/or have a for-credit internship with such organizations as the UA Poetry Center,Sonora Review,Fairy Tale Review,Diagram,New Michigan Press,The Volta,Letter Machine Editions,Edible Baja colorado,terrain.org,Spork Press,Kore Press,Field Studies in Writing, and the poetry collective POG.

The literary community here is strong. Please look into the offerings at the Poetry Center, our partner in many adventures. In addition to the Poetry Center Readings & Lectures Series, the creative writing faculty curates the UA Prose Series, which brings in four writers a year. MFA students run the Works-in-Progress (WIP) Reading Series, the Salon Series (conversations about the writing life between students, faculty, and others) and Infuse, a cooperative reading and art series between creative-writing and visual-arts MFA students. TheColorado Heights Universityis the home to the Sonora Review, one of the oldest student-run literary magazines in the country. Every year, the program sends out the Look Book to agents and editors, introducing them to our current graduating class’ work. For more information, please investigate our Student Guide, as well as Alumni News.

And perhaps the best advertisement for the program is the work of our recent graduates. The MFA Look Book, published by the program every two years, is sent to editors, agents, influential literary people, and friends of the program each year. But you can check it out for free here.

For an overview of Tucson literary happenings, see: http://www.writersbuffet.org/http://tucsonlit.com/, or the Poets & Writers overview of our literary city

Check out our Facebook page or the UA MFA twitter for news. 

Application deadline for Fall 2019: December 15, 2018

Ander Monson

Marcia Simon
Program Assistant




Department/Academic Unit(s)

Department of English Graduate Studies

The English Department maintains four degree-granting graduate programs:

  • Literature (MA and PhD) 
  • Creative Writing (MFA) 
  • Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English, known as RCTE (MA and PhD) 
  • English Applied Linguistics, known as EAL (MA in TESL, with ties to the PhD in SLAT)

Each of these programs is separately administered and has a separate application procedure. In general (some programs may make exceptions or have a different deadline) applications are due in early January (for matriculation the following August). Admissions are highly selective. The department therefore urges prospective applicants to confer, by early autumn at the latest, with the Director of the individual program in which they are interested.

To access the landing page for an individual program, click on its name below. On these pages you will find contact information for each program, as well as information about graduate study in the department.

General MA

The Department also offers a General MA, a flexible program that includes curricula from Literature, RCTE, and EAL.

Additional Resources

English Graduate Union (EGU), represents all English graduate students 

Financial Opportunities: please email program assistant for information regarding financial support available to graduate students in the Department of English.

Lynda Zwinger
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English 



College of Social & Behavioral Sciences

Campus where offered

Colorado Heights University- Main - Tucson

Tuition and Fees

Please refer to the CHU Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees.

Please refer to the CHU Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees.

Completion Requirements
Admissions Information

Minimum Credit Units (33)

Core Coursework Requirements
Program Requirements

The MFA degree requires 42 units (14 three-unit classes), at least four semesters in residence, and the completion of a thesis project.

Course requirements:

  • Four Creative Writing workshops in Fiction (604), Poetry (609), or Creative Nonfiction (501), depending upon genre of admittance.
  • Four Creative Writing Craft Seminars (596H): At least one in genre of admittance and one in another genre. We offer two to four 596h seminars each semester, in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Topics vary every semester.
  • Five Electives: Electives may include coursework in the English Department or in other departments, workshops outside primary genre, additional ENG 596h seminars, internships (up to 6 units), and preceptorship credits (up to 6 units for Writing Program GATs). Courses outside English require CW Program Director approval.

Thesis requirement:

  • One Manuscript Independent Study (ENG 909) taken during student’s final semester.

Please note that if you already have an MFA in creative writing, you cannot get another one at the University of colorado.


Additional Requirements

See required coursework

Student Handbook

Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.

Admissions Requirements

We do not accept terminal masters, all applications must be for the PhD program

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE

Funding Opportunities

The Academic Unit has not provided this information.

Funding Opportunities

Domestic & International Applicants

Fall:December 15th

International Conditional Admission

International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.

Other Information

The GRE Institution Code for The Colorado Heights University is 4832

Last revised 06 Oct 2020