Find Your Voice and Become a Writer with a Creative Writing
For many people, writing professionally and becoming a published
author is a dream. At Carlow, our Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in
Creative Writing program makes that dream possible.
Designed with convenience in mind, this MFA degree program
balances the flexibility students need to juggle life's obligations
with the literary experiences and mentorships that help each
student find their individual voice. You'll elevate your ability to
tell compelling stories and explore artistic technique while
collaborating via postal mail and email with renowned faculty.
You'll build your own connections with peers in the writing
community, and you'll graduate with an MFA degree in Creative
Writing that has prepared you to become a published writer.
Ready to take the next step and further your education at Carlow
University? Apply for free
What You'll Learn
One of the most valuable features of the program is its
apprenticeship focus. Throughout the course of study, students work
under the guidance of masters in the field: excellent writers who
have stature within the writing community and significant
publication credentials, are actively involved in their own art,
and are concerned and conscientious teachers.
Concentrations are offered in fiction, poetry, and creative
nonfiction, giving students the opportunity to refine and explore
their writing in the genre that most interests them and aligns with
their creative goals. The culmination of the students' experiences
at Carlow is the production of a manuscript of publishable quality
in their desired concentration.
“Carlow University’s MFA program is small enough to enhance personal development, but big enough to change your life.”
– Tess Barry, Alumni and Finalist for the Manchester Poetry Prize
A Low-Residency MFA Program
Students primarily complete the program at the time and
location that works for them (with the exception of four 11-day
residency sessions), collaborating remotely via postal mail and
email with faculty and peers.
Interested in learning more about Carlow's MFA in Creative
Writing program? Request more
Residency Experiences in Pittsburgh and Dublin, Ireland
Each year, students complete two residencies. In January,
students spend 11 days in Pittsburgh, a city known for its
world-class teaching and research institutes. In June, students
experience the magnificent setting and rich literary tradition of
Ireland during an 11-day residency at Trinity College Dublin.
The goal of these residencies is to give students an experience
that avoids the restriction of any one "school" or aesthetic. By
engaging with faculty who hold a range of experience and scheduling
a variety of seminar/course topics each semester, students enjoy a
more enriching experience that considers multiple approaches to the
Learn more about the MFA Creative Writing experience of
studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland.
Distinguished U.S. and International Creative Writing
Every student in Carlow's MFA in Creative Writing program works
under the guidance of award-winning American and Irish writers.
Below is a selection of just a few of the distinguished writers you
will work with when you enroll in the program.
Joseph Bathanti (US) Fiction
Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in
Boone, NC | Former Poet Laureat of North Carolina (2012-14) |
Author, The Life of the World to Come (University of South
Carolina Press, 2014) | Winner, 2001 Carolina Novel Award | Winner,
2006 Spokane Prize
Brian Leyden (Ireland) Nonfiction
Author, Bestselling Memoir, The Home Place (New
Island, 2002) | Co-Writer of Feature Film, Black
Ice (2013) | Winner, Norman Mailer Writers Colony
Scholarship (USA) | Winner, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
(BAI), Sound and Vision Award (2014)
Jean O'Brien (Ireland) Poetry
Author, Fish on a Bicycle: New and Selected
Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2016) | Named Highly Commended for
The Forward Poetry Prize (2014) | Poem "Merman", Winner,
Fish Award (2008) | Poem "Merman", Winner, Arvon
International Award (2010)
the full list of Carlow's creative writing faculty in the
United States and in Ireland.
"This program changed my life. Carlow
is where I learned what a strong, supportive writing community is
like. It's where I learned the true meaning of 'misneach'
(courage), where I made the most amazing friends, and where I have
truly found my voice. I'm grateful for every moment." -- Ashley Ensminger
MFA - Creative Writing Courses
The bulk of the learning experience in Carlow's MFA in Creative
Writing program centers around practicum rather than creative
writing classes. However, there are structured elements to the
program and optional courses that students may consider.
MFA Curriculum Examples
Students are advised to dedicate a minimum of 25 hours per week
to carrying out the writing plan designed with their mentor.
Through this writing plan, students will submit work to their
mentors at regular intervals throughout the semester. Depending
upon the student's concentration, they may submit works of poetry,
fiction, or creative nonfiction for review, critique, and
collaborative feedback. Students and mentors are expected to
complete a minimum of four exchanges, and are encouraged to keep a
log of those exchanges.
During the final semester of the program, students produce a
book-length manuscript of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction
(depending upon their chosen area of concentration). The manuscript
should be of publishable quality and establishes the author's
understanding of and mastery of the elements of craft within their
MFA Admissions Requirements
There is no need to wait for the next term. Admission to the MFA
in Creative Writing program is offered on a rolling basis, meaning
you can apply any time of the year.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a preferred GPA of
3.0 or higher, and must be able to attend the two-week-long
residencies in Pittsburgh and in Ireland as scheduled during the
program. Required application materials include:
- Two essays, typed and double-spaced
- Essay 1: Self-assessment of writing ability
- Essay 2: Critical response to a substantive piece of
- Text submission, indicative of concentration area: 10 poems or
25 pages of fiction or 25 pages of creative non-fiction
- Note: No GRE or GMAT is required for
Ready to take the next step? Apply now at
The Carlow University MFA in Creative Writing Program offers students an apprenticeship with masters in the field: excellent writers who have stature within the writing community and significant publication credentials, are actively involved in their own art, and are concerned and conscientious teachers.
If you'd like to learn more about our MFA in Creative Writing, let us know!