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Great Writers, Great Readings: Colson Whitehead, Natasha Trethewey, John McPhee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Karen Russell, Susan Orlean, Claudia Rankine, Pamela Paul, Jeffrey K. Eugenides, Amy Herzog, Philip Levine, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Annie Baker, Colum McCann, Vivian Gornick,  Alice McDermott, David Lindsay-Abaire, Stephen Dunn, Amy Hempel, Christopher Durang, Jonathan Letham, Lynn Nottage, Terrance Hayes, Richard Greenberg, Sarah Ruhl, Haruki Murakami, Donald Margulies, Craig Lucas, Jonathan Franzen...

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The Writer and the World

Hofstra University’s MFA in Creative Writing is home to a vibrant community of writers. They come to our program from as close as Long Island and from as far away as Angola, China, Hungary, Italy, Nigeria, and South Korea. At the heart of our program are workshops, craft courses, and literature seminars led by a distinguished faculty of actively publishing writers of international reputation. We believe in the power of language to embody everything human and that an empathic imagination can and must go where it pleases. With close mentorship, students discover their authentic voice and come to understand their place in the world as literary artists. Hofstra’s campus is in a nationally registered arboretum just 25 miles from New York City, the literary and publishing capital of the world.

Our faculty includes:

  • Poet Phillis Levin, a recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, a Fulbright Scholar Award, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her fifth collection of poetry, Mr. Memory & Other Poems, was published by Penguin in March 2016.
  • Novelist and biographer Julia Markus, recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. She received acclaim from the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Book Review for her fall 2015 biography Lady Byron and Her Daughters. Her books include Uncle, winner of the Houghton Mifflin Literary Award, and Dared And Done: The Marriage Of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.
  • Nonfiction writer Kelly McMasters, author of Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town, which was nominated for both a Pushcart Prize and an Orion Book Award. She was the co-editor of the 2017 essay collection This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home.
  • And novelist Martha McPhee, recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a nominee for a National Book Award. Her novels include An Elegant Woman, Bright Angel Time, Gorgeous Lies, L'America, and Dear Money. 

Serving on the faculty of the new MFA in Creative Writing for Writers of Spanish are

  • Miguel-Angel Zapata, anthologist, literary theorist and prolific poet, whose works include the 2015 anthologies Hoy dia es otro mundo (Today is Another World) and La nota 13 (Note 13)
  • Álvaro Enrigue, author of five novels – among them the acclaimed Sudden Death, first published in Spain as Muerte Súbita in 2013;

    The Hofstra Master of Fine Arts Program is perhaps the largest single investment of time and resources you will ever make in your writing career. We are committed to making that investment a good one and to working with you individually as well as in small group seminars to make sure you get as much out of our program as possible. Our approach is to allow you the flexibility you need to grow as a writer.

    Our program offers concentrations in

    • fiction
    • poetry
    • creative nonfiction
    • and dramatic writing

    Each student must select a primary medium for her or his capstone work, the Master of Fine Arts project or thesis), but students are welcome to pursue course work in multiple genres. Each Fall and Spring, we offer as many as six classes for MFA students, including workshops, craft classes and literature classes.

    The heart of the Hofstra Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program is the workshop, intimate 2-hour weekly roundtables where students present and critique their work under the guidance of the course instructor. Workshops are complemented by craft classes (seminars focused on single aspects or techniques of craft) and carefully selected literature classes.

    The MFA program is part of the Hofstra University Department of English, a vital and diverse academic community of active and publishing literary scholars, engaged and talented professionals in our Publishing Studies program, and a notable Creative Writing faculty including

    • poets
    • memoirists
    • short and long fiction writers
    • writers for stage and screen
    • and specialists in emerging media.

    Degree work may be completed in a two- or three-year timeframe. Most of our classes, workshops, and readings are scheduled from 4:30-8:20 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

    Hempstead is located just 25 miles from New York City, in close proximity to some of the world’s greatest museums, libraries, theaters, cultural centers, and concert halls. The location of the University allows students to take advantage of the extraordinary vitality of the literary and publishing world – readings and talks galore in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, as well as those taking place at Hofstra.


    The creative writing MFA curriculum is 36 credits or 12 3-credit courses:

    Creative Writing, 6 courses

    • 4 courses in (repeatable) CRWR workshops
    • 1 course in a CRWR craft course
    • 1 course in CRWR elective: workshop or craft literature,
    • 3 courses, ENGL 200-level program elective,
    • 1 course, craft, literature, or professional seminar, as offered
    • MFA Project, 2 courses, in a student’s final two terms

    [For more information on courses and a listing of current and upcoming course offerings, contact the Director.]

    Taking three classes a term, a student would complete the curriculum in two years. Typically, students take either 2 or three classes and either matriculate for a fifth term or complete their requirements with Summer session classes.

    Fellowships for Continuing Students

    At the close of their second semester, students are invited to apply for a limited number of professional fellowships supported by the program. These include Peer Teaching Fellowships and one of more Publishing Fellowships. Fellowships offer valuable professional and classroom experience. In addition, the fellowships carry a tuition remission of at least $2,000.

    [By longstanding University policy, Hofstra does not employ “graduate assistants” (GAs, TAs) as classroom instructors. For this reason, Master of Fine Arts students are not offered undergraduate teaching as part of their program.]

    Outside the Classroom

    Hofstra and the New York metropolitan area are the perfect place to grow as a writer. The Hofstra campus ius a major cultural hub on Long Island, and the campus welcomes frequent guests as diverse as Ralph Nader and Salman Rushdie.

    Even closer to home, the English Department annually hosts the Great Writers, Great Readings series. Some of the world-class writers who have come to read and talk to our students include Jhumpa Lahiri, Jennifer Egan, W. S. Merwin, Louise Gluck, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jean Valentine, John McPhee, Jonathan Franzen, Anne Beattie, Philip Levine, Lori Moore, Karen Russell, Gerald Stern, Frank Bidart, Emily St. John Mandel, Terrance Hayes, Mark Strand, Tom Sleigh, Annie Baker, Richard Greenberg, Lynn Nottage, Sarah Ruhl, Susan Orlean, and many more. The series is designed to give students exposure to a variety of voices and processes and career trajectories in order to demystify the writer’s life as well as the publication process. Attendance at all readings and events organized by the program is considered a degree requirement.


    For Spring, our priority deadline for scholarship consideration is January 1.

    For Fall, our priority deadline is February 15. Applications received after this date will be considered on a space available basis. If you wish to be considered for any of our grants and fellowships, preference is given to applicants who apply before February 1


    The most important parts of your application are your personal statement and your writing sample.

    The writing sample, whatever the genre, should pull us in, hook us, and hold us tight until the last words of the last page. Less is more: 8-10 poems, no more than 15 pages, up to 20 pages of fiction or non-fiction, or a short play.  Above all else, we are looking for talent.

    The personal statement should tell us about you and your literary interests, why you want to come to our program, what you have done before coming to us, and where you hope to go from here.  We appreciate statements that are honest and revealing of the unique qualities of a particular candidate. You have 500 words to tell us about yourself, why you write, and why you wish to come to Hofstra.


    Our coursework schedule is designed for students who work during the day, and our three-year program allows for a more graduated schedule should you need it.
    We have a dedicated staff ready to help with questions about federal loans and alternatives. For more information on financial aid, visit this page.


    If you are interested in the Hofstra Master of Fine Arts program we invite you to attend one of our program events – an open house, an installment of Great Writers, Great Readings, or another social gathering. These provide opportunities to meet faculty and current students and ask questions that will help you understand what we’re all about. What are the workshops like? Which guest writers are on the schedule to visit and who has been to campus previously? Who are the current students? Can I take more time to complete my degree if I need it? These questions and more will be generously considered and answered by faculty and students alike.

    If you cannot come to one of our events, visiting our website and communicating with our faculty are also good resources. If you are accepted to the program and want to learn more, don’t hesitate to be in touch. We will speak with you and be sure to get your questions answered and also connect you with current students.

    For a full list of Graduate Admission events and open houses, please visit hofstra.edu/gradevent. To browse our program-specific events, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and visit our Great Writers, Great Readings page.

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If you have questions, we'd love to hear from you: English[at]hofstra.edu

MFA in Creative Writing Updates
Cartoon about the Master of Fine Arts - Dear Mom and Dad, thanks for the happy childhood. You've destroyed any chance I had of becoming a writer.

Great Writers, Great Readings: Colson Whitehead, Natasha Trethewey, John McPhee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Karen Russell, Susan Orlean, Claudia Rankine, Pamela Paul, Jeffrey K. Eugenides, Amy Herzog, Philip Levine, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Annie Baker, Colum McCann, Vivian Gornick,  Alice McDermott, David Lindsay-Abaire, Stephen Dunn, Amy Hempel, Christopher Durang, Jonathan Letham, Lynn Nottage, Terrance Hayes, Richard Greenberg, Sarah Ruhl, Haruki Murakami, Donald Margulies, Craig Lucas, Jonathan Franzen...