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CostHelper > Schools & Job Training  > MFA in Creative Writing

MFA in Creative Writing Cost

How Much Does an MFA in Creative Writing Cost?

 average costMedium: MAs Average $13,800 a year at Public Universities; $36,300 at Private Universities. 
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Writers choose to pursue Master of Fine Art degrees for a variety of reasons from personal enrichment to a desire to teach at the college level. The types of MFA programs are just as varied. Typically it takes two to three years to earn a Master's of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at a traditional residency program. Some schools have low-residency programs where students attend classes on campus for a week or two each year and accomplish all other work by computer.

Typical costs:

  • Tuition and fees for a master's degree program average $6,900 a semester at public universities and $18,150 a semester at private universities, according to the National Center for Education Services[1] . A two-year master's degree program would run $27,600-$72,600; a three-year program would be $41,300-$108,900.
  • lists the top (traditional residency) graduate programs in creative writing[2] , starting with Boston University[3] , which has tuition and fees of about $36,000 for an intensive one-year MFA program. In comparison, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks[4] , total tuition and fees for the three-year MFA runs $13,000 for Alaska residents and $26,500 for non-residents.
  • Costs for two-year low-residency MFA programs average about $20,000-$30,000, usually including living expenses for the short time spent on campus, but prices vary. Murray State University in Kentucky[5] offers this primarily work-at-home MFA program for state residents at $12,000 for four semesters and $32,500 for nonresidents. Some of these programs hold their residency workshops (7-14 days each year) in Europe, providing a chance to briefly study aboard (airfare and other travel expenses are not included in the tuition).
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What should be included:
  • Graduation typically requires a manuscript as a thesis project, sometimes with a public reading. Earning an MFA in creative writing provides the time and guidance to work on the craft of writing, and depending on the program, qualifies graduates to teach at the college level.
  • gives an overview[6] .
Additional costs:
  • Books and other supplies can average $300-$1,000 or more, depending on the program.
  • Health insurance is included in the tuition cost for some (traditional residency) schools, but can be an additional $800-$1,900 a year.
  • Living expenses vary by location. Often, tuition for the low-residency programs includes the living costs for the 7-14-day workshops held on campus each year. Check individual school websites for estimated local costs.
  • Admission to a creative writing MFA program typically requires writing samples and letters of recommendation, preferably from writing instructors. Some schools also review scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)[7] , at $140.
  • Many schools offer assistantships, which provide a stipend and sometimes reduced tuitions costs in exchange for teaching and other duties. In 2007-08, the creative writing MFA program at New Mexico State University offered a $15,500 assistantship stipend.
Shopping for an mfa in creative writing:
  • When selecting a creative writing MFA program, check out the faculty, visiting writers, and the program's emphasis (writing or reading literature). Spaulding University provides questions to ask when choosing an MFA program.
  • The Association of Writers and Writing programs lists the hallmarks of a successful graduate program in creative writing[8] and also hosts a searchable database of writing schools and degrees[9] .
  • The gives detailed state-by-state information about traditional residency MFA schools[10] and low-residency creative writing MFA programs[11] .
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