creative writing graphic with text: MFA in Creative Writing

Oregon State University's high residency MFA program in Corvallis has a long tradition of excellence in producing and teaching creative writing, going all the way back to the 1950s when the future distinguished novelist William Kittredge was a student here, and Bernard Malamud won a National Book Award while teaching in the English Department.

This is a distinguished past, but our present is even more remarkable.

Creative Writing has never been more vital or successful at OSU than it is right now, with a nationally competitive pool of applicants in fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction, full funding for all our students through GTA and GRA positions, with full tuition waiver, a vibrant Visiting Writers Series.

Program Highlights

Founded in 2002, the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing has produced a superlative track record, bringing regional and national attention to OSU.

  • The faculty have published more than 40 books, several of which have been New York Times and New Yorker Notable Books, and have received prestigious prizes, such as the National Jewish Book Award, the award for Best Poetry of the Year from the Poetry Foundation, and 6 Oregon Book Awards. Their work appears regularly in top national magazines such as The Paris Review, Poetry, McSweeney’s, and The New Yorker, and in anthologies such as Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart PrizeBest of the Small Presses. The faculty’s many national prizes for writing, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Hemingway Short Story Award, the John Ciardi Prize, and the Whiting Award are complemented by a commitment to teaching and one-on-one mentorship. 
  • Our graduate students come to us from top-ranked universities all over the country, competing for 6 seats in fiction, 4 in poetry, and 4 in nonfiction.
  • All accepted students are fully funded through Graduate Teaching or Research Assistantships, tuition waivers, and stipends to defray half of student fees. We submit our top candidates for prestigious university-wide fellowships and scholarships.
  • In addition to teaching courses in composition, most GTAs have the opportunity to teach an introductory creative writing course during their second year.
  • Our vibrant Visiting Writers Series brings 4-5 nationally known writers and poets to campus each year. A Literary Northwest series celebrates the burgeoning literary scene in the Willamette Valley and the Northwest. The biennial EdFest brings in a panel of editors, publishers, agents, and writers to address a range of topics related to professional development and literary citizenship.
  • We also offer internships in literary editing, publishing, arts administration, and alternative pedagogies (e.g., teaching in youth correctional facilities) to name just a few.
  • In 2011, thanks to the generosity of OSU alumni Patrick and Vicki Stone, the biennial Stone Award in Lifetime Literary Achievement was established – one of the nation’s most generous literary prizes. Joyce Carol Oates was the inaugural recipient of the award in 2012, followed by Tobias Wolff in 2014 and Rita Dove in 2016.

Alumni Accomplishments

Our program has already begun to produce graduates with national publications, including Oregon Book Award-winning short story writer Scott Nadelson, essayist and poet Charles Goodrich, novelist and fly-fishing journalist John Larison, novelist Charity Shumway, and Jesse Donaldson. Nia Stephens, who graduated in 2005, has signed to publish a series of six novels for young adult African American readers.

If you are interested in applying for our MFA program, please see the MFA Application Guidelines.