MFA in Creative Writing

Priority application deadline December 10th. Final application deadline January 31st. 

Amplify your creative practice, tell your story, empower fellow writers

The Saint Mary's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program offers students a campus environment that feels like a writing retreat within the San Francisco Bay Area. We have an award-winning creative writing faculty that includes Marilyn Abildskov, Brenda Hillman, Lysley Tenorio and Matthew Zapruder, as well a diverse group of Visiting Writers who work closely with students. Faculty and staff support students as artists and as individuals, guiding their creative work and their development as emerging writers.

The two-year MFA program at Saint Mary's combines a studio writing workshop component with an analytical component, offering concentrations in creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. We welcome all styles of writing, and we emphasize a craft-oriented approach. A third year in an additional genre is optional with application. Students can also opt to enroll in the fifth semester Manuscript Tutorial, a semester long course offering 1:1 instruction in the development of a book-length work. Manuscript Tutorial also provides a general overview of publishing, such as guidance with query letters, pitches, poetry publishing overview, and fellowship applications.

Our faculty and community members are dedicated to making the writing workshop a place where all participants are respected, and where writers can take necessary artistic risks, make mistakes, and learn from them in a supportive environment. We are committed to maintaining an inclusive community built upon diversity and multiculturalism. Our community believes that Black Lives Matter. The students who make up our program come from all backgrounds, different states, and different countries. 

Each entering student receives partial funding and applicants can apply for teaching fellowships. The program also offers editorial assistantships and paid staff positions for the literary journal Mary: A Journal of New WritingWe offer community partnership fellowships and paid internships with Lambda Literary, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit for writers; Kearny Street Workshop, an arts nonprofit that celebrates Asian and Asian Pacific Islander writers; as well as Hedgebrook, an organization that supports women and nonbinary writers authoring change.

Priority deadline for admissions is December 10th (fee waiver included with inquiry) and the final application deadline is January 31st. Please sign up for an application workshop or view our Application 101 tutorial on applying to MFA in Creative Writing programs below.

Please contact us for information or follow us @smcmfa to hear about our upcoming events. 


Life After the MFA at Saint Mary's: Alumni jobs and career paths

Learn about what our students do after graduation through our MFA in Creative Writing alumni network. Many alumni have gone on to to publish books and hold successful careers in editing, teaching, arts administration, professional writing, and many more.

Alumni 2015 survey

Sample Job Titles

  • Vice Principal
  • English & Humanities Teacher, k-12
  • Creative Writing Insturctor, Higher Ed
  • Director of Content
  • Copywriter
  • Creative Director
  • Curriculum Developer
  • Publicist
  • Publisher
  • Novelist
  • Deputy Director, Nonprofit
  • Grant Writer
  • Writing Center Coordinator
  • Senior Editor
  • Story Editor
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Bookseller
  • Program Coordinator


These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through alumni surveys.