MFA in Creative Writing

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we moved our instruction and in-person programming online. Register for a free event. Please consider a donation during these uncertain times and support our community of writers.

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 Visiting Writers, such as Cyrus Cassells, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Marie Mockett, and Chris Feliciano Arnold. Our faculty and staff support our students as artists and as individuals, guiding their creative work and their development as emerging writers.

Our two-year MFA program combines a studio writing workshop component with an analytical component, offering concentrations in creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. A third year in an additional genre is optional with application. Students can choose to stay on for a fifth semester and take English 405, Maunscript Tutorial, a semester long course offering 1:1 instruction in the development of a manscript length work. Manuscript Tutorial also provides a general overview of the publication market directed by the student's interest in consulation with their writing mentor, such as guidance with query letters, pitches, poetry publishing, and fellowship applications.

We welcome all styles of writing, and we emphasize a craft-oriented approach, acknowledging that writing is an ongoing process helped along by shared reading. 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.

Each entering student receives partial funding and applicants can apply for teaching fellowships. The program also offers editorial fellowships and staff stipends for the literary journal Mary: A Journal of New Writing.

Priority deadline for admissions is December 10th (fee waiver included with inquiry) and the final application deadline is January 31st.

We are committed to maintaining an inclusive community build upon diversity and multiculturalism in which all are valued. The students who make up our program come from all backgrounds, many different states, and also different countries. 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.


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

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.