MFA Creative Writing
Write boldly. Read thoughtfully.

» MFA in Creative Writing

The MFA in Creative Writing at Chapman University encourages students to write boldly, read thoughtfully and live vibrantly. Our students and our faculty are here to bring big ideas to life in words and deliver those words to the world.

Whether you’re interested in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting or a combination of genres, the MFA at Chapman University invites you to write better than you ever thought you could.

The exciting coursework ranges across literary and critical studies, creative writing, journalism, rhetoric and composition, digital humanities, creative and cultural industries, and linguistics. Our vibrant programs beyond the classroom include the John Fowles Center for Creative Writing, Tabula Poetica, the Chapman University-Orange High School Young Writers Workshop, and Pub(lishing) Crawl, all of which host events open to the public.

For further information on degree prerequisites, admission requirements, and a list of courses view the Graduate Course Catalog.

If you’re interested in applying to our MFA program or collaborating with our creative writing faculty or students, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to talk with you.

We welcome contributions to the MFA Memorial Fund, which honors MFA graduates Peggy Hesketh (author of Telling the Bees), Tracy Boone Swan (Fulbright scholar), and other writers we’ve lost too soon. Such contributions made in the memory of MFA alums will be used to support research, writing, and networking of current MFA students. Please note your memorial contribution in the online form.

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Why this MFA?

Your Writing Comes First
  • Various genre options for students, including Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Screenwriting, and Experimental Writing.
  • Each MFA student's degree program culminates in a book–length thesis project of distinction.
  • Our MFA alums find employment in related fields of writing, marketing, and teaching and are publishing their work in journals, magazines, and books.

Fellowships and Financial Aid

  • Six competitive fellowships (three each year) with full tuition waiver and a fellowship payment of $18,000, each renewable for a second year and requiring no work obligation — so you can put your writing first. Limited full-tuition scholarships are also available.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships and other jobs-oriented Graduate Assistantships for select students in the second year of study.
  • Financial aid often contains mainly student loans. You will receive your “financial aid package” from the Graduate Financial Aid Office after you have been admitted. Please contact their office directly with any questions at


Dynamic Visiting Writers:

  • Isabel Allende
  • Victoria Chang
  • Carolyn Forché
  • Karen Joy Fowler
  • Pico Iyer
  • Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Rebecca Skloot  

Well-published, award-winning faculty:

Admission Requirements and Deadlines


Apply now using the Online Application. All applicants must provide the following materials:

  • Official transcripts from ALL degree-granting (bachelor’s or master’s degrees) colleges and universities attended. An official transcript submitted in a sealed envelope which you have received from your college or university is acceptable.
  • An essay expressing your reasons for wanting to join the particular academic program to which you are applying.  What are your personal and career goals, and how will this particular degree from Chapman University help you reach those goals? Your essay should be double spaced, size 12 font and 1–2 pages in length.
  • Two letters of recommendation that speak to your academic preparation, intellectual ability, and aptitude for graduate study.
  • A portfolio of creative work. You should submit work that best represents your style and demonstrates your potential. The portfolio should include 20-30 pages of fiction or nonfiction, 10-15 pages of poetry, or the first 15 pages of a screenplay or stage play. Please adhere to these lengths. The purpose of the portfolio is to demonstrate your creative potential as an MFA student. Literature, rhetoric, and/or other types of courses will also be part of the degree.


Submit your application and all supporting documents online by the deadlines listed below. Applications received after these deadlines will be considered on a rolling basis as space is available.

  • For Fall Semester, including fellowship and scholarship consideration: February 1
  • For Spring Semester: November 1

Dual MA/MFA Degree

The innovative dual degree combines the MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in English by merging the practice and study of creative writing with in-depth literary and rhetorical scholarship in a three-year program. It is designed especially for students who intend to pursue a career in teaching English and creative writing at the university, community college, or secondary-school level.

Dual-degree students must be admitted to both the MA and MFA programs, be enrolled concurrently in both programs, and complete all requirements for each degree program, including both thesis requirements. For further information on degree prerequisites, admission requirements, and a list of courses, view the Graduate Course Catalog.

In addition to application materials required for the MFA, dual-degree applicants must submit a non-returnable critical essay of 12-15 pages that demonstrates critical skills and ability to discuss literary and theoretical texts.

Students already enrolled in either the MA or the MFA program who wish to switch to the dual-degree program must apply and be admitted to the other degree program before completing 27 credits.

Life in our Student Members' Creative Writing Programs

The MFA program brings together the widest array of genre options and aesthetic approaches of any creative writing program its size and offers competitive fellowships with a full tuition waiver and an $18,000 fellowship payment.

Current Student Resources

Our Graduate Assistant and Teaching Associates

Meg Boyles

Meg Boyles
MFA Program Assistant
Degree: MFA
Genre: Poetry

Meg is the poetry editor of the interdisciplinary literary journal, Anastamos. Her writing has appeared in The Cortland Review, Connotation Press, and B O D Y, among others.

Sierra Ellison

Sierra Ellison
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Degree: Dual
Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA

Sierra Ellison was a finalist in Sundance’s "Table Read My Screenplay" contest and writer of a nationally televised TV series, but her main goal is to publish fiction. She is currently working as a writer for a creative agency and has published articles online at: The Swedish Blog, To Your Health, and Health Calling. Beyond writing, she is very passionate about becoming a professor and currently teaches at California School of the Arts. 

Matt Goldman

Matthew Goldman
Graduate Research Assistant
Degree: Dual
Genre: Fiction and Non-Fiction

Matthew's post-MFA goal is to teach Creative Writing in a prison or rehabilitation center. He teaches Creative Non-Fiction at the Recovery Education Institute and mentors local high school students through the Orange High School Literacies Partnership at Chapman University.

Marco Randazzo

Marco Randazzo
MFA Program Assistant
Degree: Dual
Genre: Fiction

Marco comes to us from University of California, Irvine (UCI) and hopes to earn a PhD to teach at the university level.

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Jake VanWormer
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Degree: Dual
Genre(s): Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

A writer of genre fiction with a background in journalism and a taste for comic books. Jake's academic work tends to deal with the intersection of pop culture and literary culture.


M Said


Mariam Saïd
MFA Program Assistant
Degree: MFA
Genre: Fiction

Mariam is a former secondary school teacher from Portland, Oregon. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can be found binge-watching new series on Netflix, thinking about going on that hike, and trying to understand the appeal of carbonated water. Her short story "Narahatam Merawi" has been published in The Meridian Journal, and you can find her on Twitter @yemghani and Instagram @mariamsaidwhat


Allie Vernon

Allie Vernon
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Degree: Dual
Genre: Fiction

Allie pursues work in fiction most interested in gender performance and expectations of femininity and masculinity across broad contexts (religious, institutional, domestic, etc.), and her creative work has been published in journals such as AdSum and Calliope. Allie's scholarly interests include her role as Academic and Nonfiction Editor of Anastamos, as well as research relating to the theory of racial capitalism in literature and composition studies.


Contact Us

Anna Leahy, Ph.D
Director, MFA in Creative Writing

David Krausman
Graduate Programs Coordinator
(714) 516-7116

Sharnique Dow
Graduate Admission Counselor
(714) 997-6770

For additional admission information, please contact:
Office of Graduate Admission
888-CU-APPLY or (714) 997-6711