MFA in Creative Writing

Degree Granted
Degree Level
Brooklyn, Online

Prepare yourself for today’s dynamic literary world by working in multiple literary genres—and by making vital literary and professional connections.

Why Earn Your MFA in Creative Writing?

Our unique (actually unique!) curriculum will prepare you for today’s dynamic literary world by requiring in-depth practice across genres. Our faculty members include award-winning poets, novelists, and writers of short fiction and creative nonfiction. Our small class sizes ensure that faculty members work closely with each student. And our events program and online presence engage students in the extraordinarily open-ended possibilities of contemporary online writing.

Our program is designed so students experience multiple genres and experiment with hybrid literary forms. Our aim is to offer a full immersion in what we call “literature in motion”—in the boundary-fluid nature of literary production. The workshop experience helps students gain confidence and acquire mastery in more than one genre, and our literature courses expose students to works from a variety of literary traditions.

I obtained my MFA in Creative Writing from Adelphi University, where I studied fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Because I was able to learn from experts in all different genres, I became a multi-faceted writer with no limitations on what I was able to create.

Alexa Kober, MFA ’20 author of the new children's book Dalli: The Dog With the Alligator Tail

MFA in Creative Writing to Become Low-Residency Program in Fall 2023

Adelphi University will offer the MFA in Creative Writing as a low-residency program, effective Fall 2023. The low-residency MFA in Creative Writing will combine online and campus-based instruction at Adelphi’s Brooklyn Center.

What Are the Benefits of the Low-Residency MFA?

Adelphi’s low-residency Creative Writing MFA is a two-year (39-credit) multi-genre program based out of Adelphi’s Brooklyn Center, located on the custom-built, modern campus of St. Francis College (SFC) at 179 Livingston Street. The program is ideal if you’re seeking multi-genre graduate coursework to study and write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and other emerging genres.

Our low-residency program is a blend of distance learning and on-campus learning—a very appealing option for working professionals who want to keep working while going back to school.

This program provides the rigors of a graduate education while you take the majority of courses online, work one-on-one with our esteemed faculty, and create your own book-length manuscripts. Annually, our low-residency MFA program meets in person for Manhattan Week, an in-person intensive of coursework, workshopping, literary programming, and networking.

During Manhattan Week, which takes place for five days at the end of August, students meet with the core Creative Writing faculty and take Centerpiece Classes with a distinguished writer-in-residence, and meet with New York-based literary and publishing professionals.

Our faculty is composed of award-winning poets, novelists, and multi-genre writers whose goal is to guide MFA students toward a book-length manuscript.

Our program currently features our award-winning core Creative Writing faculty: Jan-Henry Gray, Katherine Hill, Maya Marshall, and Igor Webb. They are joined every year with a rotating roster of distinguished writers-in-residency as well as visiting guests from the literary and publishing world.

Students hone their literary craft in workshops and one-on-one mentorships; study the literatures of the world with our faculty; and begin to actively prepare themselves for various careers in creative writing, literature, publishing and beyond. Each step of the way, the program aims to prepare students for the life of a working writer, especially as they navigate today’s vibrant and shifting literary landscape.

I came to Adelphi for my MFA in Creative Writing because even though I’d been working as a journalist before I joined the program, I wanted to learn the art of storytelling from a different perspective. I’m happy to say the program has made me a more confident storyteller.

Nii Akrofi Smart-Abbey, MFA ’20

Where Have Our MFA Graduates’ Works Been Published?

At Adelphi, helping our students succeed is at the foundation of everything we do. Our MFA program alone has guided many students in honing their writing skills so that they can perhaps become professional poets, novelists, or essayists, or maybe even write a novel while working at another job. Here are just a few of our MFA graduates who have recently published in a variety of formats:

Clara Burghelea, MFA ‘20

Clara Burghelea, MFA ‘20, had her poetry collection The Flavor of The Other published in 2020 with Dos Madres Press. The Romanian-born poet also is the review editor of Ezra, an online journal of translation.

Danielle Barnhart, MFA’15, and Iris Mahan, MFA ’14

Danielle Barnhart, MFA’15, and Iris Mahan, MFA ’14, edited Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism (O/R Books, 2018), a poetry collection that counts Adelphi’s own Jacqueline Jones LaMon, JD, among the contributors. Barnardt and Mahan also cofounded the New York-based literary community, Village of Crickets.

Choya Randolph, MFA ’18

Choya Randolph, MFA ’18, cofounded The Blunt Space “the first, black-owned, nonprofit advocacy media hub/publication of its kind … dedicated to artists who use their talent to advocate social justice for marginalized groups and cultures.” A former adjunct faculty at Adelphi, she is also social media specialist at Chapters Health System.

Nii Akrofi Smart-Abbey, MFA ’20

Nii Akrofi Smart-Abbey, MFA ’20a native of Ghana, launched “Africa Talk Podcast” in 2022 as a magazine-style show featuring news and interviews with guests.

Benny Sisson, MFA ’20

Benny Sisson, MFA ’20published American Lake, a poetry collection, in June 2022 from the Ghost City Press Summer Micro-Chapbook Series and is working on a young adult novel about a teenager who comes out as transgender.

Small groups of students, working together with great writers and published authors, create an ideal atmosphere for artists to thrive, grow and find their own voices.

Igor Webb, PhD Professor, MFA in Creative Writing Program

Our Distinguished Faculty

  • Marcos Gonsalez’s Memoir Won Rave ReviewsPedro’s Theory: Reimagining the Promised Land, a memoir by Marcos Gonsalez, PhD, about growing up Latino in rural America, got rave reviews from The New York Times.
  • Igor Webb, PhD published Buster Brown’s America, a collection of essays exploring literature and the pandemic, in 2021.
  • Also among the young cohort of writers teaching the MFA in Creative Writing, Katherine Hill has published two novels, A Short Move (2020) and The Violet Hour (2013), and mentors high school girls interested in writing via Girls Write Now.
  • Maya Marshall, our newest MFA faculty member, is the author of the poetry collection All the Blood Involved in Love (2022) and the chapbook Secondhand (2016). Her poem “Little Black Pearl” is to be published in Prose to the People: A Celebration of Black Bookstores (2024, Penguin Random House).

Program Info

Application Requirements and Deadlines

The priority application deadline for Fall admission is January 15. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a space-available basis.

Applicants should submit the following:

  • Online application form and $60 fee
  • Two letters of reference from people familiar with your writing
  • Final transcript stating Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four-year institution
  • Official Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Personal statement: Tell us something about your writing life and what you hope to accomplish during the program. Tell us what you have read, are now reading and what you intend to read. Describe your current literary interests, your current or future challenges, and your literary goals. Please limit your essay to 1,000 words.
  • Manuscript in one genre only:
    • Poetry: 10–15 pages (approximately a dozen poems)
    • Fiction: Maximum of 30 pages, double-spaced, which can consist of one or more stories or part of a novel. If an excerpt from a longer work is submitted, please include a one-paragraph description of the work as a whole.
    • Creative non-fiction: Maximum of 30 pages, double-spaced, which can consist of one or more pieces or part of a longer work. If an excerpt from a longer work is submitted, please include a one-paragraph description of the work as a whole.

Awards & Recognition

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