Creative Writing MFA Classes

Creative Writing MFA Classes

Marylhurst’s MFA in Creative Writing offers a unique graduate program flagged by nationally-recognized faculty and well-designed curriculum of the highest aesthetic caliber. The program encourages experimentation within and across writing forms and across artistic mediums, including comic arts, performance, and social practice art. As an apprentice writer, you will witness the program’s commitment to guiding principles that include racial equity, aesthetic inclusion, humility, variation, elasticity, and rigor – all evident throughout the curriculum’s workshops, seminars, readings and diverse faculty line-up.

This modern, new-age curriculum affords you the luxury of time to draft, revise and polish poems, stories, essays, memoirs, and translations as you further develop skills and successful methods in writing. Embrace the MFA curriculum’s intentional generosity of time and space in a low-residency format to create what you’d otherwise not have the time and space to make. Apprentice writers are expected to complete the MFA Creative Writing program with a polished manuscript in hand, or, at the least, a good portion of a manuscript completed. 


As part of the MFA graduate program, students will have the opportunity to focus their work within four genres, while working alongside a faculty mentor with complementary genre experience:



Cross Genre


MFA in Creative Writing Low-Residency Format


Residencies are hosted over 7-days in January and July each year. Each residency includes multiple forums for mentor faculty, apprentice writers, guest lecturers and influential voices within the literary community to unite as a solitary literary force:

  • Lectures:  Faculty, students and guests lecture on topics ranging from writing- to- art.
  • Writing workshops: faculty and guest authors facilitate workshops across genres, including prose, translation, poetry and cross-genre.
  • Readings and performances: Build perspective and connect with the broader literary arts community as faculty, peers and guests share work.
  • Panels and discussions: Address professional skills in publishing, performance, service and community immersion.
  • Booktalks: Faculty-led discussion style classes on books.
  • Generative Sessions: Apprentice writers and faculty sit together to collaborate in writing.

Independent Work and One-on-One Mentorship

Between residencies, during fall, winter, and spring quarters, apprentice writers work one-on-one with faculty mentors, completing a total of four exchanges per quarter. In each exchange apprentice writers email or mail their mentor a mix of creative and critical work with a letter. In return, faculty mentors offer feedback in the form of a letter plus manuscript mark-ups.

  • Study one-on-one with faculty mentors
  • Exchange creative and critical work online or by mail
  • Work on your manuscript
  • Acknowledge the works of others and embrace how they inform the making of your own work

This low-residency creative writing program was developed based on the premise that writers write alone and come into community for affirmation and visibility, and to share and receive work. The spine of the instruction grows out of the correspondence happening outside the residencies between apprentice writers and their faculty mentors. The correspondence nests the exchange of creative and critical writing and faculty feedback on that writing. It mimics the oldest and, perhaps, best form of creative writing instruction: the epistolary. Writers, geographically distant from each other, exchange letters to recognize the work of one another, while teasing out ideas in method and process.

MFA in Creative Writing Curriculum & Degree Requirements: What You Will Study

To earn your MFA in Creative Writing from Marylhurst, complete 64 credits through a combination of one-on-one mentorship and two 8-day residencies on-campus in Portland each year.

Residencies occur twice per year in a 7-day format of lectures, workshops, bookshops, readings, and one-on-one consultations with faculty mentors. Apprentice writers within the MFA program are required to attend a minimum of five residencies to earn the MFA credential. Each  residency provides one day off for students to explore their own literary arts agenda in Portland.  Inquire about residency fees.

Generation of Work consists of 3-4 exchanges of new creative-critical work with letters between faculty mentors and the apprentice writer. 

In Forms & Methods, the apprentice writer drafts, revises and polishes a 25-page essay on Process, Method and Theory. The scope of work takes place in 3-4 letter exchanges between the apprentice writer and faculty mentor.  

Apprentice writers in Social Practice make a social practice art project that combines creative making, critical inquiry, performance, and social activism. 

Engage in 3-4 exchanges of revised creative-critical work with faculty mentors. 

Dual BA + MFA Degree Option

Do you still need to complete your bachelor’s degree?

Earn your B.A. in English while you work towards your MFA in Creative Writing. In this three-year dual-degree program, experienced writers with an AAOS or AS may complete a bachelor’s degree and MFA program with cost and time savings.


BA in English Literature & Writing 

MFA in Creative Writing

Learn more about Marylhurst’s dual-degree program.  Request information about the B.A. in English Literature & Writing and dual degree option.

Get More Information

Ready to further discuss whether or not the Marylhurst MFA in Creative Writing is right for you? Connect with one of our admissions counselors who can answer your questions, email you more information and share steps to get started.

Or, Explore the MFA in Creative Writing Further