MFA in Creative Writing
We are proud to congratulate MFA faculty Marlon James on being a 2019 National Book Award finalist.
Our NYC location means we bring the publishing industry to our students, running daily roundtables and panel discussions with top agents, editors and publishers. Our 6-to-1 student to faculty ratio offers an intimate, focused environment for aspiring writers to flourish in our downtown Brooklyn community.
Priority Application Deadline: November 1, 2019
Final Application Deadline: December 1, 2019
Start Date: January 2, 2020
Please email the following in a pdf or word file to MFA@sfc.edu
- 10 pages of poetry, or 20 to 25 pages of fiction, or a full length play (applicants may apply in one or more genres).
- Fiction manuscripts should be typewritten, single sided, double-spaced, numbered in the lower right-hand corner, and in Times Roman 12-point font.
- Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate coursework.
- Two letters of recommendation.
- A statement of purpose (500 words max) detailing how the applicant plans to meet the challenges of the MFA program and life as a working writer.
- About the Program
- Meet the Faculty
- Why Low-Residency?
- Why Brooklyn?
- Tuition & Fees
- Teaching Fellowships
The MFA program offers separate genre tracks in Fiction, Poetry, and Dramatic Screenwriting/Playwriting.
Ten-day residencies convene twice per year, January 2nd - 12th and July 5th - 15th. Residencies consist of intensive faculty workshops, lectures and daily publishing panels with top agents, editors, and publishers. During the 6 months in between residencies, students will regularly exchange writing online with their faculty mentors, continuing the work that began in residency. Students will take 4 online workshops and attend 5 residencies to earn the 36 credits for their MFA degree. The 5th and final residency will culminate in a creative thesis—a novel, a chapbook of poetry or a short story collection.
We feel this structure reflects the realities of life as a working writer. Aspiring writers learn how to be productive in their everyday lives with editorial feedback and contact, without giving up their day jobs. Unlike traditional MFA programs that demand a full-time commitment, our low-residency model represents the working life of the overwhelming majority of professionals in the field.
Our approach is realistic about the challenges of succeeding as a career writer. We offer access to the publishing world, freedom and flexibility to work and write, and among the most affordable programs in the country. Tuition for our 36 credit Master of Fine Arts is well below the national average, far below that of other New York City institutions, and comparable to public university programs.
St. Francis College provides housing accommodations within a five minute walk to the College. MFA students may stay at the residence in either single or double occupancy rooms.
Student housing is just one option for you, but is not a requirement for the residencies. The current estimated cost for housing is $1,000 for 10 days in a shared double or $2,000 for a single room.
The MFA program now offers MFA Graduate Assistantships.
Three MFA students will get $2,000 in tuition remission each for acting as embedded tutors per semester. Applicants will email a statement of purpose to MFA director Theo Gangi. Statement should be at least 500 words long and discuss why applicant wishes to teach, the skills which applicants feel they can offer in the classroom, and any relevant experience the applicant brings with them. In the statement, applicants will indicate the course they would like to embed based on the offerings for that semester. More details are available upon request.
Students may qualify for federal student loans by completing a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA).
Degree Program Credits:
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program consists of four semesters, each including one residency (4 credits) and one distance workshop (4 credits). A final graduation residency (4 credits) completes the program, for a total of 36 credits.
MA, New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Ph.D, Stanford University
MFA, Columbia University
M.A., Wilkes University
A low-residency program offers candidates such as working professionals in New York or out-of-state residents to pursue the degree without uprooting or giving up their day jobs, as one would with a traditional program.
This is of prime importance for a career in writing and publishing, where the balance of a day job in one’s writing life is crucial to success. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York employs the second-most writers of any state in the US, with 6,710 working writers. 68% of working writers identify as self-employed. According to the Author’s Guild, only 39% of writers in 2015 supported themselves exclusively with writing-related work. 61% of writers work a second or third job.
The SFC low-residency MFA program format is tailored to the needs of aspiring career writers in New York City and beyond.
These figures support the low-residency MFA structure as more suited to the reality of a working life as a writer. Traditional MFA programs that demand a full-time commitment, such as the 14 MFA programs in New York, do not allow aspiring writers a day or night job, and do not accurately represent the working life of the majority of professionals in the field.
A global favorite hub of art and character, Brooklyn has been a prime location for working writers from the time of Walt Whitman to the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, hosted, in part, on the SFC campus. In the words of acclaimed author Colson Whitehead, “Google ‘Brooklyn writer’ and you’ll get, Did you mean: the future of literature as we know it?”
Samantha Hunt has won the 2019 SFC Literary Prize for THE DARK DARK, a short story collection that explores the wonders and terrors of human biology.
St.Francis College announced finalists for its 2019 SFC Literary Prize, a $50,000 biennial award for an author's third to fifth work of published fiction. They are: Jennifer Clement (Gun Love), Tsitsi Dangarembga (This Mournable Body); Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking); Samantha Hunt (The Dark Dark); David Joy (The Line That Held Us); Danzy Senna (New People). The winner will be revealed on September 21st.
St. Francis College awarded its first Master in Fine Arts degrees on July 15th, to six students who enrolled in the two-year program when it launched in 2017.
In July 2019, Staten-Island-native Noel Jones was among the first six students awarded Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degrees by St. Francis College. He recently shared his thoughts on what he learned during his two years as an MFA student, and how he feels about being among the first to earn such a degree here.