Master of Fine Arts – MFA in Writing

  • Join us at 12 PM ET (11 AM CT/10 AM MT/9 AM PT) to learn more about the Naslund-Mann School of Writi...

    July 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    MFA Virtual Open House


Our low-residency MFA in Writing program is a nationally recognized leader in graduate writing education. Founded in 2001, it’s one of the oldest and best-regarded programs of its kind. But the Spalding MFA is more than an outstanding creative writing education in a noncompetitive, supportive literary community. For our students, alums and faculty, it’s home. As the flagship program of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing, it’s also sister to three additional low-residency programs: the 35-credit Master of Arts in Writing (MAW), 15-credit graduate certificate in writing, and the post-master’s certificate.

Kristen Brace, student in the MFA in Writing program

At a substantial 65 credits, the MFA program creates space for creative writers to thrive. Over four semesters plus a graduation residency, students write prolifically in their own area of concentration, explore across genres, examine the interrelatedness of the arts, gain editorial experience on a literary journal, learn about career options with our virtual Business of Writing Seminars and complete a creative thesis — all while becoming part of a lasting community.

Each semester begins with a week-long residency. Whether you attend virtual or on-campus residencies or a mix of both over the course of your studies, you’ll find that residency days are filled with learning opportunities: workshops led by our actively publishing and producing faculty members, genre-specific and cross-genre lectures, panel discussions, readings and more. At on-campus residencies, you’ll discover Louisville’s downtown arts scene and stay in the four-star Brown Hotel. At virtual residencies, you’ll engage with the same immersive curriculum as you would on campus, taught live in real time by the same outstanding faculty. MFA students can opt to spend a residency in a teaching seminar, a book-length manuscript workshop or a workshop in translation, adaptation or another creative writing genre.

Good River Review banner

Explore our literary journal and catch up with the latest faculty news at Good River Review!

Back at home, a one-on-one mentored independent study course rounds out the semester. During independent study, you’ll exchange five full packets of material with your mentor. That’s more writing and more expert feedback than most other programs can offer. Students produce a creative thesis; playwriting students also develop their creative thesis with a professional theater company. Students can take an entire semester in another area and still graduate on time.

Every writer has work or family obligations. While you could push aside those commitments for a couple of years of grad school, you can’t keep life at bay forever. Much better to build a sustainable writing practice into your daily life. Our low-residency model teaches you to do just that — and to make it easier, we offer flexibility in scheduling your weekly workload and charting your course of study. For added inspiration, we also offer students and alumni the option of enrichment travel.

We accept transfer credit from other MFA programs. Students with a published book or produced script may apply for acceleration.

We invite you to explore our program, meet alumni and learn why Spalding is the choice for serious writers. Then, we invite you to apply.

“I have SUCH fond memories of my time at Spalding. The faculty was smart and engaged. The students were diverse and eager — and thoughtful. The conversations we had made me remember again why I do the work I do. The vibe was like family. I felt SO at home there, I have to say. All these years later, it really stays with me.”

– Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming, winner of the National Book Award, Newbery Honor Medal and Coretta Scott King Award


Am I Too Old to Get an MFA?

Recent Faculty Publications


  • Upcoming Residencies
    • Fall: November 9 – 16, 2024
    • Spring: May 24 – 31, 2025
    • Summer (virtual): June 21 – 28, 2025
  • Named a top 10 low residency MFA program by Poets & Writers.
  • Application deadlines
    • March 1: application deadline for spring semester, starting in May with residency on campus
    • April 1: application deadline for summer semester, starting in June with a virtual residency
    • August 1: Application deadline for fall semester, starting in November with residency on campus
  • MFA alumni have garnered top national honors while publishing and producing more than 500 books, plays and films. To read about alumni successes, click on the concentrations listed above.
  • Recent visiting writers include Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Natasha Trethewey, Kiki Petrosino, Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson, Randy Ribay, Kevin Willmott, Sheila Callaghan, Ann Patchett, Tim O’Brien, Terese Marie Mailhot, Pico Iyer, Doug Wright, John Patrick Shanley and more.
  • Tuition is affordable, and financial aid is available.
  • We are members of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, SCBWI and the Playwrights’ Center.
  • Spalding is the world’s first certified Compassionate University.
  • We welcome veterans.
  • You can get to know our faculty and directors on our blog.

For more information, email [email protected].

  • Join us at 12 PM ET (11 AM CT/10 AM MT/9 AM PT) to learn more about the Naslund-Mann School of Writi...

    July 16 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    MFA Virtual Open House