Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing


The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a three-year, intensive studio arts terminal degree with a strong international emphasis and requires the writing of a book-length creative thesis in either fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry. The objectives of the MFA degree are to enable the student to master the craft of writing in the chosen genre to a publishable level; to train the student in traditional literary studies and in writing pedagogy; and to provide the student with some practical knowledge of literary translation and literary publishing. The goal of the three-year course of studies is to prepare the student for a teaching career at the university, college, or community college level and/or for writing as a profession outside of the academy; to provide the student with an international perspective on the creation, publication, and teaching of the literary arts, specifically fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry; to encourage an appreciation of literature and writing in all its forms in a global context; and to inspire literary activism of the public intellectual and person of letters.

For more information about the M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a description of the Creative Writing International Program, see the Creative Writing page.

All MFA students admitted to the Creative Writing International program at UNLV are offered Graduate Assistantship funding of $15,000 per year (which includes in-state tuition and provisions for health insurance). Duties for the Graduate Assistantship are 20 hours per week, usually fulfilled through a combination of teaching, tutoring in the Writing Center, and working for English Department or Black Mountain Institute publications.

Available Options

  • International Focus Track
  • Peace Corps Track


For information regarding accreditation at UNLV, please head over to Academic Program Accreditations.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will have the ability to compose original works of literature (either fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry) of publishable quality.
  • Students will have an understanding of the theoretical foundations of his/her chosen genre concentration.
  • Students will have an appreciation for the craft and theory of other genres.
  • Students will have a good understanding of the canonical contexts and history from which new writing emerges.
  • Students will have a practical appreciation for international writing and literary translation, and will have some knowledge of writing from at least one language tradition other than in English.
  • Students will have produced a publishable, complete manuscript of original writing.

Career Possibilities

Persons with the M.F.A. in Creative Writing can go on to careers in:

A person with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing may, usually with the publication of a book, teach at the university or college level; or, usually with some significant publications, at the community college level. Persons with the M.F.A. in Creative Writing may also teach high school English (in some cases, additional credits in Education courses will be required); or may teach many disciplines of English at schools and institutes abroad. Because of the teaching experience available from the M.F.A. at UNLV as a Graduate Assistant instructor in the English Department, common fields in which persons holding the M.F.A. degree are qualified to teach in are: composition, literature, world literature, creative writing, or business writing.
Writing/Publishing/Editing/Literary Translation
The M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing provides the student with optimum preparation to pursue professional writing as a career in the chosen genre of specialization by selling original writing to magazines, book publishers, and websites. Also, the Creative Writing International program, in partnership with the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, offers opportunities to work with three literary magazines: Interim, Witness, and The Believer. Practical experience in literary publishing combined with writing skills attained in pursuit of the M.F.A. degree provide an optimum work history to pursue a career in magazine editing, book editing, website editing, or free-lance, as copy editors or copy writers. Training in literary translation for the M.F.A. degree prepares students who also possess significant foreign language skills to pursue careers in literary and other fields of written translation.
Public Relations, Media, Communications, and Advertising
P-R and advertising agencies hire candidates with strong writing, communications, and publishing skills, all which are acquired in pursuit of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
Business, Non-profits, Management, and Beyond
In the most global sense possible, Creative Writing M.F.A. graduates can do anything. In survey after survey, business employers rank writing and communications skills as the most important qualification. M.F.A. graduates are also highly qualified to work for non-profits, especially in arts and education. Also, graduates go on to careers in finance, management, human resources, sales, marketing, civil service, and institutional analysis―the possibilities are endless.


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Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing

International Focus Track

Peace Corps Track


Graduate Coordinator

Douglas A. Unger

Professor/Writer, Creative Writing Coordinator

RLL - 217

Department of English

The English department offers a variety of courses in literature, language and writing. Our majors explore literature as an artistic medium from both theoretical and historical perspectives, in the process honing students' analytical and writing skills.


College of Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts offers students a well-rounded education in the humanities and social sciences, and provides students with a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning and discovery.