Murray State University :: NewPages Guide to Creative Writing Programs

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Murray State University

MFA in Creative Writing

Contact Information:

Murray State University

Master of Fine Arts Program

7C Faculty Hall-Dept of English & Philosophy

Murray, KY 42071


Program director: Ann Neelon

Program contact: Nita King, Administrative Secretary

Phone: (270) 809-4727


Program Information:

Degrees offered: MFA

Type of program: low-residency

Genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry

Length of program: 2 years

Enrollment: 40

Total credits required: 49 credit hours

Application deadlines: October 1 for January residency, April 1 for July residency

Scholarships available: yes (see website)

Assistantships: yes (see website)

Core faculty: Ann Neelon (director), Carrie Jerrell (associate director), Blas Falconer, Tommy Hays, Riley Hanick, Gary Jackson, Karen Salyer McElmurray, Elena Pasarello, Dale Ray Phillips, Lynn Pruett, Jeffrey Skinner

Publishing/editing courses: yes (see website)

Literary magazine: New Madrid

Reading series: yes (see website)

Recent visiting writers: Kazim Ali, Mark Doty, Beth Ann Fennelly, Nick Flynn, Tom Franklin, Cristina Garcia, Max Garland, Ross Gay, Stephen Graham Jones, Davy Rothbart, Claire Vaye Watkins, Marcus Wicker, Padma Viswanathan

Program description: In the beautiful lakes region of Western Kentucky, something extraordinary is happening. Masters in their craft—some of the most widely respected novelists, poets and essayists working today—are guiding a group of talented and diverse writers in Murray State University's Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program.  

The primary objective of the low-residency MFA program is to provide advanced instruction to creative writers while allowing them to live where they choose. The MFA is a terminal degree and provides the necessary academic credentials for a writer to teach creative writing at the college or university level. It also provides a foundation in writing that can help prepare graduates for careers in a variety of fields such as writing, publishing, advertising, or teaching at the secondary level. Our foremost goal, however, is to facilitate the growth of writers.  

The select and eclectic students that make up this increasingly competitive MFA program come from Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, Kansas City, Louisville, Conway, Arkansas, and many more American cities and towns, big and small. They are professional journalists, radio announcers, television producers, professors and teachers, horse farmers, web designers, entertainers, parents and friends. They come to Murray State seeking a competitive, low-residency, affordable alternative to the traditional MFA program. They end up finding much more—a world-class faculty and a bubbling cauldron of peer talent, mixed in a package of open-mindedness and artistry that moves.