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The Rutgers University-Newark MFA Program is a nationally ranked, 36 credit hour, studio/research program, which means that our writers study literature as they endeavor to write it. The program focuses strongly on 12 credit hours of Writing Workshop in a declared genre (one workshop, with permission of the department, may be cross-genre), and requires 6 thesis hours in which students work one-on-one with their mentor professors. We also require 18 credit hours of graduate courses in literature. Students may take up to two undergraduate courses for graduate credit with additional requirements assigned by professor and with permission by the department. Applicants who have completed graduate-level English Literature courses may transfer up to 12 credit hours (grades of B or above) with permission of the department. While some MFA grads go on to law or business school or into publishing, many seek teaching jobs. The MFA is the terminal degree in creative writing, which allows graduates to teach at the university level, and the Rutgers-Newark MFA offers our students the essential advantage of substantial coursework in literature.

MFA Gift from William Hill
MFA students and faculty after recieving a $50k gift from William Hill

How You Will Learn

MFA students will fulfill 6 of the required 18 elective hours by choosing one of three unique Electives Concentrations. Virtually no other program in the country gives students the opportunity to work in such a wide range of genres for elective credits. Those who choose Literature/Book Arts can work with photographer Nick Kline to design and publish a chapbook of their own work. Performance/Media Studies allows students to study writing for television or the stage with playwright Michele Rittenhouse, urban and narrative journalism with Professor Rob Snyder, or jazz influences with Lewis Porter Cultural/Political/Ethnic Studies allows students to choose courses in History, Liberal Studies, American Studies, Urban Education, Political Science, Global Affairs, African-American Studies, or Women’s and Gender Studies. RU-N’s Electives Concentration is designed to support our MFA students in their completion of courses that specifically contribute to the fiction, poetry or nonfiction works they will turn in as theses.

Rutgers University-Newark MFA students may also make use of resources provided by the Institute for Jazz Studies, the Institute for Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, the Paul Robeson Gallery, Dana Library and its Book Arts program, and the Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies. The RU-N MFA Program also enjoys affiliations with The Newark Museum, the New Jersey Historical Society, the Newark Public Library, and Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, all a short walk from campus.

Rutgers University-Newark is developing a respected and exciting MFA Program that will attract national and international applicants, yet we feel strongly about maintaining and deepening the University’s commitment to the diversity and flavor of the Rutgers University-Newark community. Our MFA Program is influenced and inspired by Newark, a community of long and remarkable history now enjoying a political and cultural Renaissance. We describe our program as Rutgers University-Newark Real Lives, Real Stories cause we’re interested in the real world experience of our applicants as well as in their creative work and intellectual rigor.

The Rutgers University-Newark MFA can be completed in a two-year time frame. Most of our classes, workshops and readings begin at 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, allowing students to commit to rigorous daily writing schedules, work day jobs, or raise families. Though we live in the real world more affordably than in Manhattan, Rutgers-Newark MFA faculty and students also comprise an arts community. Workshops are encouraged to adjourn at 8:30 for drinks and refreshments at chic local eatery 27 Mix, Art Kitchen, or at one of many inexpensive Portuguese restaurants in the Ironbound. Newark is changing and thriving, and Rutgers University-Newark is changing with it. The residence dorm at University Square is just one of the University’s commitments to a burgeoning campus whose expansion will eventually reach the shores of the Passaic River.


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Applications for Fall 2020 will be accepted October 1, 2019 - December 15, 2019.

49 Bleeker Street with woman walking past
MFA in Creative Writing

43 Bleeker Street
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

Tel: 973-353-1107


Salamishah Tillet

Salamishah Tillet

Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing; Founding Director of the New Arts Social Justice Initiative at Express Newark; Associate Director of the Clement Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience

Cathy Park Hong

Cathy Park Hong