MFA in Creative Writing

Deep in the heart of Newark's richly diverse arts community

The Rutgers University-Newark MFA Program established in 2008 is a nationally ranked, full-time creative writing program steeped in Newark’s richly diverse arts community. RU-N MFA offers creative writing tracks in Fiction and Poetry. Our curriculum balances studio and research time, allowing our students to study literature as they endeavor to write it. 

RU-N MFA hopes to nurture a wide variety of voices. We encourage students to make use of resources within the English Department and beyond. The RU-N MFA Program enjoys affiliations with The Newark Museum, The New Jersey Historical Society, The Newark Public Library, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center, all of which are a short walk from campus. Additionally, students have access to the Greater New York Area and frequently participate in readings and literary events outside of the MFA.

We are proud to offer funding to all admitted full-time students over the course of two years. This gives students the space to truly focus on writing, community building with their mentors and peers, and developing related projects. 

Consider joining RU-N MFA, whose recent graduates have been published widely and awarded fellowships from Stadler, Stegner, Fulbright, Kundiman, Cave Canem, and more. Our faculty members are recipients of Guggenheim, National Endowment of the Arts, Lannan, Radcliffe Institute, Rockefeller, and Windham Campbell Fellowships, numerous National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle nominations, Griffin Poetry Prize nomination, the Lambda Literary Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and the MacArthur grant. 

Apply with a strong, competitive portfolio and dedication to your craft.

MFA Director, Staff, and students
MFA Director, Staff, and students

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  • Applying to RU-N MFA

    The Rutgers University-Newark MFA Program in Creative Writing will begin accepting applications in the Fiction and Poetry for Fall 2024 on October 1, 2023. Deadline is December 15, 2023.


    We encourage you to apply early. Please read and follow application instructions below. Due to winter break, applicants are encouraged to wait until after January 30, 2024 to check their application status. 

    Applicants who need specific information about applying should email the program at:


    A complete application consists of:

    1. RUTGERS UNIVERSITY-NEWARK GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATION (fee: $70) Application must be completed online. When applying online, please make sure to select the Rutgers University-Newark MFA Program.
    2. WRITING SAMPLE Please apply in one genre only - Fiction or Poetry. Your writing samples are the most important part of your application. Send work that you feel is at a high level and shows your strengths as a writer. You may send copies of published work, but we would like to see new work as well. Format with pagination and your full name on each page. 

      Poetry: 15 pages (maximum), single spaced (minimum 10 poems, maximum 12 poems).
      Fiction: 20 pages (maximum), double spaced, of a novel excerpt or three short stories. If submitting a novel excerpt, please include a title page and a brief note describing the work.
      Submit supporting documents such as Writing Sample via your applicant portal here.
    3. GRE TEST SCORES are preferred but not required. Applicants interested in a Teaching Assistantship (TA) position are strongly encouraged to submit GRE scores from within the past 5 years. Please have your scores sent to the Rutgers University-Newark campus: school code 2790. 
    4. PERSONAL STATEMENT should be 1-2 pages long and should include information about you, your goals, and why you are interested in pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University - Newark. Full funding applies to full-time applicants. If you wish to apply as a part-time student, please note that in your personal statement. Part-time students are not eligible for funding packages.
    5. RESUME
    6. 3 LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION should be provided by people who have known you at an academic, creative, or professional capacity. This might include mentors, former professors, coworkers, employers, etc. Recommenders submit letters to Rutgers online. 
    7. OFFICIAL ACADEMIC TRANSCRIPT(S) from any institutions attended.  All official transcripts should be sent to:


    Applicants will be notified of their status on or before April 20, 2024.

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  • The MFA Program in Creative Writing curriculum is 36 credits, totaling 12 courses. The program is designed for students to complete in 2 years. Courses include: 

    12 Workshop credits (4 courses)

    6 Thesis credits (2 courses)

    18 elective credits (6 courses)


    First-year Fall: Workshop + 2 electives

    First-year Spring: Workshop + 2 electives

    Second-year Fall: Workshop + Thesis Independent Study + 1 elective 

    Second-year Spring: Workshop + Thesis in Conference + 1 elective



    Students may transfer up to 12 graduate level literature credits from an accredited institution only if they’ve completed a graduate degree at that institution. Transferred credits must have earned a B or better grade.

    Students must complete 12 credits at Rutgers before transferring eligible credits.

Accordion Content

  • Goal 1: Students will demonstrate a high level of ability to write and complete a revised, full-length work of literature in a primary genre concentration in either Fiction or Poetry.

    Goal 2: By graduation, students will be able to write critically about structure, craft, and literary traditions of the work of various published authors.

    Goal 3: Students are prepared for entry into the public life of literature, which includes locating their own work in the context of contemporary literary practice, preparing their work according to professional standards, teaching English composition and/or creative writing, and participating in diverse literary communities.