Writing, M.F.A.

Writer’s Workshop Department, College of Communication, Fine Arts & Media

Vision Statement

The MFA in Writing is a two-year program of focused instruction for creative writers who are committed to a literary career. The program comprises four 16-week writing seminars and five 10-day, conference-style residency sessions. The seminars and residencies are integrated to help those who need to hone their writing and critical thinking in order to participate competitively in the wider domain of contemporary American letters. In a two-year course of study, the student earns 60 credit hours toward a Masters of Fine Arts degree in one of four genres: fiction, poetry, playwriting, or nonfiction.

Program Contact Information:

Richard Duggin, Director

Weber Fine Arts Building (WFAB) 301



Ms. Jenna Lucas Finn, Administrative Director

Weber Fine Arts Building (WFAB) 301



Program Website:


Application Deadlines:

  • Fall: May 1
  • Spring: October 1
  • Summer: NA

Program-Specific Requirements:

  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
    • From persons who can attest to your ability to complete a course of graduate study, the ability to work independently, and/or the quality of your prior literary achievements
  • Statement of Purpose
    • A one- to two-page single-spaced self-assessment of your background in writing, reasons for wanting to enter the MFA program, and your goals as a writer.
    • For fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, include any other experience you have in the wider community of literature; e.g., organizing or participating in craft workshops, attending conferences, working for literary magazines, etc.
    • For playwriting, include any specific experience as it pertains to full-length plays, one-act plays, and ten-minute plays, plus any experience in other areas of theatre.
  • Writing Sample
    • A manuscript representing your best work in the genre track (fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, or poetry) for which you are applying
      • 30-40 pages of fiction or nonfiction
      • 15-20 pages of original playwriting
      • 15 pages of poetry

NOTE: Your self-assessment statement and your manuscript sample must be submitted in your online application in .pdf format. If you are unable to submit these materials in .pdf format or have questions regarding the content of your submissions, please contact Jenna Lucas Finn at 402-554-3020. Fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry manuscript format should be in 12-point typeface with 1” margins; poetry may be single-spaced; prose should be double-spaced, pages numbered in the top right corner with the applicant’s last name on the top left of each page. Playwriting submissions should follow standard Playwriting format. Material in genres other than the one in which you are applying will not be read. For specific information, requirements, and current residency dates for the program, please consult the program website: http://www.unomaha.edu/unmfaw.

Degree Requirements

Required Residency Session:

MFAW 8700Residency Session

3 credits

Register for one 3-hour session per semester (4 semesters)

Residencies are conference-style sessions (10 days) consisting of a combination of workshops on student writing, craft and theory classes, individual conferences with mentoring faculty, and performance readings.

All students are required to take a minimum of 20 hours of a combination of these events, and to meet with their mentoring faculty member to design a course of study for the semester.

Writing Options (choose one):


Seminars are semester-long (16 weeks) supervised distance studies in writing, during which the student corresponds regularly with a faculty mentor on the work which was proposed during the preceding residency session individual conferences. At least four times a semester, the student must submit creative and critical writing to the faculty mentor. The mentor will respond with revisions, suggestions for further readings, and discussion. Seminars are composed of a maximum of 5 students each. Students must register for one 12-hour seminar session per semester for four semesters.

MFAW 8830Fiction Seminar

12 credits

MFAW 8840Nonfiction Seminar

12 credits

MFAW 8850Playwriting Seminar

12 credits

MFAW 8820Poetry Seminar

12 credits

Exit Requirements:

MFAW 8710Graduating Residency Session

0 credits

Total Credit Hours: 60

MFA-WRTG-Other Program-Related Information:

  • The MFA in Writing at the University of Nebraska is “low-residency”—there are no campus-based courses.
  • Upon acceptance, a $500 non-refundable deposit is required to hold the student’s place in the program. This deposit is applied toward the first Residency Meals and Lodging Fee.