MFA Program in Creative Writing
The Creative Writing Program offers the MFA degree, with a concentration in either poetry or fiction. MFA students pursue intensive study with distinguished faculty committed to creative and intellectual achievement.
Each year the department enrolls only eight MFA students, four in each concentration. Our small size allows us to offer a generous financial support package that fully funds every student. We also offer a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical and cultural fields. Every student chooses a special committee of two faculty members who work closely alongside the student to design a course of study within the broad framework established by the department.
Students participate in a graduate writing workshop each semester and take six additional one-semester courses for credit, at least four of them in English or American literature, comparative literature, literature in the modern or Classical languages or cultural studies (two per semester during the first year and one per semester during the second year). First-year students receive practical training as editorial assistants for Epoch, a periodical of prose and poetry published by the creative writing program. Second-year students participate as teaching assistants for the university-wide first-year writing program. The most significant requirement of the MFA degree is the completion of a book-length manuscript: a collection of poems or short stories, or a novel, to be closely edited and refined with the assistance of the student’s special committee.
MFA program specifics can be viewed here: MFA Timeline Procedural Guide
Every graduate student selects a special committee of faculty advisors who works intensively with the student in selecting courses and preparing and revising the thesis. The committee is comprised of two Cornell creative writing faculty members: a chair and one minor member. An additional member may be added to represent an interdisciplinary field. The university system of special committees allows students to design their own courses of study within a broad framework established by the department, and it encourages a close working relationship between professors and students, promoting freedom and flexibility in the pursuit of the graduate degree. The special committee for each student guides and supervises all academic work and assesses progress in a series of meetings with the students.
At Cornell, teaching is considered an integral part of training for a career in writing. The field requires a carefully supervised teaching experience of at least one year for every MFA candidate as part of the program requirements. The Department of English, in conjunction with the First-Year Writing Program, offers excellent training for beginning teachers and varied and interesting teaching in this university-wide program. These are not conventional freshman composition courses, but full-fledged academic seminars, often designed by graduate students themselves. The courses are writing-intensive and may fall under such general rubrics as “Portraits of the Self,” “American Literature and Culture,” “Shakespeare” and “Cultural Studies,” among others. A graduate student may also serve as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate lecture course taught by a member of the Department of Literatures in English faculty.
All MFA degree candidates are guaranteed two years of funding (including a stipend , a full tuition fellowship and student health insurance).
- Graduate Assistantship with EPOCH . Students read submissions, plan special issues and assume other editorial and administrative responsibilities.
- Summer Teaching Assistantship, linked to a teachers' training program. Summer residency in Ithaca is required.
- Teaching Assistantship
- Summer Fellowship (made possible by the David L. Picket ’84 Fund and The James McConkey Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Award for Summer Support, established by his enduringly grateful student, Len Edelstein ’59)
Optional MFA Lecturer Appointments Degree recipients who are actively seeking outside funding/employment are eligible to apply to teach for one or two years as a lecturer. These positions are made possible by an endowment established by the late Philip H. Freund ’29 and a bequest from the Truman Capote Literary Trust.
Admission & Application Procedures
The application for Fall 2023 admission will close at 5pm EST on December 15, 2022.
Eligibility : Applicants must currently have, or expect to have, at least a BA or BS (or the equivalent) in any field before matriculation. International students, please verify degree equivalency here . Applicants are not required to take the GRE test or meet a specified GPA minimum.
To Apply: All applications and supplemental materials must be submitted on-line through the Graduate School application system . While completing your application, you may save and edit your data. Once you click “submit,” your application will be closed for changes. Please proofread your materials carefully. Once you pay and click submit, you will not be able to make any changes or revisions.
DEADLINE: Dec. 15, 5 p.m. EST . This deadline is firm. No applications, additional materials or revisions will be accepted after the deadline.
MFA Program Application Requirements Checklist
- Statement of Purpose Please provide a one- or two-page single-spaced statement describing the reasons you are undertaking graduate work and explaining your academic interests as they relate to your undergraduate study and professional goals.
- Three Letters of Recommendation Please select three people who best know you and your work. Submitting additional letters will not enhance your application. In the recommendation section of the application, you must include the email address of each recommender. After you save the information (and before you pay/submit), the application system will automatically generate a recommendation request email to your recommender with instructions for submitting the letter electronically. If your letters are stored with a credential service such as Interfolio, please use their “online application delivery” feature and input the email address assigned to your stored document, rather than that of your recommender’s. The electronic files will be attached to your application when they are received and will not require the letter of recommendation cover page. Please do not postpone submitting your application while waiting for us to receive all three of your letters. We will accept recommendation letters until December 30,11:59 EST . For more information please visit the Graduate School's page on preparing letters of recommendations .
- Transcripts Scan transcripts from each institution you have attended, or are currently attending, and upload into the academic information section of the application. Be sure to remove your social security number from all documents prior to scanning. Please do not send paper copies of your transcripts. If you are subsequently admitted and accept, the graduate school will require an official paper transcript from your degree-awarding institution prior to matriculation.
- English Language Proficiency Requirement All applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency. For more information, please view the Graduate School’s English Language Requirement .
- Fiction applicants: Your sample must be between 6,000 and 10,000 words, typed, double-spaced, in a conventional 12- or 14-point font. It may be an excerpt from a larger work or a combination of several works.
- Poetry applicants: Your sample must be 10 pages in length and include a combination of several poems, where possible.
General Information for All Applicants
Application Fee: Visit the Graduate School for information regarding application fees , payment options, and fee waivers .
Document Identification: Please do not put your social security number on any documents.
Status Inquiries: Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email. You will also be able to check the completion status of your application in your account. If vital sections of your application are missing, we will notify you via email after the Dec. 15 deadline and allow you ample time to provide the missing materials. Please do not inquire about the status of your application.
Credential/Application Assessments: The admission review committee members are unable to review application materials or applicant credentials prior to official application submission. Once the committee has reviewed the applications and made admissions decisions, they will not discuss the results or make any recommendations for improving the strength of an applicant’s credentials. Applicants looking for feedback are advised to consult with their undergraduate advisor or someone else who knows them and their work.
Review Process: Application review begins after the submission deadline. Notification of admissions decisions will be made by email or by telephone by the end of February.
Connecting with Faculty and/or Students: Unfortunately, due to the volume of inquiries we receive, faculty and current students are not available to correspond with potential applicants prior to an offer of admission. Applicants who are offered admission will have the opportunity to meet faculty and students to have their questions answered prior to accepting. Staff and faculty are also not able to pre-assess potential applicant’s work outside of the formal application process. Please email [email protected] instead, if you have questions.
Visiting: The department does not offer pre-admission visits or interviews. Admitted applicants will be invited to visit the department, attend graduate seminars and meet with faculty and students before making the decision to enroll.
Transfer Credits: Transfer credits are not available toward the MFA program.
For Further Information
Contact [email protected]
- Courses for Credit
- Courses & Programs
ENGL 2800 Creative Writing
An introductory course in the theory, practice, and reading of fiction, poetry, and allied forms. Both narrative and verse readings are assigned. Students will learn to savor and practice the craft of poetry and narrative writing, developing techniques that inform both. Some class meetings may feature peer review of student work, and instructors may assign writing exercises or prompts.
Completion of the First-Year Writing Seminar requirement.
Summer 2023: Online course
- Summer Session overview
- Winter Session overview
- Fall & Spring study overview
- Online Learning overview
- Past course rosters
Fields of Study
Cornell offers nearly 80 formal major fields, listed below, as well as challenging dual-degree programs and a score of interdisciplinary majors that cross traditional departmental boundaries.
Cornell offers 122 minors to undergraduates, listed below. Students may pursue minors in any department in any college that offers them, subject to limitations placed by the department offering the minor or by the student's major.
Minors are controlled, tracked, and audited by the academic department or unit in which they are offered. Completed minors will appear on the student's official transcript.
Graduate study at Cornell is interdisciplinary by design. Fields span departments and even disciplines. Graduate students are admitted to fields of study, which are composed of faculty members who come together around shared intellectual interests and may draw from different campuses or colleges.
For example, the graduate field of economics includes faculty from:
- policy analysis and management (College of Human Ecology)
- applied economics and management (College of Agriculture & Life Sciences)
- industrial and labor relations (School of Industrial and Labor Relations)
- management (Johnson Graduate School of Management)
- civil and environmental engineering (College of Engineering)
- sociology (College of Arts & Sciences)
- economics (College of Arts & Sciences)
First-Year Writing Seminars
For first-year students, the Knight Institute offers First-Year Writing Seminars (FWS) in one of the country's largest and most diverse programs in writing in the disciplines: each semester, over 100 different courses are taught in more than 30 departments and programs located in the humanities, social sciences, expressive arts, and sciences. Through introductory work in each seminar's particular field of study, students learn to write in a range of genres and in ways that emphasize clarity, coherence, intellectual force, and stylistic control. Our Spotlight Series highlights some of the exciting projects students are doing in FWSs, as does our student publication Discoveries.
- Seminars should require at least five—and at most eight—formal essays on new topics, totaling about 25 pages of polished prose.
- No fewer than three of the 5 – 8 required essays should go through a process of development under the instructor’s guidance (e.g. revision, peer review, responses to readings, conferences).
- All seminars spend ample classroom time (about half) on work directly related to writing.
- Reading assignments in the course subject are kept well under 75 pages per week to permit regular, concentrated work on writing.
- All students meet in at least two individual conferences with the instructor.
College Specific Writing Requirements
In general, Cornell students are required to take two semesters of First-Year Writing Seminars. Architecture students take one seminar. Agriculture and Life Sciences students may take two first-year writing seminars or choose from among a variety of other courses to complete their requirement. Hotel students take one First-Year Writing Seminar. Most students fulfill the writing requirement in the first year. First-Year Writing Seminars fulfill College writing requirements only. First-Year Writing Seminars, as well as courses that substitute for them, cannot count towards any other College or major requirements.
FWS Writing Consultation
Because Cornell’s writing seminars may expect a greater range of writing abilities than many students have exposure to in high school, the Knight Institute offers a FWS Writing Consultation to give students an opportunity to discover how well current writing skills fit into what Cornell expects.
Learn more about writing the FWS Writing Consultation on the Writing Workshop page .
Current FWS Enrollment
Sp23 First-Year Writing Seminar Brochure PDF (subject to change)
Sp23 First-Year Writing Seminar SEARCHABLE Brochure (subject to change)
For Spring 2023, First-Year Writing Seminar placements will be conducted through the University enrollment system on a first-come, first-served basis.
First-year students and sophomores will pre-enroll for a First-Year Writing Seminar beginning at 7:30 am on November 9 and ending at 11:59 pm on November 11. Any further changes must await the Add-Drop period for first-Year Writing Seminars, which begins for sophomores and freshmen on January 20, 2023, at 9:00 am. Please visit the website of the Office of the University Registrar, or consult with your college’s Advising/Student Services office, for official information and dates regarding the enrollment process.
Many seminars are likely to fill to capacity very quickly after first-year and sophomore pre-enrollment opens on November 9. Students may enroll only in a seminar with open spots in it. No student can be registered for more than one FWS at a time. Please do not contact FWS instructors, who have no control over the enrollment process; there are no waiting lists, and you will not be allowed to “sit in” on any seminar if you are not on the roster. No registrar can enroll you in a FWS. All FWS enrollment takes place electronically only, via Student Center.
Juniors, seniors, and transfer students:
A preferable alternative for you is ENGL 2880 (fall) / Engl 2890 (spring), Expository Writing, which can substitute for FWS credit.
First-year students and sophomores:
Enrollments for First-Year Writing Seminars are strictly capped; no over-enrollments are permitted. Seminars could fill to capacity very quickly after the first-year and sophomore pre-enrollment window for students opens on November 9.
Therefore, the Knight Institute recommends that you plan accordingly, taking your entire schedule into account.
The Knight Institute will not oversee the FWS enrollment process, so we urge you to consult with your college’s Advising/Student Services Office or the University Registrar for guidance on registration.
Spring 2023 First-Year Writing Seminars PDF (coming soon)
Spring 2023 First-Year Writing Seminar SEARCHABLE Brochure (coming soon)
Here is our advice about spring 2023 FWS enrollment:
- Incoming First-year students: If your FWS selection is a high priority for you, be ready to seek it immediately when your enrollment window opens at 7:30 AM on November 9 , following the process set by the Office of the University Registrar.
- We further recommend that you prepare a prioritized list of several FWSs that fit in open time slots in your schedule, in case your top preference(s) have filled already. You will not want to waste time returning to the course roster to ponder alternatives, since these too may be filling up meanwhile.
- You may not create any time-conflict or overlap between your FWS and any other classes on your schedule. You may not create an “overload” beyond the credit limit set by your college. You may not enroll in more than one First-Year Writing Seminar. Once the first-year and sophomore enrollment period ends on November 11, at 11:59 pm , you cannot drop or change until January 20 at the earliest.
- Once a First-Year Writing Seminar is filled to capacity, it is unalterably closed until at least the opening of the Add-Drop process; even then, it would become “open” only if one or more enrolled students were to drop it. Please do not contact your college registrar, who has no power to lift the enrollment cap. Please do not contact the instructor, who has no control over enrollments. There are no waiting lists for First-Year Writing Seminars, no “shopping,” and no forms to sign or stamp. Add-Drop for FWSs takes place electronically only, via Student Center. See item #6 below.
- Add-Drop for first-year students and sophomores begins at 9:00 AM on January 20 : this will be the first opportunity for first-year and sophomore students to change their FWS enrollment, or to enroll if they did not do so in November. This process is subject to the constraints explained above: students can only add a seminar that has open spots in it (i.e., an enrollment below the designated cap). Please be aware that at this point capacity and choice will be limited.
- Add-Drop process for First-Year Writing Seminars January 20 : To see the list of seminars that retain open spots after incoming freshmen pre-enrollment, beginning on November 9, log in to Student Center. Click “Search for Classes,” then “Additional Search Criteria.” In the “Session” field, choose “FWS Session.” This will show you the list of open seminars. Once the Add-Drop window opens January 20, you may make changes from here. Remember that the list of open seminars can change as students drop and add, so you should check frequently. Please be aware that at this point capacity and choice will be limited. See #4 above.
Spotlight FWS Student | Ashley Koca '25 to publish FWS essay
Spotlight FWS Student | Maya Mau '24 to publish FWS essay
Spotlight FWS | Cultural Identities/Cultural Differences: Writing Italy
Spotlight FWS | Podcasts 101
Ap & transfer credit.
All students who score 5 on the Princeton Advanced Placement Examination in English receive 3 credits. Such credits are awarded automatically; no application to the John S. Knight Institute or the Department of Literatures in English is necessary. How these credits may be applied to first-year writing or other distribution requirements depends on the student’s college and score. All students who score 5, except Architecture majors, may apply their 3 credits toward the writing requirements of their college. Students should always consult their college registrars to be certain that they understand their writing requirements.
To have a course taken at another institution considered for possible acceptance as equivalent to a First-Year Writing Seminar, students must provide evidence that the course was offered on a college campus as part of its normal curriculum and that the work done was comparable to that in a First-Year Writing Seminar (see the guidelines above: it is not sufficient to write, say, one 30-page term paper). Courses not taken in the academic year must be at least six weeks long. Students must earn a B+ or better in the course. To request writing credit for courses taken elsewhere, students must submit, to Amanda Munson ([email protected]), an " Application for Transfer Evaluation " and a detailed syllabus from the class you are requesting credit. Because course descriptions can be misleading and courses may change, the Institute cannot certify a course as equivalent before the student completes it.
In unusual situations, students beyond their first year may petition the Knight Institute to have courses taken at Cornell other than First-Year Writing Seminars fulfill the various freshman writing requirements in effect at the University. The Institute advises students about these courses on request. To request writing credit for such courses, students must submit to Amanda Munson ([email protected]), the " Petition for Course Substitution ." Petitions must be filed before such courses are actually taken. Requests for course substitution credit will NOT be approved after a course has been taken. Additionally, courses offered in the three-week sessions (January/June) may not be used for Course Substitution.
Medical, Dental, Grad School Letters
The Knight Institute will provide you with a letter (you make copies) stating that a First-Year Writing Seminar taken at Cornell is the equivalent of a semester of English composition. Usually, this is all a graduate school needs in addition to your transcript; a syllabus from the course is usually not necessary.
Click here to submit the form requesting a letter to this effect.
Senior Lecturer, Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines and English
Donna L. Newton
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Please see the instructions on Cornell’s Admissions website at admissions.cornell.edu/apply/first-year-applicants prior to completing the Cornell University Questions and Writing Supplement in the My Colleges section of the Common Application.
In the online Common Application Writing Supplement, please respond to the essay question(s) below that correspond to the undergraduate college or school to which you are applying.
College Interest Essays for Fall 2023 First-Year Applicants
Brooks school of public policy.
Why are you drawn to studying public policy? Drawing on your experiences, tell us about why you are interested in your chosen major and how attending the Brooks School will help you achieve your life goals.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Required: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals?
Optional (1): At Cornell CALS, we aim to leave the world better than we found it, so we seek out those who are not simply driven to master their discipline, but who are also passionate about doing so to serve the public good. Please elaborate on an activity or experience you have had that made an impact on a community that is important to you. We encourage you to think about community broadly - this could include family, school, or local and global communities. (300-word limit)
Optional (2): The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is dedicated to the exploration of the agricultural, life, environmental, and social sciences and welcomes students with interests that span a wide variety of disciplines. Given our agricultural history and commitment to educating the next generation of agriculturalists, please share if you have a background in agriculture or are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, regardless of your intended major. (300-word limit)
Select all that apply:
- My family owns or operates a farm
- I have experience working in agriculture
- I have interest in pursuing a career in agriculture
Please feel free to share additional details below (optional):
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
What is your "thing"? What energizes you or engages you so deeply that you lose track of time? Everyone has different passions, obsessions, quirks, inspirations. What are yours?
College of Arts and Sciences
Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College.
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
What kind of a business student are you? Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should convey how your interests align with the school to which you are applying within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management or the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration).
College of Engineering
Instructions: All applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Each has a limit of 250 words. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B.
Essay 1 Required response (250 word limit)
How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about.
Essay 2 Choose either Question A or Question B. (250 word limit)
- Question A : Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem.
- Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?
College of Human Ecology
How has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future?
School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should show us that your interests align with the ILR School.
What to Know About Creative Writing Degrees
Many creative writing degree recipients pursue careers as authors while others work as copywriters or ghostwriters.
Tips on Creative Writing Degrees
Prospective writing students should think about their goals and figure out if a creative writing degree will help them achieve those goals. (Getty Images)
Many people see something magical in a beautiful work of art, and artists of all kinds often take pride in their craftsmanship. Creative writers say they find fulfillment in the writing process.
"I believe that making art is a human need, and so to get to do that is amazing," says Andrea Lawlor, an author who this year received a Whiting Award – a national $50,000 prize that recognizes 10 excellent emerging authors each year – and who is also the Clara Willis Phillips Assistant Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
"We all are seeing more and more of the way that writing can help us understand perspectives we don't share," says Lawlor, whose recent novel "Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl" addresses the issue of gender identity.
"Writing can help us cope with hard situations," Lawlor says. "We can find people who we have something in common with even if there's nobody around us who shares our experience through writing. It's a really powerful tool for connection and social change and understanding."
Creative writing faculty, many of whom are acclaimed published authors, say that people are well-suited toward degrees in creative writing if they are highly verbal and enjoy expressing themselves.
"Creative imaginative types who have stories burning inside them and who gravitate toward stories and language might want to pursue a degree in creative writing," Jessica Bane Robert, who teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Clark University in Massachusetts, wrote in an email. "Through formal study you will hone your voice, gain confidence, find a support system for what can otherwise be a lonely endeavor."
Read the guide below to gain more insight into what it means to pursue a creative writing education, how writing impacts society and whether it is prudent to invest in a creative writing degree. Learn about the difference between degree-based and non-degree creative writing programs, how to craft a solid application to a top-notch creative writing program and how to figure out which program is the best fit.
Why Creative Writing Matters and Reasons to Study It
Creative writers say a common misconception about their job is that their work is frivolous and impractical, but they emphasize that creative writing is an extremely effective way to convey messages that are hard to share in any other way.
Kelly Caldwell, dean of faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City, says prospective writing students are often discouraged from taking writing courses because of concerns about whether a writing life is somehow unattainable or "unrealistic."
Although creative writers are sometimes unable to financially support themselves entirely on the basis of their creative projects, Caldwell says, they often juggle that work with other types of jobs and lead successful careers.
She says that many students in her introductory creative writing class were previously forbidden by parents to study creative writing. "You have to give yourself permission for the simple reason that you want to do it," she suggests.
Creative writing faculty acknowledge that a formal academic credential in creative writing is not needed in order to get writing published. However, they suggest, creative writing programs help aspiring authors develop their writing skills and allow space and time to complete long-term writing projects.
Working writers often juggle multiple projects at once and sometimes have more than one gig, which can make it difficult to finish an especially ambitious undertaking such as a novel, a play for the screen or stage, or a well-assembled collection of poems, short stories or essays. Grants and fellowships for authors are often designed to ensure that those authors can afford to concentrate on their writing.
Samuel Ace, a published poet and a visiting lecturer in poetry at Mount Holyoke, says his goal is to show students how to write in an authentic way that conveys real feeling. "It helps students to become more direct, not to bury their thoughts under a cascade of academic language, to be more forthright," he says.
Tips on Choosing Between a Non-Degree or Degree-Based Creative Writing Program
Experts note that someone needs to be ready to get immersed in the writing process and devote significant time to writing projects before pursuing a creative writing degree. Prospective writing students should not sign up for a degree program until they have reached that sense of preparedness, warns Kim Todd, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts and director of its creative writing program.
She says prospective writing students need to think about their personal goals and figure out if a creative writing degree will help them achieve those goals.
Aspiring writers who are not ready to invest in a creative writing degree program may want to sign up for a one-off writing class or begin participating in an informal writing workshop so they can test their level of interest in the field, Todd suggests.
How to Choose and Apply to a Creative Writing Program
In many cases, the most important component of an application to a writing program is the writing portfolio, writing program experts say. Prospective writing students need to think about which pieces of writing they include in their portfolio and need to be especially mindful about which item they put at the beginning of their portfolio. They should have a trusted mentor critique the portfolio before they submit it, experts suggest.
Because creative writing often involves self-expression, it is important for aspiring writing students to find a program where they feel comfortable expressing their true identity.
This is particularly pertinent to aspiring authors who are members of minority groups, including people of color or LGBTQ individuals, says Lawlor, who identifies as queer, transgender and nonbinary.
How to Use a Creative Writing Degree
Creative writing program professors and alumni say creative writing programs cultivate a variety of in-demand skills, including the ability to communicate effectively.
"While yes, many creative writers are idealists and dreamers, these are also typically highly flexible and competent people with a range of personal strengths. And a good creative writing program helps them understand their particular strengths and marketability and translate these for potential employers, alongside the more traditional craft development work," Melissa Ridley Elmes, an assistant professor of English at Lindenwood University in Missouri, wrote in an email.
Elmes – an author who writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction – says creative writing programs force students to develop personal discipline because they have to consistently produce a significant amount of writing. In addition, participating in writing workshops requires writing students "to give and receive constructive feedback," Elmes says.
Cindy Childress, who has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana—Lafayatte and did a creative writing dissertation where she submitted poetry, says creative writing grads are well-equipped for good-paying positions as advertising and marketing copywriters, speechwriters, grant writers and ghostwriters.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual compensation for writers and authors was $63,200 as of May 2019.
"I think the Internet, and writing communities online and in social media, have been very helpful for debunking the idea that if you publish a New York Times Bestseller you will have 'made it' and can quit your day job and write full time," Elmes explains. "Unless you are independently wealthy, the odds are very much against you in this regard."
Childress emphasizes that creative writing degree recipients have "skills that are absolutely transferable to the real world." For example, the same storytelling techniques that copywriters use to shape public perceptions about a commercial brand are often taught in introductory creative writing courses, she says. The ability to tell a good story does not necessarily come easily to people who haven't been trained on how to do it, she explains.
Childress says she was able to translate her creative writing education into a lucrative career and start her own ghostwriting and book editing company, where she earns a six-figure salary. She says her background in poetry taught her how to be pithy.
"Anything that we want to write nowadays, particularly for social media, is going to have to be immediately understood, so there is a sense of immediacy," she says."The language has to be crisp and direct and exact, and really those are exactly the same kind of ways you would describe a successful poem."
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/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="does cornell have creative writing"> Cornell University --> Graduate School
Creative writing m.f.a. (ithaca), field of study.
English Language and Literature
The M.F.A. Program.
The Creative Writing program in the department of English Language and Literature offers an M.F.A. degree only, with concentrations in either poetry or fiction. Each year the department enrolls only eight students, four in each concentration. Our small size allows us to offer a generous financial support package, details of which are outlined on our department website. At the same time, we have a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical, and cultural fields.
Students participate in a graduate writing workshop each semester and take 6 additional one-semester courses for credit, at least four of them in English or American literature, Comparative Literature, literature in the modern or classical languages, or cultural studies (typically two per semester during the first year and one per semester during the second year). First year students receive practical training by working as Editorial Assistants for Epoch, a periodical of prose and poetry published by the Creative Writing staff of the department. The most significant requirement of the M.F.A. degree is the completion of a book-length manuscript: a collection of poems, short stories, or a novel.
The Special Committee. Every student selects a Special Committee who will be responsible for providing the student with a great deal of individual attention. The University system of Special Committees allows students to design their own courses of study within a broad framework laid down by the department, and it encourages a close working relationship between professors and students, promoting freedom and flexibility in the pursuit of the graduate degree. The student's Special Committee guides and supervises all academic work and assesses progress through a series of meetings with the student.
Teaching. Teaching is considered an integral part of training for the profession. The Field requires a carefully supervised teaching experience as part of the training for the degree. The Department of English, in conjunction with the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines , offers excellent training for beginning teachers and varied and interesting teaching within the university-wide First-Year Writing Program. Graduate students are assigned to writing courses under such general rubrics as "Portraits of the Self," "American Literature and Culture," "The Mystery in the Story," "Shakespeare," and "Cultural Studies," among others. Serving as a Teaching Assistant for a lecture course taught by a member of the Department of English faculty is another way graduate students participate in the teaching of undergraduates.
250 Goldwin Smith Hall Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853
Concentrations by Subject
- creative writing
Application Requirements and Deadlines
Dec. 15 (Fall term admission only)
(includes Graduate School Requirements )
The application must be submitted online. Detailed requirement summaries for applicants are available for download from the graduate pages of the English Department website .
- Application and fee
- Academic Statement of Purpose
- Creative Writing Sample
- Three letters of recommendation
- TOEFL or IELTS (International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language)
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Best Creative Writing Programs
Updated August 12, 2022
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Best creative writing programs in the world.
A creative writing program gives students expert guidance in sharpening their artistic talents. Bachelor's programs teach the basics, while master of fine arts (MFA) and master of arts (MA) in creative writing programs train students advanced skills in story structure, research, and literary devices. This knowledge helps learners excel in writing-related positions.
Writers can work in any industry that relies on written communication. Graduates with creative writing degrees may work in roles like grant writer, author, journalist, scriptwriter, and public relations specialist. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 61% of writers and authors are self-employed.
This guide ranks the best MFA in creative writing programs in the country. This page also covers important information for prospective students, such as common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.
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One of the nation's oldest creative writing programs, UF's master of fine arts in creative writing teaches students about literature and the writing craft. The full-time, international faculty includes novelists, poets, and translators.
The 54-credit, three-year program's requirements include four workshops, three seminars, and a thesis study. Courses focus on topics such as Analyzing Propaganda, Expository and Argumentative Writing, and Writing in the Health Professions.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit official undergraduate/graduate transcripts, references, and a writing sample.
UCF's bachelor of arts in creative writing trains students to become expert communicators, instilling a deep appreciation of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction works. Program graduates qualify for careers in teaching, writing, publishing, or journalism.
Offered both on-campus and online, the program includes general education, cultural foundations, literature courses, and writing classes. Electives include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry writing workshops.
First-time high school graduates must submit official transcripts with a minimum 3.0 GPA and SAT and/or ACT scores. Transfer applicants must submit official transcripts with a 2.0 minimum GPA.
FSU's creative writing program trains students for academia and publishing careers. Award-winning faculty teach the program as part of FSU's bachelor of arts in English degree.
Studies include an advanced writing workshop (which provides training in article, fiction, poetry, and essay writing), pre-1900 British Literature, and literature electives. Students must also demonstrate foreign language proficiency and complete a minor or secondary major in another department.
High school graduates/first-year students may apply by submitting official transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. Essays and are highly recommended but not required. Transfer students must submit transcripts with a minimum 2.0 calculated GPA.
UT's master of fine arts in writing accepts only 12 students and offers full funding to every writer. Taught through the university's Michener Center for Writers, the three-year fellowship program includes workshops and courses, flexible electives, and a thesis in the student's primary field of concentration. Michener students focus on workshops in their primary writing fields, along with secondary studies and electives.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit transcripts, three recommendation letters, a purpose statement, and writing samples. Michener does not require GRE scores.
BYU's master of fine arts in creative writing prepares graduates for teaching and training. Taught by award-winning faculty, the two-year program includes a two-day writing retreat and travel funding to writers' conferences. Graduates qualify for publishing and presentation careers. The 32-credit degree requirements include writing workshops, literature seminars, an optional internship, and a thesis.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in English (or equivalent), have studied an upper-level literary criticism course, and submit academic and creative writing samples, a statement of intent, and recommendation letters.
UW's master of fine arts in creative writing offers emphases in poetry or prose. The program admits 10 to 12 students each year, allowing close associations to develop between peers and faculty. Funding includes a tuition waiver, health insurance, and monthly stipend.
In addition to workshops and critical theory courses, the 55-credit two-year program requires a creative manuscript and critical essay thesis and an oral presentation.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Submission requirements include college/university transcripts, a statement of purpose, critical and creative writing samples, and three recommendation letters.
ASU's master of fine arts in creative writing emphasizes community outreach and one-on-one mentoring, allowing poets and fiction writers to collaborate with award-winning faculty. The school also offers access to professional and developmental opportunities in the publishing field.
The 48-credit program requirements include classes divided between writing and literature courses, a written exam, an applied project.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution, preferably with a concentration in English or creative writing (sometimes waived for writing excellence). Submission requirements include official transcripts (minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA), a purpose statement, resume, recommendation letters, and a creative manuscript.
USF's master of fine arts in creative writing offers small classes, dedicated faculty, and a supportive atmosphere. The program, one of only a few to offer creative writing pedagogy training, accepts approximately nine students annually. Students receive tuition waivers, teaching assistantships, and health insurance.
The 45-credit program consists of writing workshops, craft seminars, pedagogy classes, and literature courses, with a thesis requirement.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in English or a related field with a 3.2 minimum GPA. Submission requirements include recommendation letters (former English instructors preferred), a writing sample, and a personal statement.
U of I's bachelor of arts in English with a creative writing major offers a flexible program that develops students' analytical, editorial, and creative skills. One of the oldest programs of its kind in the country, the degree prepares participants for various careers or graduate study paths.
The curriculum combines small writing workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, with literature courses. Students also publish an annual journal of work alongside studies such as history and culture and Shakespeare.
First-year applicants must hold a high school diploma and submit transcripts and an essay. Transfer applicants must submit transcripts from previously attended colleges or universities (minimum 2.7 GPA ). SAT and ACT scores are considered if submitted.
Taught through FIU's College of Arts, Sciences, and Education, the master of fine arts in creative writing provides the practicing writer with skills to meet professional standards and expectations. The program offers small seminars, in-depth mentoring and an award-winning, dedicated faculty.
Courses include workshops, and poetry, writing, and literature classes. Requirements include completion of a publishable, book-length creative thesis.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution (3.0 minimum GPA), with nine semester hours of creative writing. Submission requirements include a transcript, letter of intent, writing sample, and recommendation letters.
UVA's master of fine arts in creative writing provides students with a diverse and creative writing faculty. The two-year graduate program accepts 10 funded students a year. Many graduates land book contracts, while others qualify for literary jobs.
The 48-credit degree requirements includes a fine arts workshop, literature, and form and theory courses. Students must also complete and defend a thesis and take a one-hour oral exam.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Submission requirements consist of recommendation letters, writing samples, and a statement of purpose.
Truman's bachelor of fine arts with a creative writing major prepares students through a rigorous program, training them to become skilled speakers, writers, and communicators.
The 120-credit undergraduate program divides curriculum between major requirements (including a capstone), writing workshops, literature and theory classes, and literary genre courses. The application requirement can consist of a career seminar, research project, or internship.
First-time students must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores with preference given to those with 16 units in Truman-recommended subjects. Transfer students must submit official transcripts from previous colleges attended, and an admission essay.
UW's master of fine arts in creative writing program emphasizes fiction and poetry. The six students admitted each year receive funding, and the opportunity to study various writing genres. MFAs also interact with a vibrant writing community, including the school's Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows.
The 42-credit program consists of writing workshops and pedagogy, elective courses, and a thesis requirement.
Fiction writers and poets are admitted in alternating years. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree and submit a transcript, three references, a resume, writing sample, and statement of intent.
Iowa State's three-year master of fine arts in creative writing and environment encourages writers to hone their writing skills through creative writing workshops, literature coursework, and one-on-one work with a mentor.
The 54-credit program also includes interdisciplinary courses and field experience outside of the English department, allowing students to pursue fields relevant to writing projects. Students also complete a thesis.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree (3.0 minimum GPA). Submission requirements consist of recommendation letters, a CV or resume, statement of purpose and writing samples.
Ann Arbor, MI
Students involved with U-M's bachelor of arts in English with a creative writing sub-concentration program learn from a faculty comprising award-winning novelists, short-story writers, and poets.
English majors must apply to the creative writing sub-concentration and fulfill Creative Writing and Introduction to Literary Studies prerequisites. Studies focus on American literature, poetry, and fiction, and a required senior creative writing tutorial.
High-school graduates and first-year students must submit school records, a teacher evaluation, and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer applicants must submit high school records, and official transcripts from post-secondary institutions; SAT or ACT scores may be required.
NC State's master of fine arts in creative writing allows students to work with award-winning poets and writers to help hone their craft. The two-year, fully funded program offers participants the opportunity to apprentice under master writers, leading them to become master writers themselves.
The 36-credit program features workshops, and interdisciplinary coursework in literature and advisor-approved free electives, with a final thesis required.
Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions, recommendation letters, personal statements, three references, and creative and critical writing samples.
Established in 1966, U of A's master of fine arts in creative writing degree offers a preeminent training ground for writers, with degree tracks in poetry, fiction, and literary translation. The school admits up to five students in each genre.
The 60-credit curriculum combines workshops and coursework in craft and literary studies, allowing students to develop their own voices while understanding great writers and their works.
Applicants must submit a genre-specific creative writing sample, a critical writing sample, statement of purpose, college transcripts, recommendation letters, GRE scores, and a teaching statement.
The master of fine arts in creative writing at Georgia College provides a fully funded, three-year educational opportunity that focuses on thesis work in the final two years. The award-winning faculty works closely with students, both as teachers and professional mentors.
The 42-credit program offers fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry workshops, requiring students to take cross-genre workshops. Offering an annual Visiting Writers series, the degree also requires journal design and editing courses and a thesis.
Applicants must submit transcripts from previous institutions attended, three recommendation letters, genre writing samples, a statement of purpose, and a resume.
Notre Dame, IN
The ND master of fine arts in creative writing program combines a work focus with engaged pedagogy. The two-year degree emphasizes learning through community, craft, reflection, and teaching.
Requirements for the 36-credit degree consist of workshops, literature studies, a thesis (full-length manuscript), and at least one outside elective. Practicum classes include literary publishing and teaching creative writing.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Submission requirements consist of GRE test scores, a writing sample, statement of intent, recommendation letters, and transcripts.
College Park, MD
The fully funded, UMD master of fine arts in creative writing combines creative and scholarly work with undergraduate teaching and professional opportunities. The program develops and mentors the next generation of poets and fiction writers.
The core curriculum focuses on teaching writing and thesis completion, combined with literary, linguistic, and culture courses, one-on-one mentoring, and personal attention from an award-winning faculty.
Submission requirements consist of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, recommendation letters, a statement of goals, and a creative writing sample.
Online Creative Writing Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
What Is a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Degree?
The best MFA in creative writing programs often include specializations, such as nonfiction, television, or poetry, which allow students to tailor the degree to their interests and career goals. Nonfiction students, for instance, explore memoir and biography writing, while poetry degree-seekers learn about diction and meter.
Creative writing degrees often require students to complete writing projects and receive feedback from professors and peers. These critiques help candidates develop and improve their writing styles.
Choosing a Program
Prospective students should consider factors like cost, transfer policies, and on-campus requirements when researching the best MFA in creative writing programs. Below, we explore these considerations for prospective students.
- Program Cost: Students should make sure school costs, like tuition and fees, fit into their budgets. Choosing a program that's within your budget can lead to fewer student loans and a more comfortable learning experience. Typically, in-state students at public schools pay the lowest tuition rates, though some schools offer in-state tuition for all online students regardless of residency.
- Transfer Policies: Degree-seekers with related experience should consider MFA programs that accept transfer credits. Schools may offer transfer credits for prior coursework or professional experience, which can reduce the length and cost of a degree.
- School Size and Type: A school's size and type affects the learning experience. For instance, small schools typically offer more personalized attention from faculty but fewer program options than larger schools.
- Program Length: The length of a program varies with credit requirements, enrollment status, and learning format. Students should choose a program with a timeline that's aligned with their needs and goals.
- On-Campus Requirements: Some online programs have on-campus requirements, like orientations or seminars, or even whole classes. Students should ensure they can meet all on-campus requirements before committing to a program.
- Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: MFA in creative writing programs often have thesis, work, or capstone requirements that need significant time investments. Prospective learners should choose a program with requirements that align with their goals and interests.
What Else Can I Expect From a Creative Writing Program?
Creative writing curricula vary by program and often include specializations. Required classes can also vary by degree type, with MFA in creative writing programs focusing heavily on practical writing courses and MA programs focusing more on literature reviews and critiques. These degrees also lead to different careers; for example, an MA prepares students for teaching careers, while an MFA prepares students to work as authors.
The following sections outline common courses found in these programs and factors that can affect the length of a creative writing degree.
Online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Curriculum
In this course, learners study poetic elements and tools, like rhyme, rhythm, and metaphor. Students learn how to analyze poems for meaning and complete original works that help them develop their writing styles. Students may also learn about the characteristics of different poetry types, such as sonnets and haikus.
his course covers various aspects of the publishing industry, including traditional publishing and self-publishing. Students explore legal, technical, and economic publishing factors and learn to build marketing plans and edit book drafts. Students may also learn how to write query letters and book proposals for publishers.
Contemporary World Literature
Students in this class learn about literary movements in modern history, such as postmodernism and magic realism. They also analyze pieces for meaning while considering how factors like gender can impact interpretation. This course may also address how writing genres have developed over time.
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Creative Writing Program?
Full-time students often complete MFA programs within two years, but many factors can alter the length of a degree. For example, some schools may offer courses in eight- or 10-week terms rather than traditional 16-week terms. This format often allows students to expedite graduation.
Additionally, creative writing degrees with more credit requirements typically take longer to complete. However, some programs permit students to take course loads that exceed full-time, which can expedite graduation times.
Fully online programs may use synchronous or asynchronous formats for coursework. Synchronous courses require students to log on at set meeting times, while asynchronous courses let students complete coursework at their convenience within set deadlines. Often, the flexibility of asynchronous programs allows students to graduate faster than they would in synchronous programs.
Creative Writing Careers
MFA programs prepare students to write and edit for various industries and media. For instance, graduates may report news as newspaper journalists or create stories as science fiction authors. They may also write press releases, speeches, or how-to manuals for careers in public relations, politics, or computer science . Any organization that uses written communication can benefit from hiring employees with creative writing degrees.
Professional options for graduates also go beyond writing careers. For instance, master's program graduates may work as higher education teachers. However, many schools require professors to hold a doctoral degree. MFA programs provide a solid foundation for doctoral programs.
Writers may write nonfiction or fiction pieces for different purposes and industries. For instance, they may write advertisements for companies, publish recipes on a blog, or write fictional stories for books and movies. Writers often need to conduct research for topic accuracy and must be able to shape written pieces to fit client needs. Professional writers may work for one company or they may freelance for several organizations. Ideal traits for writers include creativity and flexibility. Writers should also be detail-oriented and excel at time management.
Median Annual Salary
Projected Growth Rate
College professors teach classes for postsecondary students. Their responsibilities include building syllabi, delivering lectures, and administering and grading coursework. Professors may also suggest textbooks or curriculum changes in their departments to increase program quality. Other responsibilities may include conducting and publishing research, helping students choose courses, and attending field conferences. They must excel in written and oral communication and be comfortable working with technology.
Editors review documents to ensure factual accuracy, grammar, clarity, and structure. Editors may also make publication and layout choices for companies or offer authors brainstorming guidance. They may work full time in magazine, newspaper, book, or blog publishing or they may freelance with several companies. Typically, organizations require editors to hold a related degree for full-time employment. Editors need strong written communication, organizational, and time management skills.
Journalists write news pieces for newspapers, blogs, and television reports. They often conduct their own research, interview witnesses or experts, brainstorm story ideas, and pitch stories to their managers for approval. Journalists often follow stories for weeks or months to provide updates, and they must ensure pieces adhere to their publisher's standards. They typically need a related degree, like creative writing or journalism, and strong research, writing, and editing skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with a master's in creative writing.
Graduates with a creative writing degree can pursue nonfiction and fiction writing careers in various industries. They can also teach writing concepts to higher education students or pursue careers in journalism or business.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's Degree in Creative Writing?
Program duration varies based on transfer policies, course structure, and credit requirements. In general, though, candidates can earn an MFA in creative writing with about two years of full-time study.
Is a Master's Degree in Creative Writing Worth It?
Many writing and editing careers only call for a bachelor's. However, a master's verifies advanced knowledge and skills and provides opportunities for networking, which can increase career opportunities. Additionally, college writing professors need at least a master's degree .
What's the Difference Between a Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts?
An MFA focuses more on practical applications than an MA. Specifically, creative writing MFA programs include more writing-intensive courses, while MA programs focus more on literature reviews and assessments of other writers' work.
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The Creative Writing Concentration
The Creative Writing Program's sequential course of study and small workshops allow students to pursue and develop their craft from the introductory level to the advanced. The creative writing experience at Dartmouth combines intensive writing workshops with the study of literature from a writer's perspective.
Major Concentration in Creative Writing
The Concentration in Creative Writing does not change graduating requirements for students majoring in English, but is a prerequisite for honors with a focus in creative writing.
For students prior to and including the Class of 2022 , the Concentration consists of four courses taken as part of an English major plan of study as follows:
- Students must pass one prerequisite course, CRWT 10 (formerly ENGL 80), CRWT 11 (formerly ENGL 81, or CRWT 12 (formerly ENGL 82).
- Students then enroll in one intermediate course, CRWT 20 (formerly ENGL 83), CRWT 21 (formerly ENGL 84), or CRWT 22 (formerly ENGL 85).
- The third course can be chosen from any Creative Writing course numbered between CRWT 10 and 89 (formerly ENGL 80-ENGL 89) ; (substitute courses from other departments will be considered).
- The fourth course can be in any genre of contemporary literature or another course numbered between CRWT 10 and 89 (formerly ENGL 80-ENGL 89) ; (again, substitute courses from other departments will be considered).
Students who elect to do Honors in Creative Writing can use CRWT 98 (or ENGL 98 for class years up to 2018) for either the third or fourth course in the concentration.
For students in the Class of 2023 and beyond , the Concentration consists of four courses taken as part of an English major plan of study as follows:
- One introductory course, CRWT 10, CRWT 11, or CRWT 12 . (Only one introductory creative writing course may count toward the Concentration in Creative Writing.)
- One intermediate course, CRWT 20, CRWT 21, or CRWT 22 .
- One course from the range of creative writing special topics seminars, CRWT 40 and CRWT 41 . (Substitute courses with a focus on creative writing from other departments may be considered. Please consult with the Director of Creative Writing.)
- One advanced workshop, CRWT 60, CRWT 61, or CRWT 62 . The advanced workshop is a requirement for the completion of the Concentration in Creative Writing.
Introductory Creative Writing Courses
These courses offer workshops in fiction, poetry and literary nonfiction. They are designed for students who have little or no previous experience in creative writing. Students are introduced to each genre via a range of technical and imaginative exercises, extensive readings of contemporary literature, and lively class discussions. Students eventually produce their own writing for class critique.
CRWT 10 (formerly ENGL 80). Writing and Reading Fiction
An introductory workshop and reading course in fiction, designed to allow students to work in all fictive modes. Each week students will consider different aspects of writing, and the various elements integral to the genre. Seminar-sized classes meet for discussion and include individual conferences. Dist: ART .
Permission of the instructor is required. Students must submit their application by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the previous term (last day of spring term for fall term). CRWT 10 application
CRWT 11 (formerly ENGL 81). Writing and Reading Creative Nonfiction
An introductory workshop and reading course in creative nonfiction— a hybrid genre of journalism, memoir, and fictional and poetic techniques, also known as the art of fact. Each week students will consider different aspects of writing, and the various elements integral to the genre. Seminar-sized classes meet for discussion and include individual conferences. Dist: ART.
CRWT 12 (formerly ENGL 82). Writing and Reading Poetry
An introductory workshop and reading course in poetry. Each week students will consider different aspects of writing, and the various elements integral to the genre. Seminar-sized classes meet for discussion, and include individual conferences. Dist: ART .
Permission of the instructor is required. Students must submit their application by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the previous term (last day of spring term for fall term). CRWT 12 application
Intermediate Creative Writing Courses
Students who wish to enroll in an intermediate creative writing course must complete the appropriate " How to Apply to CRWT 20, 21, or 22 (formerly English 83, 84 or 85) " form, available here and in the English and Creative Writing Department office. They should also submit a five to eight page writing sample, as stated in each of the course descriptions below. Materials should be submitted, electronically, to the instructor. Deadline for equal consideration for admittance is the last day of classes in the term preceding the course. Late applications will be accepted, but held until the add/drop period and reviewed if vacancies occur. Students should then register for three other courses, not including the Creative Writing course. Students accepted into Creative Writing 20, 21, or 22 will be notified before the first day of class. To secure their spot in the class, students must be present at the first meeting.
CRWT 20 (formerly 83). Intermediate Workshop in Fiction
Continued work in the writing of fiction. The class proceeds by means of group workshops, individual conferences with the instructor, and reading across the genre. Students will read with the eye of a writer to explore how a work is constructed and how the elements of craft come together to create a successful whole. The process of revision is emphasized.
Permission of the instructor is required. Students must submit a 5-8 page writing sample along with their application by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the previous term (last day of spring term for fall term). These materials should be submitted electronically to the instructor. Dist: ART . How to Apply to CRWT 20, 21, or 22
CRWT 21 (formerly 84). Intermediate Workshop in Creative Nonfiction
Continued work in the writing of creative nonfiction, including literary journalism, investigative memoir, the lyric essay, and documentary. The class proceeds by means of group workshops, individual conferences with the instructor, and reading across the genre. Students will read with the eye of a writer to explore how a work is constructed and how the elements of craft come together to create a successful whole. The processes of research and revision are emphasized.
CRWT 22 (formerly 85). Intermediate Workshop in Poetry
Continued work in the writing of poetry, focusing on the development of craft, image and voice. The class proceeds by means of group workshops on student writing, individual conferences with the instructor and reading across the genre. Students will read with the eye of a writer to explore how a work is constructed and how the elements of craft come together to create a successful whole. The process of revision is emphasized.
Permission of the instructor is required. Students must submit a 5-8 page writing sample along with their application by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the previous term (last day of spring term for fall term). These materials should be submitted electronically to the instructor. Dist: ART . How to Apply to CRWT 20, 21, or 22
Advanced Creative Writing Courses
Crwt 60, 61, and 62 (formerly 86). senior workshops in creative writing (fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry).
An advanced workshop for seniors who wish to undertake a manuscript of fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry. Students must submit an 8-12 page writing sample to the instructor by the LAST DAY OF CLASSES of the term preceding the term in which they wish to enroll (last day of spring term for fall term) . Please include your name, class year, and major. Prerequisite: CRWT 20, 21, or 22 (formerly English 83, 84 or 85) depending on the genre of the workshop offered. Dist: ART . Application
CRWT 40, 41 (formerly ENGL 87). Special Topics Courses in Creative Writing
These courses are offered periodically, concentrating on particular issues in one or more of the fields of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Courses may require creative and critical papers and include workshops. Enrollment is limited to 18. Dist: ART .
CRWT 89 (formerly ENGL 89)
Creative writing independent project.
A tutorial course to be designed by the student with the assistance of a faculty supervisor. This course is intended for the purpose of producing a manuscript of fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry during the student's senior year. Prerequisite: normally reserved for seniors who have completed at least two workshops in the designated genre of their project. Dist: ART .
Students should submit their completed application along with a writing sample (15-20 pages of fiction/creative nonfiction; 6-8 poems) to the Department Administrator by Monday, October 24, 2022 if they intend to do an independent project during the winter or spring terms of the 2022-23 academic year. The writing sample should speak to student's intended project.
Honors in Creative Writing
Please refer to the Honors website for more information.
Creative Writing Course Applications
- CRWT 10, CRWT 12 application
- How to Apply to CRWT 20, 21, or 22
- How to Apply to CRWT 60, 61, or 62
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Cornell University MA in Creative Writing
Creative Writing is a concentration offered under the writing studies major at Cornell University. We’ve pulled together some essential information you should know about the master’s degree program in creative writing, including how many students graduate each year, the ethnic diversity of these students, whether or not the degree is offered online, and more.
If there’s something special you’re looking for, you can use one of the links below to find it:
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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
MFA in Creative Writing - Online
Embrace your passion for storytelling and learn the professional writing skills you'll need to succeed with our online MFA in Creative Writing. Write your novel or short story collection while earning a certificate in the Online Teaching of Writing or Professional Writing, with no residency requirement.
MA in English & Creative Writing
Refine your writing skills and take a step toward furthering your career with this online master's from Southern New Hampshire University.
Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction
Harness your passion for storytelling with SNHU's Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction. In this small, two-year creative writing program, students work one-on-one with our distinguished faculty remotely for most of the semester but convene for weeklong intensive residencies in June and January. At residencies, students critique each other's work face-to-face, meet with major authors, agents and editors and learn how to teach at the college level.
How Much Does a Master’s in Creative Writing from Cornell Cost?
Cornell graduate tuition and fees.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, part-time graduate students at Cornell paid an average of $0 per credit hour. No discount was available for in-state students. The following table shows the average full-time tuition and fees for graduate student.
Does Cornell Offer an Online MA in Creative Writing?
Cornell does not offer an online option for its creative writing master’s degree program at this time. To see if the school offers distance learning options in other areas, visit the Cornell Online Learning page.
Cornell Master’s Student Diversity for Creative Writing
Women made up around 75.0% of the creative writing students who took home a master’s degree in 2019-2020. This is higher than the nationwide number of 66.6%.
Of those graduates who received a master’s degree in creative writing at Cornell in 2019-2020, 37.5% were racial-ethnic minorities*. This is higher than the nationwide number of 24%.
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
More about our data sources and methodologies .
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Creative Writing and Literature
Students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program in Creative Writing & Literature will develop skills in creative writing and literary analysis through literature courses and writing workshops in fiction, screenwriting, poetry, and nonfiction. Through online group courses and one-on-one tutorials, as well as a week on campus, students hone their craft and find their voice.
How to Write the Cornell Supplemental Essays: Examples + Guide 2022/2023
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What are the cornell supplemental essay prompts.
- How to write each supplemental essay prompt for Cornell University
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
- Prompt #1: Short Answers
- Prompt #2: “What energizes you” Essay
College of Arts and Sciences
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
College of Engineering
- Prompt #1: Short answers about you
- Prompt #2: Short answers about engineering
- Prompt #3: Multiple options
College of Human Ecology
School of Industrial and Labor Relations
What’s the meaning of life? Answer in 150 characters. That’s what a lot of supplemental essay prompts can feel like: Too much content to fit in a tiny amount of space. The Cornell essays are a bit different.
Sure, on the Cornell essays, you’re still going to find a lot of the same themes you see from other schools. However, the Cornell writing supplement asks you to apply to a specific school, and most give you 650 words (the length of a whole personal statement) to explain what you bring to the table. That gives you a little bit more wiggle room than the average application.
If that doesn’t make you feel better and you’re still scared to start writing, that’s okay too. We’re here to help.
In the online Common Application Writing Supplement, please respond to the essay question below (maximum of 650 words) that corresponds to the undergraduate college or school to which you are applying.
Brooks School of Public Policy
Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals? (650 words)
Required: Why are you drawn to studying the major you have selected? Please discuss how your interests and related experiences have influenced your choice. Specifically, how will an education from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and Cornell University help you achieve your academic goals? (650 words)
Optional: At Cornell CALS, we aim to leave the world better than we found it, so we seek out those who are not simply driven to master their discipline, but who are also passionate about doing so to serve the public good. Please elaborate on an activity or experience you have had that made an impact on a community that is important to you. We encourage you to think about community broadly - this could include family, school, or local and global communities (300-word limit).
Optional: The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is dedicated to the exploration of the agricultural, life, environmental, and social sciences and welcomes students with interests that span a wide variety of disciplines. Given our agricultural history and commitment to educating the next generation of agriculturalists, please share if you have a background in agriculture or are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture. (300 words)
Select all that apply: My family owns or operates a farm I have experience working in agriculture I have interest in pursuing a career in agriculture
1) What three words best describe you? (30 characters per word)
2) What is your "thing"? What energizes you or engages you so deeply that you lose track of time? Everyone has different passions, obsessions, quirks, inspirations. What are yours? (650 words)
Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into multifaceted academic interests, embodying in 21st century terms Ezra Cornell’s “any person…any study” founding vision. Tell us about the areas of study you are excited to explore, and specifically why you wish to pursue them in our College. (650 words)
What kind of a business student are you? Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should convey how your interests align with the school(s) to which you are applying within the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business (Dyson School and/or School of Hotel Administration) (650 words)
2) What are three words you would use to describe Cornell Engineering? (30 characters per word)
Instructions: All applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Each has a limit of 250 words. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B.
Essay 1 Required response (250 word limit) How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about.
Essay 2 Choose either Question A and Question B. (250 word limit) Question A: Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem. Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?
How has your decision to apply to the College of Human Ecology been influenced by your related experiences? How will your choice of major impact your goals and plans for the future? (650 words)
Using your personal, academic, or volunteer/work experiences, describe the topics or issues that you care about and why they are important to you. Your response should show us that your interests align with the ILR School. (650 words)
How to Write each Supplemental Essay Prompt for Cornell University
How to write the “why us” essays for cornell.
Sure, 650 words can be daunting. But that also means you have tons of space to inject your own personality and creativity into the mix.
While all the Cornell prompts ask slightly different things, they essentially boil down to the same questions:
What excites you intellectually and extracurricularly?
How do your experiences reflect that excitement?
How will you bring those skills or experiences to Cornell?
And while we’ll look at the prompt for the College of Arts and Sciences as an example, the tips below apply to the other Cornell prompts.
Here’s the prompt one more time: Students in Arts and Sciences embrace the opportunity to delve into their academic interests, discover new realms of intellectual inquiry, and chart their own path through the College. Tell us why the depth, breadth, and flexibility of our curriculum are ideally suited to exploring the areas of study that excite you.
This is your classic “Why us?” essay, but it asks you to be a bit more specific about a particular part of Cornell College of Arts and Sciences. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to getting started:
Spend 1 hr+ researching 10+ reasons why Cornell might be a great fit for you (ideally 3-5 of the reasons will be unique to Cornell and connect back to you).
Use this chart to map out your research.
Create an outline based on either Approach 1, 2 (recommended), or 3.
Bonus points: Write a first draft!
Some tips before you start writing your essay:
Remember that this is not just another personal statement. Don’t repeat ideas that readers can find in other parts of your application. Bring something fresh to the table or add new dimensions to topics you’ve already mentioned.
Don’t feel pressured to use all 650 words, but take advantage of how much space Cornell gives you . As you’ll see in the example below, great essays don’t need to reach the word limit to do their job. Sometimes, in fact, less is more.
Be specific. Whenever possible, offer memorable details or specific experiences. Don’t just say you like science. Name the particular areas that interest you, what classes you’ve taken to foster your interest, what research you’ve done, how you’ve brought that interest to a certain community, or offer a (short!) specific story you associate with that interest. In addition, a little descriptive language (you’ll see some in the example below) can help the reader understand you in a more visceral way. In other words, the way you describe something is just as important as what you’re describing.
Show the reader you know your stuff. Cornell explicitly requires students to apply to a specific college. While you could include (perhaps at the end) a few details on why you’re interested in Cornell in general, be sure to first share the specific programs, classes, clubs, events, and professors you’re interested in at the specific school you’re applying to .
Lastly, have some fun with it. Don’t let a dull prompt prevent you from getting creative. As you’ll see in the example below, some of the most impressive essays are the ones where applicants think outside the box.
Without further ado, here’s a great essay sample for this prompt:
Dear Cornell, When I discovered you, first through Andy Bernard’s resounding a cappella in The Office and then by your amazing stem cell research, I couldn’t help but think how perfect we’d be together. I would chart an educational path centered on interdisciplinary learning in your collaborative community, merging stem cells with linguistics; biology with beatboxing; outdoor adventure with poetry. Cornell offers unique opportunities to expand my medical research interests. Advanced classes like the Regulation of Cell Proliferation, Senescence, and Death—one of the few classes in the country offered on epigenetic regulation and signal transduction-induced pluripotency—perfectly match my interests in stem cells. I am excited by the work of Dr. Brian Rudd at the Cornell Stem Cell Program, as it will allow me to build on my previous work in CRISPR-mediated T-cell development. To my knowledge, similar research is not being conducted anywhere else in the world, and I hope to study signaling pathways and T-cell development under his guidance. Although I have remained focused on stem cell research, I also have great aspirations beyond molecular biology. A double minor in economics and linguistics will allow me to study interdisciplinary mechanisms and examine humanistic issues through a cultural lens. I relish analyzing market trends as my high school’s Investment Team co-leader, and look forward to courses like Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, which will help me build a theoretical understanding of financial markets and relate individual behavior to public policy. A minor in linguistics will further my seven-year-long Spanish journey, and I look forward to academic opportunities encompassing Spanish poetry and poetry of the Americas. While I may not be the archetype paper salesman (think Andy!), I too share a special connection with Cornell A Cappella. Many a middle school car ride were spent listening to Cornell Tarana, and it feels surreal that I may be experiencing campus life with the group I’ve loved and admired for so long. I hope to merge my background in beatboxing and Hindustani Classical music by singing with Tarana, learning from peers and sharing my love of South Asian music with the Cornell community. A kid who grew up racing Hot Wheels on top of my mother’s medical books, medicine was always prevalent in my life. Medicine now excites me because it is a perfect balance between intense scientific inquiry and dedicated personal connection. With Cornell’s unique interdisciplinary environment, I would have the ability to expand my endeavors in medicine, develop a global view of community healthcare, and explore new avenues essential to my diverse aspirations. Oh, Cornell, you are gorges. I long to hold your hand as I walk along the Beebe’s scenic waterfront, take in picturesque sunsets on the Slope, put on awesome Tarana concerts on your hallowed ground. It is the perfect harmony of research, music, and holistic approach to my aspirations, that tells me you are the ideal place to nurture me into a globally aware physician-scientist! Sincerely, [Student Name]
Tips + Analysis
Be creative and add personality. This essay is essentially a love letter from the applicant to the College of Arts and Sciences. The author is able to weave her skills and experience into a really engaging structure that showcases both her sense of humor and playful nature.
Even if we didn’t look too closely at the substance of this essay, we’d get a sense of who the author is just by how she approached the prompt and the way she chose to frame her answer. She loves watching The Office and has fond memories of racing Hot Wheels . Those details may not seem important, but they give us a fuller picture of who this person is and what kind of energy she would bring to a community.
Just because the prompts here are relatively generic doesn’t mean your answer should be. Invest some time in thinking about how you can stand out, and inject personality into your answer.
Combine the unconventional. The best essays come out of nowhere. They take ideas, disciplines, and experiences that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with one another and somehow make them seem like the perfect combination.
We wouldn’t necessarily expect one person to enjoy “biology and beatboxing,” but through the course of the essay, the author shows us how her love of both can be fostered at Cornell.
Be specific. Clearly, this applicant has done her research. She references specific programs, clubs, and classes she would like to explore if she were admitted. If you’re a Cornell admission reader, the specificity of those references makes you feel the student values the school. That’s why it’s so important to look through a college’s website before you apply. Think about your core values or what resources you absolutely need in a college setting, then try to find places for that within Cornell. Doing that research pays off in the long run.
How to Write the short answer essays for Cornell
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning: What three words best describe you? (30 characters per word)
Get creative. These don’t all need to be adjectives. Also, hyphenated words of your own creation or short three-word phrases (like “nerdy animal whisperer”) are fair game. Just watch the per-word character count.
Here’s how other students have handled this type of prompt.
1. Sister 2. Athleisure-lover 3. Hermione
1. Hungry 2. Petrichor 3. Retrouvailles
1. Nocturnal 2. Expressive 3. Nurturing
How to Write the Cornell University College of Engineering Short Answer Prompts #1 & #2
1) What three words best describe you? (30 characters per word) 2) What are three words you would use to describe Cornell Engineering? (30 characters per word)
See tips and advice above for the same “three words that best describe you” above—they apply to both these prompts, which are new this year for the Cornell College of Engineering. Short answer questions like these are kinda common for elite colleges (in fact, USC has the exact same “three words best describe you” prompt), so you may run into more of these on your college application journey. If so, you may find this comprehensive guide to the short answer questions helpful.
How to Write the Cornell University College of Engineering Essay Prompt #3
Students applying to the College of Engineering must submit two essays, responding to two of the three essay prompts provided here. Each response should be no longer than 250 words. Please select the two essay prompts that you will respond to below: Instructions: All applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Each has a limit of 250 words. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B. Essay 1: Required response (250 word limit) How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about. Essay 2: Choose either Question A and Question B. (250 word limit) Question A: Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem. Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?
Essay 1: Required response (250 word limit) How do your interests directly connect with Cornell Engineering? If you have an intended major, what draws you to that department at Cornell Engineering? If you are unsure what specific engineering field you would like to study, describe how your general interest in engineering most directly connects with Cornell Engineering. It may be helpful to concentrate on one or two things that you are most excited about.
You can treat this as a “Why us?” essay, with some optional “Why Major” flavoring—focus mostly on really specific details of what Cornell offers and how it fits with your interests and values. Because the word count is fairly short, if you want to include some Why Major details, you can, but probably keep them brief, so you can mostly focus on why you and Cornell will make a great team.
Here’s a nice example from a past student. Note that this was written when the prompt had a longer word count, but the approach to Cornell-specific details and “so what” are what you want to focus on here.
At its heart, Cornell is a research institution; at my heart, I am a researcher. With a focus in the control of multi-agent robotic systems, especially drawing inspiration from insect swarm mechanics, the Collective Embodied Intelligence Lab would be the perfect place to apply what I have learned from my own work in that area, while learning from Dr. Petersen and her groundbreaking research in termite-inspired construction robots. I think we could have some very interesting conversations since I have spent the last two years studying firefly swarm behaviors for my science fair projects. I also hope to work in the Autonomous Systems Lab under Professor Campbell and Professor Kress-Gazit as I would love to use their armada of autonomous segway robots as a platform for research. In addition to Cornell’s reputation for research, what really struck me was its unique commitment to project teams. Upon researching the teams, I realized I wanted to join all of them. Take Baja for example; the prospect of building an off-road vehicle from scratch is reminiscent of FTC competitions. Though I am well-versed in CAD, wiring, and chassis building, I’m excited to tackle bigger problems with even more freedom for creativity. On the other end of the project team spectrum is Cornell Autonomous Bicycle. From developing self-correcting gyroscopic balancing mechanisms to the physics of bicycle motion, this team faces several unique challenges. After watching YouTube videos about their work, I have discovered a few ways to improve the design. Although steering of the front wheel is the team’s primary method of bicycle balancing, I wonder if robotic arms could also be incorporated in order to improve balance and allow for more complex maneuvers. (Hopefully we can have that discussion in person). Cornell Engineering’s new website CollabSpace was initially confusing to me because it seemed like a rebranding of instructables. But the more I’ve explored, the more I’ve realized what a unique and collaborative community Cornell is building. The projects on CollabSpace are held to far higher standards than most Maker websites. The fact that students at Cornell have the time, resources, and interest to pursue their own maker projects shows me that Cornell’s engineering program is truly supportive and inspiring. CollabSpace shows a dedication to the maker community that I am, and will continue to be, a part of. Between mentoring new members of my high school robotics team, working with my younger brother on science fair projects, and teaching engineering to elementary schoolers through an LEF grant, I’ve had ample opportunity to pass on what I’ve learned. Through the CURB organization’s mentorship programs and poster forums, among other things, I will get to develop my passion for teaching. I’ve found that teaching is intrinsically tied to leadership, so I also plan to join the Cornell Engineering Leadership Program. And, as if that weren’t enough, Cornell also has its own sustainable farm. This is also a passion of mine, having spent five summers volunteering at Gaining Ground Organic Farm. I look forward to volunteering and learning from new innovations at Dilmun Hill. I’m especially excited about the new movable high tunnel installed last year because I’ve seen firsthand how effective they have been at Gaining Ground. The farm’s other innovation, an irrigation renovation project, also includes a call for design proposals for a solar-powered fertigation unit. Answering the call is a perfect challenge for me: one that harmonizes two of my passions while simultaneously giving back to the community and the planet. With all that, I only have one problem with Cornell: its lack of a robot soccer team. But as my tour guide mentioned, anyone can start a club that doesn’t yet exist; I fully intend to add “coach” to my resume.
Get super specific. You don’t necessarily have to find things that are truly unique to Cornell, but that’s the direction to aim: Find specific classes, professors, and programs that align with your specific engineering interests, and show through your discussion of why you connect with them that you and Cornell fit perfectly. Speaking of which …
Show you belong together. One way we sometimes joke about “Why us” essays is that you’re trying to show the school why their online dating profile and your online dating profile are perfect for each other—you’re going to make a great couple. To that end, details like “ Dr. Petersen and her groundbreaking research in termite-inspired construction robots ” paired with “ since I have spent the last two years studying firefly swarm behaviors for my science fair project ” are a great way to show both that this student really did their homework about the school, and that they’re ready to dive in and be an engaged member of its academic community.
Essay 2: Choose either Question A and Question B. (250 word limit)
Question A: Describe an engineering problem that impacts your local community. This could be your school, neighborhood, town, region, or a group you identify with. Describe one to three things you might do as an engineer to solve the problem.
Question B: Diversity in all forms is intrinsic to excellence in engineering. Engineering the best solutions to complex problems is often achieved by drawing from the diverse ingenuity of people from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and identities. How do you see yourself contributing to the diversity and/or the inclusion of the Cornell Engineering community? What is the unique voice you would bring to the Cornell Engineering community?
Question A is fairly straightforward—what’s a problem some level of your society faces that you believe could be addressed through engineering.
We’d recommend spending some time trying to think of problems that other students are less likely to mention. And you only have 250 words, so probably focus on a problem that you can adequately address. Meaning that, while something like climate change is a noble goal to help solve, it’s probably tougher for this essay. But a super specific aspect of it? That could work. Similarly, poor infrastructure is going to lend itself to broad, possibly bland writing. But I want to use civil engineering techniques to turn dangerous intersections in my town into safer, more environmentally friendly roundabouts ? Cool.
The example below is taken from an essay written for a USC Engineering prompt, but would fit nicely here.
Every school year, I walk around campus, arms and backpack chock full of heavy textbooks. In the classroom, I read the textbook, review a lesson, and complete a worksheet. Rinse and repeat. And not just me: nearly every other student has had this experience. Enter personalized learning. Personalized learning could mean allowing students to master concepts at their own pace, or it could refer to computer programs designed to match one’s personality. For example, some learn kinesthetically, while others learn visually. The possibilities to unlock true learning potential through personalized learning are endless. As an engineer, I want to develop teaching methods that help both the young and the old acquire new skills and enhance learned ones. Through computer science, I can devise an intelligent tutoring system. And after designing a personality quiz, I can create an algorithm to match the student’s preferred learning style and determine which multimedia is best to teach them. Although I personally do not have a learning disability, a close friend suffers from autism. Surprisingly, if you met him, you probably could not tell. From a young age, he was placed in a regular classroom, not a special ed one. As an extrovert, this personalized learning system enabled him to be a social butterfly while also learning at his own pace. Therefore, I believe that by advancing personalized learning experiences and minimizing inflexibility in education programs, we can reduce perceived learning disabilities. The future of intelligence will be much more well-rounded and diversified.
— — —
Structure and clarity are your friends. You don’t have a ton of space here, so if you want to include some kind of hook, you can, but feel free to pretty quickly and clearly show us how you’re answering the prompt. The example essay clearly sets up the problem and why the student feels it’s important to address. They then offer us a glimpse of what the world could look like if we solved this problem, and detail a few different ways in which engineering (and CS) could be used to lead us to this world. And the personal example at the end shows us that this is already something we can achieve—we just need people (like the author) to go and do it.
Show your values. In particular, take a look at your personal statement and the other supplements Cornell is getting. Scan through them and see what values you’re showing. Are any missing? (Or if you don’t have a clear sense of how to define your values, head here for the Values Exercise .) Use this prompt to highlight some values that we maybe aren’t seeing fully, or at all, elsewhere in your application. Above, for example, we can see values like social progress, learning, growth …
Regarding Question B, many schools have a supplemental essay prompt that asks students to reflect on their experiences and demonstrate, essentially, how those experiences would allow them to add to the diversity of a college community. This one is similar, but it asks you to think particularly about the role of diversity in the engineering community and profession.
One common question or confusion is what exactly schools mean by “diversity.” While this can refer to things like ethnicity, class, or sexuality, and those can be strong topics to write about, don’t feel like diversity is limited to these. Instead, think expansively—what is a perspective that you’d bring to campus, particularly one that others might not? If you’re interested in a more specific look into what exactly “diversity” means, check out this post .
One great way to start thinking about what you would bring to Cornell’s engineering community is to brainstorm communities you’re a part of. And remember, community can mean a lot of different things. It can be places you’ve interacted with, actions you’ve taken, interests you’ve pursued, circumstances you’ve been in, or identities you inhabit. After you’ve brainstormed a list of these, connect them back to engineering. How might your identity as a queer Asian-American influence the way you conceptualize projects? How might your obsession with badminton affect how you work in group settings? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself. Then, once you’re starting to see some clear connections between the community you’re a part of and the perspectives you bring to engineering, you can start writing. Don’t be afraid to write it long and cut it shorter after you’ve gotten everything important on paper. Just let the ideas flow and use your brainstorming to guide you.
Special thanks to Luci for contributing to this post.
Luci is an audiophile and storyteller with a love of all things radio and writing. In the wild, you might catch her struggling through a NY Times crossword puzzle, snuggling her abnormally fluffy dog Oreo, or saying her favorite expression “cool beans.” Crosswords, cute dogs, cool beans. What more could you ask for?
Top values: Interpersonal connections | humor | openness to new experience
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For more information, contact: [email protected] The award-winning national literary journal EPOCH is published by the Department of Literatures in English and the Creative Writing Program. EPOCH publishes fiction, poetry, essays, comics, and graphic art.
The Creative Writing Program offers the MFA degree, with a concentration in either poetry or fiction. MFA students pursue intensive study with distinguished faculty committed to creative and intellectual achievement. Each year the department enrolls only eight MFA students, four in each concentration.
Creative Writing | The College of Arts & Sciences Creative Writing With a minor in creative writing, you'll take five courses in creative writing, literature and cultural studies. You can concentrate in a single genre (fiction or poetry), or freely study both. minor Learn more Program website Associated interests Language and culture Literature
Course description. An introductory course in the theory, practice, and reading of fiction, poetry, and allied forms. Both narrative and verse readings are assigned. Students will learn to savor and practice the craft of poetry and narrative writing, developing techniques that inform both. Some class meetings may feature peer review of student ...
Cornell offers nearly 80 formal major fields, listed below, as well as challenging dual-degree programs and a score of interdisciplinary majors that cross traditional departmental boundaries.
Because Cornell's writing seminars may expect a greater range of writing abilities than many students have exposure to in high school, the Knight Institute offers a FWS Writing Consultation to give students an opportunity to discover how well current writing skills fit into what Cornell expects.
Students have recently held Cornell Fellowships at Creative Materials in Huntington Beach, California (creating teaching materials), and Westview Press in Boulder, Colorado (academic texts), as well as internships with IowaWatch.org (journalism), ESPN 100, Chautauqua Writers' Center (arts administration in creative writing), Phantom Graphics …
Cornell First-Year Writing Supplement Please see the instructions on Cornell's Admissions website at admissions.cornell.edu/apply/first-year-applicants prior to completing the Cornell University Questions and Writing Supplement in the My Colleges section of the Common Application.
Creative Writing Professional Degrees Professional degrees prepare students to practice their profession at an advanced level, to teach the subject matter of their profession, or to pursue original investigations into its functions, administration, history, and progress. M.F.S. (Master of Food Science), 1 year
Creative writing faculty acknowledge that a formal academic credential in creative writing is not needed in order to get writing published. However, they suggest, creative writing...
All students interested in studying creative writing within the English Department are advised to enroll in English 223: Introduction to Creative Writing. After that (or a comparable prerequisite), we offer 300- and 400-level workshops in fiction and poetry and (our newest offering) creative non-fiction.
Website: https://english.cornell.edu/creative-writing-program Email: [email protected] Phone: 607-254-3471 250 Goldwin Smith Hall Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 Concentrations by Subject creative writing Tuition $29,500 Application Requirements and Deadlines Application Deadlines: Dec. 15 (Fall term admission only) Requirements Summary:
Tuition. $11313. Graduation Rate. 88%. View School Profile. One of the nation's oldest creative writing programs, UF's master of fine arts in creative writing teaches students about literature and the writing craft. The full-time, international faculty includes novelists, poets, and translators.
Students should submit their completed application along with a writing sample (15-20 pages of fiction/creative nonfiction; 6-8 poems) to the Department Administrator by Monday, October 24, 2022 if they intend to do an independent project during the winter or spring terms of the 2022-23 academic year. The writing sample should speak to student ...
Cornell does not offer an online option for its creative writing master's degree program at this time. To see if the school offers distance learning options in other areas, visit the Cornell Online Learning page. Cornell Master's Student Diversity for Creative Writing 8 Master's Degrees Awarded 75.0% Women 37.5% Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
Cornell Writing Supplement $80 application fee or Fee Waiver. Supplemental Materials Undergraduate applicants to the College of Arts & Sciences who believe that their musical abilities will enhance their application (regardless of their intended major) are encouraged to supplement their applications with music recordings.
Students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program in Creative Writing & Literature will develop skills in creative writing and literary analysis through literature courses and writing workshops in fiction, screenwriting, poetry, and nonfiction. Through online group courses and one-on-one tutorials, as well as a week on campus, students ...
Please select the two essay prompts that you will respond to below: Instructions: All applicants are required to write two supplemental essays. Each has a limit of 250 words. Essay 1 is required of all applicants. For Essay 2, you must choose between Question A and Question B. Essay 1: