How Much Does MFA in Creative Writing Cost?

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$ $ MAs Average $13,800 a year at Public Universities; $36,300 at Private Universities.

Master of Fine Arts degree is pursued with a variety of reasons starting from personal enrichment and reaching a desire to teach at the college level.

The types of MFA programs are as varied as the reasons for choosing them and usually take two to three years for people to earn a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at a traditional residency program.

Certain schools have low-residency programs where students are invited to attend classes on campus for a week or two each year and thus accomplish all other work by computer.

Typical Costs

According to the National Center for Education Services, the tuition and fees required for a master’s degree program are on the average $6,900 per semester at public universities and $18,150 per semester at private universities.

For example, a two-year master’s degree program costs approx. $27,600-$72,600; while a three-year program costs approx. $41,300-$108,900. presents the top (traditional residency) graduate programs in creative writing, including Boston University with tuition and fees of approx. $36,000 for an intensive one-year MFA program; and the University of Alaska Fairbanks with total tuition and fees for the three-year MFA of approx. $13,000 for Alaska residents and $26,500 for non-residents.

The costs for two-year low-residency MFA programs are on the average approx. $20,000-$30,000, which includes living expenses for a short time spent on campus, yet prices vary.

Primarily work-at-home MFA program is offered by the Murray State University in Kentucky, which costs for state residents  $12,000 for four semesters and $32,500 for nonresidents.

Some of these programs have residency workshops (between 7-14 days each year) in Europe, providing a chance to briefly study aboard; however, airfare and other travel expenses are not included in the tuition.

What Is Included

  • Graduation usually requires a manuscript as a thesis project, sometimes with a public reading.
  • MFA in creative writing gives time and guidance to work on the craft of writing and based on the program, qualifies the graduates to teach at the college level.
  • provides an overview.

Additional Costs

  • Books and other supplies cost approx. $300-$1,000 or more, depending on the program.
  • In some traditional schools, health insurance is included in the tuition cost, but in those schools, it is not the health insurance can add $800-$1,900 per year.
  • The living expenses vary by location. Usually, the tuition of the low-residency program includes the living costs for the 7-14-day workshops held on campus each year.
  • Information in the individual school websites for estimated local costs.
  • The admission to a creative writing MFA program typically requires writing samples and letters of recommendation, preferably from writing instructors.
  • Certain schools also review scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), at $140.


Various schools provide assistantships, with a stipend and in some cases a reduced tuition costs in exchange for teaching and other duties.

In 2007-08, the creative writing MFA program at New Mexico State University offered a $15,500 assistantship stipend.

Shopping For An MFA In Creative Writing

  • When choosing a creative writing MFA program, one should check the faculty and the visiting writers, the program’s emphasis – writing or reading literature.
  • For example, Spaulding University provides questions to ask when choosing an MFA program.
  • The Association of Writers and Writing programs further provides the hallmarks of a successful graduate program in creative writing and hosts a searchable database of writing schools and degrees.
  • The secures detailed state-by-state information about traditional residency MFA schools and low-residency creative writing MFA programs.

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