MA Creative Writing and Literature for Educators
You’ll never have to compromise your day job! Working at your own pace, you can finish the program in two years or take up to five.
The annual residency, normally the last weekend in June, brings you to our gorgeous campus in Madison, New Jersey — a short train ride from New York City — for workshops, readings, and in-person previews of the online courses.
You’ll meet our faculty and fellow students from near and far, and spend time with a distinguished Visiting Writer. This year we had Simone White, recipient of a 2017 Whiting Award for poetry, Cave Canem Fellowships and former program director of The Poetry Project in New York City. Our residency gets rave reviews year after year, and you can come back as many times as you like.
- We’ll take your creative writing abilities to the next level, whatever your level. (We admit students from relative beginners to published authors with multiple books to their credit.) Our writing faculty are National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalists; no matter how much experience you have, they’ll be able to help you develop your writing, and market it professionally if you so choose. A basic assumption we make is that being a writer makes you a more effective reader and teacher of literature: you’ll combine your “writerly” insight into process with “readerly” critical approaches to form and content.
- We’ll train you to be a confident, constructive, and versatile teacher of creative writing. We want you to be comfortable teaching all the four main genres of creative writing — fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and drama — and responding helpfully to student work. This program is the perfect preparation if you want to start to teach creative writing, and is the natural next step in professional development if you already do.
- We’ll train you to be a master interpreter of literature, who can use creative approaches and creative assignments to get their students fired up and thinking deeply about challenging texts. We’re sensitive to the demands of Common Core and your local curricula, and we’ll help you work within those constraints to get superior results.
Students holding undergraduate degrees from an accredited four-year institution in the U.S. or abroad may apply. We do NOT require GRE or any other standardized test scores.
When to apply
We accept applications on a rolling basis within the deadlines below. The residency must be taken within a year of enrollment. We run courses during two summer sessions as well as fall and spring. Take a look at the academic calendar session dates .
We recommend, if at all possible, beginning the program in the early summer session (late May) when we run the fundamental “Reading Like a Writer” course and then follow with the June Residency. To do this, apply by April 15.
- To attend the June residency and begin courses in late summer (early July) or fall, apply by May 1.
- To start courses in late summer (early July) and take the residency the following year, apply by June 1.
- To start courses in fall and take the residency the following year, apply by August 1.
- To start courses in spring (end of January to mid-May) and take the residency the following June, apply by December 1.
Honestly, you can apply at any time!
Regardless of when you apply, we will expect you to come to the required three-day residency as soon as you can: meeting your professors and classmates in person transforms the experience of taking courses online, and the residency is valuable in itself. The residency is always on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the end of June.
- Include a personal statement as a PDF or Word attachment. In at least a couple paragraphs, and at most a page or two, tell us about your professional background and why you think the program will be a good fit for you. Give us a sense of who you are, and what your goals are, as a teacher and a writer.We also want a sense of how you write. We can try to draw conclusions from your personal statement, but we strongly encourage you to attach a writing sample to the same email. One short story, one chapter of a novel, a few poems, one act of a play, or one article or course paper is a good length – but use a piece you have edited, not a first draft. The writing sample is not technically required for a successful application – we’ve accepted applicants without one – but we definitely recommend it.
- Complete the Graduate Admissions form. (The personal statement requested by Graduate Admissions can be exactly the same as the one you email directly to the program).
- Transcripts from all your undergraduate institutions are REQUIRED. Send them to Graduate Admissions, not the MA program.
- Fill out a FAFSA online ASAP if you are interested in financial aid.
- GRE and other test scores are NOT required.
- Letters of recommendation (personal, professional, or academic) are welcome but are NOT required.
- The program is housed on the Florham Campus in Madison, NJ.
If possible, students begin with the Foundation Course — Reading Like a Writer — that introduces the practice of writerly exegesis and the focus on how meaning is created. The subsequent writing courses are designed specifically to provide both a creative and writerly/analytical experience in each of the major genres the educators are likely to see in student work. The literature courses offer greater breadth and enriched understanding and connection to the advanced readerly aspects of the literature often taught in high school. Specifically they address:
- areas of the traditional high school curriculum (Shakespeare, young adult literature),
- non-Western literature (African writers, world literature),
- cross/intercultural literature (ethnic American literature), and
- contemporary literary issues (non-linear narrative, theatrical re-writes).
To earn the MA degree, students must attend the three-day residency within their first year of enrollment (two credits) and complete the following seven courses (four credits each) for a total of 30 credits:
- Foundation Course: Reading Like a Writer
- Four Writing/Critiquing Courses (one from each genre below)
- Two Literature Courses (on any topic of interest to you)
Residency and Foundation Course
- CWLT8101 Fiction
- CWLT8102 Poetry
- CWLT8103 Creative Non-Fiction
- CWLT8104 Dramatic / Cinematic Writing
- CWLT8201 Ethnic-American Literature
- CWLT8202 Non-Linear Narrative
- CWLT8204 Contemporary African Writers
- CWLT8206 Contemporary World Literature
- CWLT8209 International Short Story
- CWLT8207 Young-Adult Literature
- CWLT8210 Tropes of Reading: Reading Tropes
- CWLT8211 Modern Poetry
- CWLT8212 Shakespeare
- CWLT8213 Post-Colonial Literature
Our tuition is at a deeply discounted rate to accommodate educators.