For Teachers with the Souls of Writers

The First (and only) MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators

Expressly designed for high school teachers – as well as aspiring teachers and professors – this advanced degree nurtures your writing while giving you practical tools for using creative writing in the classroom and for teaching literature from a writer’s point of view.

The program is fully online except for one three-day on-campus residency in late June. 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.

During this year’s online residency, you’ll meet our faculty and fellow students from near and far, and spend time with a distinguished Visiting Writer. Our residency is a program highlight. It’s where students make lasting, supportive relationships with one another and their professors.

Welcome to our community of writers and teachers at Fairleigh Dickinson University!

Program Goals

  • 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.

Admission Requirements

Students holding undergraduate degrees from an accredited four-year institution in the U.S. or abroad may apply. 

When to Apply

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. You may choose to begin the program in any semester (fall, summer, or spring). We recommend applying no later than 2 weeks before courses begin.

2021/22 Academic Dates

  • 2021 First summer session:  May 24 to July 7
  • Second summer session:  June 21 to August 15
  • MA Summer Residency:  Saturday, June 26 to Monday, June 28– Due to Covid-19, the summer residency will be held online via Zoom
  • 2021 Fall semester:  August 23-December 15
  • 2022 Spring:  January 24-May 17

Summer session courses are eight weeks long. Fall and spring courses follow the traditional FDU academic calendar.

  • It is recommended that all students beginning in the summer take the June residency and the mid-May foundation course, Reading Like a Writer, at the beginning of their studies.
  • Students entering in fall and spring are required to take the June residency and the mid-May foundation course, Reading Like a Writer, in the summer after they begin the program.

Please contact us at if you have any questions about admission.

How to Apply

Complete the Graduate Admissions form and upload the following documents:

  • A Personal Statement. In at least a couple of 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.
  • A Writing Sample. We also want a sense of how you write. 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.
  • Your Transcript verifying your BA or BS degree.
  • 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.

Degree Plan

The first foundational course — Reading Like a Writer — introduces the practice of writerly exegesis and the focus on how meaning is created. Students tell us that the residency is the program’s highlight. It’s where students meet their professors and classmates, make long-term connections, and participate in insightful workshops that will give you tools to bring back to your classroom and use in your own writing. 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

To earn the MA degree, students must attend the three-day residency (2 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

Writing/Critiquing Courses

Literature Courses

Special Information

Our tuition is at a deeply discounted rate to accommodate educators.

Program Faculty

Course Descriptions