Ready to Apply?
Why Study Creative Writing?
In Belmont's MFA in Creative Writing at Belmont, you will take courses designed to build on strengths and knowledge from your undergraduate experiences, broaden your awareness of literature and writing and prepare you for the life of a writer.
The graduate faculty is committed to fostering the skills of critical reading as well as creative writing and increasing student expertise in their chosen genre of study: fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction.
The pursuit of an MFA in Creative Writing may begin as a place to hone your craft as a writer, and many successful career novelists and freelance writers graduate from MFA programs. The intensive writing experience of an MFA will train you for a variety of careers in journalism, marketing, public relations, arts administration, publishing, library science, content creation and education.
We welcome you to explore what the MFA in Creative Writing at Belmont University can provide. We would love for you to join our community of working writers, guided by faculty members who are accomplished writers themselves and who will guide you toward being writers who engage with their core beliefs–intellectually, spiritually, and personally– to serve with humility, as a reflection both of who you are and the stories you must learn to tell.
Goals of Belmont’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing:
- Promote effective, creative and reflective reading, writing and imaginative thinking
- Present literature and the craft of writing within historical and cultural contexts
- Introduce students to diverse strategies for interpreting literature of others and of their own
- Explore the structures, complexities and development of creative writing genres
- Integrate local and global learning experiences into the curriculum taught by working writers;
- Develop skills necessary to be a working writer by employing current professional standards and emerging technologies–and to think critically about these resources and tools;
- Engages students in independent research and long-term writing projects, such as a thesis
- Public Relations
- Arts Administration
- Library Science
- Content Creation
"When I started grad school, I didn’t have much direction. I knew I loved reading and writing, but I wasn’t sure where that could take me. During my time in the English graduate program at Belmont University, I discovered that I wanted to be an author, and I wrote the story that eventually became my first novel. I will forever be grateful for my time in the program because it taught me to never give up on my dreams, and showed me that I am capable of more than I ever imagined."
- Dr. Kai Harris, Belmont alumna and award-winning author of What the Fireflies Knew
"Writers have long searched for mentorship, instruction and community in their educational journeys toward mastery, mastery both of craft and, through modeling, of pedagogical strategies appropriate to creative writing instruction. Additionally, reading and writing are acts of love and survival pursued for the intense pleasures of creativity and imagination, and for the human need to communicate. The Belmont University MFA in Creative Writing will blend mentorship, instruction, and community-formation that will allow our students to achieve mastery under the tutelage of working writers/professors."
- Dr. Gary McDowell, Director of MFA in Creative Writing & Professor.
Courses You'll TakeENG 5000 Graduate Research, Theory, and Pedagogy Seminar: 3 hours
This course undertakes a multi-lensed look at the study of English at the graduate level via a comparative study of writing pedagogies and of theoretical approaches to the study of literature. Required for M.F.A. in Creative Writing students.ENG 5400 Craft of Fiction: 3 hours
This course studies the craft of fiction through close-reading of contemporary fiction and intense practice of related craft techniques.ENG 5450 Fiction Workshop: 3 hours
An intensive workshop-style course devoted to reading, writing, analyzing, and critiquing contemporary fiction and student work. Recommend pre-requisite Craft of Fiction.ENG 5500 Craft of Poetry: 3 hours
This course is devoted to studying the craft of poetry through close-reading and intense practice of craft techniques.ENG 5550 Poetry Workshop: 3 hours
An intensive workshop-style course devoted to reading, writing, discussing, and critiquing contemporary poetry and student work. Recommend pre-requisite Craft of Poetry.ENG 5600 Craft of Creative Nonfiction
This course studies the craft of creative nonfiction through close-reading of creative nonfiction and intense practice of related craft techniques.ENG 5650 Creative Nonfiction Workshop: 3 hours
An intensive workshop-style course devoted to reading, writing, discussing, and critiquing contemporary creative nonfiction and student workENG 6900 MFA Thesis: 3 hours
Serves as the culminating experience of the MFA in Creative Writing. Across the two semesters of enrollment in this course, each student will produce a book-length manuscript of literary merit and publishable quality in the genre of their choice. To assist them with this task, each student will select a Thesis Director and supporting committee to provide guidance and advice. ENG 6900 is a Pass/Fail course with specific benchmarks to be achieved during each semester of enrollment.ENG 5800 Readings in World Literature I: 3 Hours
Presents important works of literature of the world from beginnings to Enlightenment. This course establishes a historical perspective while seeking to encourage both comparative perspective and common ground among works from European tradition and several non-Western cultures.ENG 5810 Readings in British Literature I: 3 Hours
Readings emphasizing the historical development of British literature from a broad spectrum of representative works from Old English up to the Elizabethan period.ENG 5820 Readings in British Literature II: 3 Hours
Readings emphasizing the historical development of British literature from a broad spectrum of representative works from the Elizabethan period through the eighteenth century.ENG 5830 Readings in American Literature I: 3 Hours
Readings emphasizing the historical development of American literature from a broad spectrum of representative works, from beginnings through the Civil War.ENG 5840 Readings in World Literature II: 3 Hours
Presents important works of literature of the world from the Enlightenment to the present. This course establishes a historical perspective while seeking to encourage both comparative perspective and common ground among works from European tradition and several non-Western cultures.ENG 5850 Readings in British Literature III: 3 Hours
Readings emphasizing the historical development of British Literature from a broad spectrum of representative works from the Romantic period through the present.ENG 5860 Readings in American Literature II: 3 Hours
Readings emphasizing the historical development of American Literature from a broad spectrum of representative works from the Civil War to the present.ENG 6000 Single / Double Author Seminar: 3 Hours
Each offering of this course will be devoted to the in-depth study of one, or at most two, author(s). These authors range from Chaucer and/or Shakespeare to Jane Austen, E.M. Forster, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Joan Didion, as examples, etc. Deep knowledge of an author’s (or two author’s) oeuvre, not historical coverage, is the chief goal of the course. May be repeated once for up to six hours.ENG 6100 Genre Seminar: 3 Hours
Each offering of this course will provide a critical introduction to a single genre of writing. Seminar topics may include everything from the novel, short story, poetry, and drama, to nature or travel writing, the graphic novel, ethnography, and memoir, etc. Deep knowledge of the genre, not historical coverage, is the seminar’s chief goal. May be repeated once for up to six credits.ENG 5720 Practicum in Pedagogy: 1-3 Hours
Under the supervision of faculty who are teaching an undergraduate course, students will assist and participate in all phases of the teaching process: preparation, classroom instruction, evaluation, etc. The supervising faculty member and student should develop a contract about work to be completed by the student and the study / reading component to be undertaken together, taking into account the number of credit hours; students taking 3 credit hours in the Practicum, making it the equivalent of a full course, should also write a substantial essay about teaching, their own teaching experiences and learning processes, etc. Course is repeatable two times total, but maximum credit earned in ENG 5720 is 3 credit hours.ENG 5730 Pedagogical Studies: 3 Hours
This course introduces students to pedagogies used in teaching literature, language and / or writing. In addition to reading and discussing the various pedagogical approaches, students will apply them by assisting a professor in teaching, tutoring, and / or conferencing with students on their papers. Other related assignments will include writing learning goals, designing assignments, developing rubrics and other assessments tools, etc.ENG 5040 History of the English Language: 3 Hours
The origins and development of the English Language are studied in the context of linguistics and socio-political influences. Attention is also paid to the on-going processes affecting modern English.ENG 6420 Composition Theories: 3 Hours
The course provides a basic overview of composition theories: audience analysis, writing process theory, writing to learn theory, discourse theory, invention in the rhetorical tradition. Other topics include evaluation, electronic discourse, and grammar.ENG 5950 Study Abroad: 1-6 Hours
Various study-abroad opportunities are available through Belmont.ENG 6300, Special Topics in Writing: 3 Hours
Each offering of this course will address a different topic or theme from disciplines of writing, rhetoric, and / or composition. Topics may include Writing about Place, Writing and Social Issues, Writing and Identity, and others. May be repeated twice for credit up to six hoursENG 6340 Gender Studies: 3 Hours
An exploration of theories of gender; examines constructions and manipulations of gender in a variety of literary texts.ENG 6400 Special Topics in Literature: 3 Hours
Each course offering will address a different topic, issue, or theme from the disciplines of literature and/or critical theory. Deep knowledge of a topic, issue, or theme is the chief goal of the seminar. May be repeated twice for credit up to six hours.ENG 6500, Special Topics in Grammar and Linguistics: 3 Hours
This course, which will vary in focus with individual offerings, builds on basic understanding of English grammar from History of the English Language by focusing on special topics in Advanced English Grammar and Linguistics. Course is repeatable once with different topics.
Fall: August 1
- Application Form: Apply Online using the BU4U application portal.
- Application Fee: Submit a $50 non-refundable application fee.
- Official Transcripts: Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0. Official transcripts showing all collegiate work should be sent to: Belmont University Office of Admissions, 1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville TN 37212-3757. Official electronic transcripts can be accepted, and must be sent through a secure third party (i.e. Student Clearinghouse, or Parchment). Request them be sent to: email@example.com.
- Recommendations: Two academic and/or professional recommendations are required. These are only received through the online application portal. Neither recommendations may be from a relative and at least one must be from a professor.
- Statement of Purpose: Submitted as part of the application, the statement of purpose is an essay of less than 500 words from one of the following topics: 1) Your goals for an M.F.A. in Creative Writing 2) Your reasons for pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing 3) Your genre interest (Fiction, Poetry or Creative Nonfiction) 4) If your background is not in English or Creative Writing, your strengths in preparation for this program.
- Writing Sample: The writing sample should be a creative writing sample in your preferred genre of study (poetry, short story or novel excerpt, or creative nonfiction). Please contact the director of the program if you have questions.
- Interview: Applicants may be invited to interview with us as part of the application process. This informal interview will give us a chance to answer any questions, and will help us learn a little more about you and your interests in creative writing.
Application Status: Applicants are accepted on a rolling admissions pattern; thus, you will be notified of the admissions committee's decision shortly after the admissions portfolio is completed. To check on the status of your application, check your BU4U portal.
There are several types of federal financial aid available to graduate students. Please visit our Graduate Admissions & Aid website to learn more.
Graduate Assistantships are available through the Office of Student Organization and Activities each year. Applications are due in early Spring.
Internships, Fellowships and Employment
Internships, fellowships, and part-time employment help fund the cost of graduate school while giving valuable career enrichment experience.
Opportunities include tutoring positions and summer teaching associateships at Belmont's Writing Center, employment at the library and internships at local independent schools. Application deadlines vary, but most applications are due in early Spring. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for more information.
We offer partial scholarships to full-time students on a competitive basis. In addition, we also offer partial reimbursement for research and conference travel.
There are also several sources of external scholarships available, such as these scholarships offered by West End United Methodist Church for those who are in or pursuing careers in teaching.
Employee Tuition Reimbursement
Many companies offer tuition reimbursement for graduate school, including Vanderbilt University, Comcast, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, UPS, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Best Buy. Check with your employer to see if they offer reimbursement.
Military members qualify for financial assistance, and Belmont University is a Yellow Ribbon University. For more on military benefits, click here.
Tuition and Fees
Click here to determine your total estimated costs per semester for courses in the Graduate English program.