Creative Writing M.A./MFA

Follow your passion, write your story and work to get published. Join the more than 600 writers from around the globe who have chosen Wilkes to advance their craft in a variety of writing genres.

Program Snapshot

Program Type Format Credit Hours
Master of Arts/Master of Fine Arts Low-residency 30 (M.A.), 49 (MFA)

Why Study Creative Writing at Wilkes?

At Wilkes, we focus on the craft and business of writing. Industry feedback is an incredible benefit to aspiring writers. That is why each creative thesis is read and evaluated by a working agent, editor, publisher or producer. These outside readers provide detailed notes about your work and review their feedback during a one-on-one meeting. It’s what makes Wilkes unique and propels our graduates to writing success.

Curriculum      Admission Requirements

What Will You Learn in our Creative Writing Program?

  • Learn how to live like a writer, building a writing plan, schedule, and process that encourages discipline and supports and sustains your creative process.
  • How to draft your story in a way that engages the audience. You will do this by exploring various writing genres, experimenting with writing conventions and storytelling tools, and mastering the presentation of your work so it can be shared with the world.
  • The only thing more important than drafting your manuscript is editing it, where the “real writing” begins. In our program, you will learn how to process notes and feedback, how to translate that into actionable edits and how to make your project shine through revision.
  • How to get published/produced. Learn ways to share your finalized manuscript with editors, publishers, and producers, and how to pitch your project when given the opportunity -- we do this by offering you that chance while you’re in the program!


Program Highlights

An Accomplished Alumni

Our program boasts of not just several but hundreds of published or produced alumni, including Marlon James (winner of the Man Booker Prize), Adrienne Pender (whose play, N., was turned into a 2020 feature film, The Black Emperor of Broadway, by Vision Films), and Morowa Yejide, whose 2021 novel, Creature of Passage, earned rave reviews from the New York Times and Washington Post, and a starred review from Kirkus, which calls it “a scary, thrilling vision of life along America's margins.” That’s because our faculty don’t say goodbye when you leave our program; rather, as they put it, “We stay with you.”

Convenient Low-Residency Format

Learn online while coming together for two, week-long residencies with faculty members and peers, held on campus in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (approximately two hours from Philadelphia and Manhattan), or at a remote location, or online.

Scholarships and Graduate Assistantships

Most low-residency programs can’t offer scholarships, but our program has six of them, and six graduate assistantships (with Etruscran Press, Kaylie Jones Books, and Blue Moon/HaveScripts) to help make our already low tuition more affordable.

Alumnus wins the Man Booker Prize

Wilkes alumnus Marlon James M.A. ’06 won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings. He is the first Jamaican author to win the prize, considered one of the most prestigious prizes in literature.

Read the Story

Marlon James

Careers & Outcomes

In addition to publishing and producing over 1,000 literary works, our graduates go on to work as professors, editors, teachers, literary agents, directors of reading series, script writers for video games, high-school teachers, book reviewers, freelance writers/editors, public relations or marketing directors, and in a variety of writing or writing-related jobs.

Additional Information

Our writing community is incredible. Successful writers in their own right, our faculty members, outside readers and advisory board members come together to support and mentor students in the program.

Notable names include Ibrahim Ahmad (Executive Editor at Viking Press), Beverly Donofrio (Riding in Cars with Boys), Susan Cartsonis (Resonate Entertainment), Kaylie Jones (Kaylie Jones Books), Lisa Jones (co-author with Spike Lee of Do the Right Thing), Tim Seibles (Poet Laureate of Virginia), Johnny Temple (publisher at Akashic Press), Chris Tomasino (The Tomasino Agency), William J. Kennedy (Pulitzer Prize winner), Ross Klavan (Tigerland), Marlon James, M.A. ’06 (A Brief History of Seven Killings), and J. Michael Lennon (Norman Mailer: A Double Life), among many others.

In addition to our talented faculty, board members, and outside readers, Wilkes has created partnerships with several nationally known organizations.