Founded in 1980, the American University's MFA Program in Creative Writing, offered through the Department of Literature, is a 48-semester-hour program that may be completed in two years, although many students take five semesters to complete all course and thesis work. The program offers a balance among intensive writing workshops, literature courses, and specialized courses and internships. The combination of these offerings permits students to enter fully into a community of writers and glimpse a range of possibilities for a career in writing after graduation. Students are free to pursue a single genre or to explore several genres. Alumni of the MFA Program in Creative Writing have gone on to diverse jobs in writing and the arts.
Students who undertake the MFA in Creative Writing Degree master the techniques they need to develop and perfect their own work by learning to read and comment on the work of their colleagues, with a commitment to strengthening and supporting the writer. Equally important, our creative writing program is allied with the MA Program in Literature, which offers numerous courses and master's-level seminars that enable our writing students to explore both classic texts and contemporary literature.
As one of the most literate cities in the country, Washington, DC, is a particularly strong community in which to study writing and make a living as a writer. Excellent internship opportunities abound, and students enjoy myriad readings and other literary activities in the area, including AU's own Visiting Writers Series with writers and editors who conduct small, intensive workshops with students and a free public reading or lecture during their visits. Dinners and post-reading parties allow our students to get to know the visiting writers on a personal level.
Graduate students in the MFA Program in Creative Writing are active: each semester they publish a national literary journal, Folio: A Literary Journal; conduct a student reading; and publish material in the online newsletter Cafe Americain, which enables current students and alumni to stay in touch. Fellowships, assistantships, and adjunct teaching allow qualified students to work throughout the department and university. Qualified students often work in the Writing Center, with the Visiting Writers Series, with Folio, and in the College Writing Program, as teachers of composition. Our students come from varied academic backgrounds, but share a camaraderie that provides a noncompetitive environment for developing writing skills and style.