Welcome to the non-residency MFA program in creative writing at University of Arkansas at Monticello. 

The UAM Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing provides opportunity to talented and highly self-disciplined individuals to earn an MFA tailored to fit their lifestyles, interests, and goals at an affordable price relative to other MFA programs and to develop their creative-writing, critical-thinking, and literary analysis skills to an exemplary level through study under successful and dedicated writer-teachers from a range of backgrounds and aesthetic perspectives.

The mission of the program is directly related to the mission of the university in that it enhances individuals’ abilities to think creatively and critically, to effectively communicate, to be technologically literate, to appreciate and contribute to the cultures of their communities and beyond, and to possess awareness and sensitivity to global issues. 

Program Description

  • 48 Semester hours are required.
  • Each student is accepted into one of three genres: fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.
  • Up to 9 semester hours of graduate transfer credit may be accepted if the coursework has been completed in the past six years.
  • Graduate Assistantships are awarded a small number of qualified students who teach online sections of freshman-level writing courses. Blackboard training is required. Graduate Assistants are closely mentored by the Director of Composition.
  • Students can move through the MFA program at a pace they find comfortable, taking as few as 3 hours in an academic term or as many as 12.
  • 18 hours of ENGL 517V Writer’s Workshop are required. A typical Workshop taken for 6 credit hours requires a minimum of 40 pages of prose (20 for poetry), plus rewrites, as well as reflective essays/reviews/critical essays on at least 10 books (usually half to be selected by the instructor and half by the student). In addition to weekly interaction between student and Faculty Mentor, students working with the same Mentor critique each other’s work throughout the semester, using Blackboard.
  • The final 12 credit hours will be a Thesis Class and focus on the Thesis, a book-length manuscript of publishable quality that must be approved by both the thesis-semester Faculty Mentor and another faculty member. In addition, the student must submit a 5-to-7-page critical essay to demonstrate competence as a critical reader, a broad knowledge of literary history, and a depth of knowledge of contemporary literature.
  • Students work with a different Faculty Mentor within their genre each semester. “Genre jumping” is allowed with the permission of the MFA Director for one semester.
  • 18 hours of electives and residency credit, ENGL 518V. Students enroll in elective courses based on personal and professional goals with the guidance of the Director. The optional Residencies generally consist of one week to ten days of intensive workshops, seminars, lectures, and readings. Residencies might be held on the UAM campus, but students can also attend pre-approved writers conferences anywhere in the world to earn residency credit. The Director determines the number of credit hours earned based on the length and nature of the conference. Residencies are graded on a pass/fail basis, and whether on the UAM campus or at another location, the student is required to turn in to the Director a daily journal kept during the residency and a reflective essay about the impact of the residency on his or her growth as a writer. A student can also earn Residency credit through an Internship approved by the Director. As with the Residency, the student demonstrates professional growth through a daily journal and a reflective essay.
  • Students must earn a C or better in all courses and maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0.

Application Checklist

  • Application Instructions and dates to apply are included on the online submission manager.
  •  Official Transcripts
  •  Manuscript
  • Personal essay
  • Grade point average of 3.0 or higher. (Exceptions to the gpa requirement may be made based on factors including experience in the field, time elapsed since completion of degree, etc.)
  • Three letters of recommendation from writers, editors, or educators who can judge the applicant’s potential for success in a graduate online writing program.

Please wait to apply to the UAM Graduate Program until after you have received an acceptance into the MFA program.


An official transcript showing a posted bachelor’s degree with an earned grade point average of 3.0 or higher. (Exceptions to the gpa requirement may be made based on factors including experience in the field, time elapsed since completion of degree, etc.) Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for the faculty’s review of your application.

Transcripts of any graduate coursework must be submitted separately.

Manuscript Guidelines

Please submit one genre of your creative writing indicating talent, discipline, potential growth, and interests and intentions that can be well served by the UAM MFA program. All manuscripts must be typed and double spaced. Please do not send more pages than required.

Poetry: 10 pages

Fiction: 20 pages

Literary Nonfiction: 20 pages

Critical analysis: Maximum three pages exploring some aspect or element of craft in a literary work.

Personal essay: Maximum of three pages addressing the following:

  • Applicant's background in the study of creative writing and literature
  • Literary influences on applicant's writing, including the titles of books in your genre by writers you feel have shaped your thinking (not including our MFA faculty)
  • How applicant's work, family, or other obligations will accommodate devoting 20 to 25 hours per week to writing and to the completion of other program requirements.
  • Reasons why an online MFA program suits the applicant's level of experience and goals for future development as a writer.

Remember to use the online submission manager to apply.

Contact Information

Diane Payne
phone: 870-460-1247
e-mail: payne@uamont.edu

University of Arkansas at Monticello
Arts and Humanities
562 University Drive
Monticello, AR 71656

MFA Faculty

MFA Additional Information

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