Librianima by Kate Wall (MFAW 2015)

Librianima by Kate Wall (MFAW 2015) 

Graduate Overview

Writing Overview

The Master of Fine Arts in Writing (MFAW) welcomes writers of all genres—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting—and visual artists who work with language as an integral component of their practice. The two-year program provides a rigorous yet flexible curriculum to challenge and accommodate individual explorations of process and form.


Graduate Projects: These are the heart of the Writing MFA program. Modeled on the tradition of artists’ studio visits, MFAW students meet one-on-one with faculty advisors who offer intensive, focused insight and feedback on independently driven projects. Graduate students may work closely with advisors from both within the Writing Program and across the School to expand the critical vocabularies that are pertinent to their practice. Explore our faculty profiles to learn more about SAIC's award-winning faculty members.

Workshops: This might focus on process, or on a specific topic or literary theme, for example, Process/Project, Narrative Design, Text in Space and Literary Animals. Writing workshops may include interdisciplinary participants who help to foster creative workshop methodology and innovative in-class exercises.

Seminars: These stretch across genres to present models and histories of literary practice and frequently include a generative, creative component. Current seminars include Code Switch & Reclaim, Systems of Writing, and Literature of the Senses, among others.

Electives: These offers students an opportunity to engage with interdisciplinary study in the context of an acclaimed school of art and design. Students in the graduate writing program are encouraged to work with their advisors to develop a plan that takes advantage of adjacent fields of study, such as performance, film, sculpture, arts journalism and art history, as well as many other possibilities, to best support their continued growth.

Thesis: This is the major creative project that all MFAW students submit during their final semester. There are no restrictions on genre or content—for some, it reflects an overall plan and design of a finished book; for others, it’s a means of documenting their graduate work and/or process; yet others use it as an opportunity to put together a collection that adopts variant strategies in relationship to their engagement with interdisciplinary work. Please visit the SAIC Thesis Repository at the Flaxman Library to view recent MFAW thesis abstracts.

Student Benefits

Scholarships and Grants: Merit scholarships are awarded to applicants of exceptional promise by the Admissions Committee as part of the admissions process. Our MFAWs may apply for teaching assistantships both in the Writing Program and across the School to gain experience in the teaching environment. We also offer incentive awards and small project grants. Three MFAW fellowships are awarded to graduating MFAW students each year.

Professional Preparation: Our students often work as editors and journalists on SAIC’s F Newsmagazine, as well as on independently edited and produced publications. They create podcasts for Free Radio SAIC, a student-run radio station, which broadcasts daily to a global audience. MFAWs present their work in a student-organized lecture series and graduating students participate in a culminating Thesis Reading. MFAWs who demonstrate a studio practice in addition to their creative writing practice may take part in the annual school-wide MFA Thesis Exhibition or time-arts events.

Our Faculty

SAIC's Writing program is distinct from more conventional programs in that it brings together a community of writers and artists at one of the nation's most influential colleges of art and design and draws on a distinguished faculty with diverse artistic and intellectual concerns. Core faculty—writers of poetry and prose and artists in performance; film, video, and new media; visual communication design; printmedia; and painting—are augmented by visiting writers, artists, and scholars. In this unique community of writers and artists, hybrid works, new forms, and collaborative projects are encouraged. 

Visit the Writing department's Faculty page to learn more.

Alumni Accomplishments

SAIC Writing program students and alumni are published widely in publications that range from innovative online journals to international imprints. Our students and alumni also cultivate the literary landscape with the creation of small presses, storefront galleries, and theater and performance groups. They serve as directors, editors, and educators at literary organizations, publishing houses, and schools.

Visit the Writing department's Students & Alumni page to learn more about alumni work and accomplishments.

Take the Next Step

MFA in Writing Admissions Information
Curriculum & Courses

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 312.629.6100, 800.232.7242 or

MFA in Writing Program Brochure