Creative Writing MFA Programs in Iowa

This article provides information about colleges and universities in Iowa that offer Master of Fine Arts programs in Creative Writing. Continue reading to find out more about the cost, curriculum and length of these programs in three schools. Schools offering Creative Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

University of Iowa

University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop Creative Writing MFA program is a two-year residency offering concentrations in either poetry or fiction. This curriculum includes both seminars and workshops, refining the writer's skills in topics ranging from translation to playwriting. The University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop is a flexible MFA allowing students to take graduate coursework in other areas and count those towards their MFA degree. This degree can prepare students with a wide base of knowledge for a career in writing.

Iowa State University

Iowa State University offers a MFA in Creative Writing and Environment, a three year degree program exploring fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and drama, with a focus on the writer's environment. Throughout the program students work intensively with a mentor to complete their thesis. This unique program includes an interdisciplinary study and an environmental field experience offering a wide ranging foundation for the writer. Coursework could prepare students for their reflective and impactful contributions to a wide variety of literary genres.

Cornell College

Cornell College offers a two-year low residency MFA in Creative Writing, ideal for students who can complete their work from home as well as participate in courses on campus. This program can assist students in refining their skills, while building knowledge about publishing, education and administration, possibly making this program ideal for those interested in the art and business of publishing literature. Cornell's curriculum includes foundational studies in literature, options of internships, development of a book length manuscript, and a public reading. Students can take advantage of Cornell's rich literary history and faculty of writers, publishers and agents to broaden their network of mentors.

School Name Program Offered Tuition (2018-2019)*
University of Iowa MFA in Creative Writing $9,785 resident $28,726 non-resident
Iowa State University MFA in Creative Writing and Environment $9,302 resident $23,564 non-resident
Cornell College MFA in Creative Writing $29,700 (2019-2020)**

Sources: *NCES; **

MFA in Creative Writing Program Information

Iowa MFA programs in creative writing typically culminate with the creation of a publishable thesis, manuscript or collection. These programs offer many of the following types of study and range from two to three years, at times giving the option of low residency and completing the degree partially from home.

Writers' Workshop

Writers' workshops are small feedback oriented courses with the goal of refining and editing the writer's work through consistent writing, instruction, reflection and editing. Students may work closely with experienced writers as well as their peers to prepare written pieces for submission.

Literary Publishing

Courses in publishing can give students a greater understanding of the editing and publishing process. These classes are often intended to prepare students for the task of creating a publishable manuscript, acquiring an agent and refining work for publishing. Students can gain a better understanding of what makes publishable work.

Mentor Work

Creative writing students are often assigned a seasoned mentor to work with one-on-one to revise or edit their final manuscript or thesis. Mentors are members of the faculty and are commonly established authors with personal insight on the field of writing. These courses are typically only offered to students in their final terms of study.


Students may study various topics in the subject of literature, including literary techniques, criticism, genres and history. Literature courses often give a holistic view of the deeper meaning of themes which they can apply to their own writing. Common course topics may include American literature and literature of the early world.

Writing Craft

In writing craft courses students can develop an understanding of aesthetics, technique and professional practice. Courses might focus on refining a single aspect of the writing process, and these courses often address multiple genres and disciplines. Utilizing these techniques, students may work towards developing their final manuscript or thesis.

Admissions Requirements for Creative Writing MFA Programs in Iowa

A bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA is typically required for entrance into a master's program. MFA programs in creative writing are often highly selective, requiring applicants to submit samples of their work, a resume, letters of recommendation and other qualifying materials. Admission requirements may be flexible due to the diverse nature of the programs. Class sizes are often kept small due to the intensive nature of the workshops and mentor work.

In summary, the three institutions listed here offer diverse Creative Writing MFA programs. These colleges offer two- to three-year programs with concentrations in fiction or non-fiction writing, with the goal of creating publishable works by refining the writer's knowledge of literary elements.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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