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MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing, Master's


Choose to specialize in fiction, poetry, or narrative non-fiction in this one-of-a kind, low residency MFA creative writing program.

You'll have extraordinary opportunities to interact with — and learn from — some of the finest writers in both the United States and Europe.

This online program is five semesters, 36-credits total, with two 10-day in-person residencies each year, one in the Lehigh Valley and one in Celtic Europe or Canada. 

  • Summer residencies are held abroad in Ireland, Scotland or Canada.
  • Winter residencies are held on the DeSales Campus in Center Valley, PA.
  • All residencies include writing workshops, sessions with visiting writers, publishers and publishing professionals, and field trips to literary destinations.
  • Both residencies include sessions focused on writing in place and spirituality.  
  • During the on-line semesters, students work one-on-one with a writing mentor on a book-length project, reading extensively in their chosen genre.
  • The final semester, students refine their thesis for publication with expert editorial guidance from their mentor.

A distinctive feature of this program is the emphasis on publishing. You'll not only learn how and where to publish your own work, but also to find careers in the world of publishing — a dynamic field that is experiencing diversified growth opportunities. 

DeSales MFA in Creative Writing A distinctive feature of this program is the required publishing track. You'll not only learn how and where to publish your own work, but also to find careers in the world of publishing — a dynamic field that is experiencing interesting and diversified growth opportunities.

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the graduate program requires:

  • A completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited American university
  • Official transcripts and transcript evaluation
  • Personal statement that addresses three questions:
    • What writers or writing experiences have led you to this degree?
    • Why do you want to enroll in this MFA program?
    • What kind of book-length project do you think you want to write while in the program?
  •  Either a 20 page writing sample of prose (short story/stories/novel, chapter/essays/memoir) or a 10-page sample of poetry

Admission to the program will be rolling; students may enter the program at either the summer or winter residency. 

MFA-CW Admissions Information
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Standardized Exam Required: No
  • Official Transcripts Required: Yes
  • Personal Statement Required: Yes
  • Letters of Recommendation: 2 Required
  • Resume Required: No
  • Writing Sample Required: Yes


Students must complete the following degree requirements:

  • 4 intensive, 10-day residencies alternating at DeSales and in Europe
  • 4 practicum semesters with a writing mentor
  • An additional semester to produce, complete and refine an original creative manuscript of poetry or prose.
  • A defense of the creative manuscript, including a meeting with the review committee as well as a public reading and Q&A defense.

Academic Catalog


Visiting Writers


  • Joseph Bruchac
  • Stephen Kiernan
  • Dean Koontz
  • William Kent Krueger
  • Donal Ryan
  • Christine Whittemore


  • Dan Donaghy
  • Sean Thomas Dougherty
  • William Greenway
  • Vona Groarke
  • Paul Martin
  • BJ Ward

Creative Non-Fiction

  • Matt Ferrence
  • Lia Purpura
  • Lee Upton

Careers & Internships

The MFA is a terminal degree, the highest degree awarded in a particular field of study.

With an MFA, graduates can:

  • teach in university or secondary school creative writing programs.
  • write for magazines, publishing companies, university presses, and other small presses.
  • work as editors, copy editors and proofreaders in the publishing industry, not-for-profit, government, and private sector.
  • manage independent and subject-specific bookstores
  • and more!

Tuition & Fees

This is a five semester, 36-credit program with two residencies each year.

  • Tuition/credit hour: $795* (36 credits x $795 for a total of $28,620)
  • Graduation Fee: $120
  • Returned Check Service: $30
  • Domestic residency fee: $1,000 (projected, travel not included) for each residency, for a total of approximately $2,000
  • Foreign residency fee: $3,500 (projected, airfare included) for each residency, for a total of approximately $7,000

Total projected cost of attendance: $37,770*

*Tuition/credit hours listed are for 2024/2025 academic year. Tuition and fees are reviewed each academic year and are subject to change with notice.

View a comprehensive list of financial aid forms and graduate program information sheets

Tuition Deferment

DeSales University offers graduate students the opportunity to defer payment of their tuition when they will be receiving reimbursement from their employer or when they are eligible to receive financial aid. A copy of your employer's tuition reimbursement policy must be forwarded to the Treasurer's Office and/or all necessary financial aid paperwork must be filed with the Financial Aid Office before tuition deferment is granted. 

Tuition deferment is a privilege given to graduate students at DeSales and can be revoked if this privilege is abused. Please note that you, as the student, are responsible for payment of your tuition balance in the event that your financial aid/loans or employer reimbursement is not received by the Treasurer's Office.

Tuition Reimbursement

When a student is eligible for tuition reimbursement from his/her employer, written evidence of eligibility is required. The student is responsible for requesting this reimbursement from his/her employer. In cases where reimbursement is contingent upon successful completion of the course(s) and the student either withdraws or does not achieve a grade sufficient to warrant maximum reimbursement, the student is ultimately responsible for payment for the course(s).

Refund on Withdrawal

A refund of tuition payments will be made to a student who withdraws from a course. In all cases, credits will be calculated from the date the student completed the official withdrawal form, and the rebate will be based on the schedule shown listed below. 

Refunds apply to tuition only. If a student is allowed to enroll by use of the deferred payment procedure, any funds due the University are immediately due and payable upon withdrawal.

Withdrawal during the add/drop period is 100% of tuition refunded. The schedule below is for withdrawal after the first class after the close of the add/drop period. 

  • Withdrawal after 1st class: 80% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 2nd class: 65% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 3rd class: 50% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 4th class: 25% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 5th class: No refund

Online Learning at DeSales

Attending classes from an off-campus location can be an excellent option for many busy students. Distance education at DeSales encompasses everything from video conference courses to hybrid (a combination of in-class and online) to online courses. 

Brightspace by D2LTM is our online learning system.

Learn About Online Learning at DeSales

Contact Us

MFA in Creative Writing
Dooling Hall 255