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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 is a five semester, 36-credit program with two 10 day residencies each year. 

  • Residencies are 2x each year — ten days in January and ten days each August.
  • Residencies include writing workshops, visiting writers, publishers and publishing professionals, and field trips.
  • Summer residencies are in Celtic Europe. While most other MFA residencies take place in cities, ours moves about in the ancient Celtic world.
  • Winter residencies are held on the DeSales campus in Center Valley, PA. This ten day residency will allow you to work with fiction writers and poets, and will also include one full day of writing in the spirit, followed by a candlelit evening retreat of music, prayer, storytelling, art, and poetry.  
  • In between residencies, you'll read extensively in assigned areas of literature — you'll do close reading and deep written analysis of these writers.
  • You'll also read assigned works by the guest speakers for each residency.
  • You'll continually write your own work while in constant contact with your mentor and with members of your cohort.  

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. 

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
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A 25 page writing sample:
    • a short story/stories or a chapter from a novel for the fiction track
    • a collection of poems for the poetry track
    • a collection of essays for the creative non-fiction track

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 fiction.
  • 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 considered a terminal degree, which means it's the highest degree awarded in a particular field of study.

Graduates can:

  • teach full-time in college or high school creative writing programs
  • work for magazines, either full-time or freelance, or for publishing companies as editors, copy-editors and proof-readers
  • work for college literary publications or the educational publications of such entities as museums, scholastic publishers, and non-profit enterprises
  • manage independent and subject-specific bookstores
  • work on the editorial staffs of AWPThe Writer’s Chronicle, Poets and Writers, The Writer and Writer’s Digest
  • work for any university MFA program in the country, either as an adjunct, a visiting writer, an editor or an administrator
  • and more!

Tuition & Fees

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

  • Tuition/credit hour: $775* (36 credits x $775 for a total of $27,900)
  • Application Fee: $50
  • 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: $38,070*

*Tuition/credit hours listed are for 2023/2024 academic year. Tuition and fees are reviewed each academic year and are subject to change with notice.

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. 

Blackboard Learn™ is our online learning system.

Learn About Online Learning at DeSales

Contact Us

MFA in Creative Writing
Dooling Hall 255