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Interested in applying to the MFA program in Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington? Learn more about the process and application materials required.
See details about our admissions process . Additional information regarding the MFA Program is posted in our Frequently Asked Questions , which we update regularly. Please review them carefully before applying.
The Fall 2024 application system is open. Applications are due by 11:59pm ET on January 15, 2024 .
Your application to the MFA program in Creative Writing at UNC-Wilmington will be submitted online to UNCW's Graduate School. Along with your online application, you are required to upload
- an electronic copy of your manuscript (the writing sample)
- your personal essay (also called a statement of interest, purpose, or intent)
In addition to the application materials submitted online, you will need to mail to the Graduate School your transcripts .
IMPORTANT: You will submit your application & fee BEFORE you upload your supplemental materials, listed below. (Steps to completing your online application can be found in the <Let's Get Started> tab of your application.)
Once you submit your application, you may access the Self Service Portal to upload your documents.
Application Materials Required
Here is a complete list of the required application materials:
- An application for admission to the Graduate School (online) The MFA program in Creative Writing (separate from the UNCW MA in English) accepts online applications from September 1—January 15 for August admissions.
- A typed manuscript in the applicant's writing genre (uploaded as a single document—cover sheet is optional): Up to 10 total pages of poetry (one poem per page; multi-page poems acceptable) Up to 30 total pages of fiction (double-spaced); single or multiple pieces Up to 30 total pages of creative nonfiction (double-spaced); single or multiple pieces
- A personal essay (300-500 words), uploaded with the online application, which focuses on goals for the development of your writing. You will want to talk about your writing style, as well as literary influences (both contemporary and historical). In what way(s) does UNCW support/meet your vision for these goals? What will you contribute to the program? In the essay, identify the genre-Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, or Poetry-for which the application is intended.
- DO NOT SEND transcripts to the Department of Creative Writing as this will delay the Graduate School from receiving and recording your application materials. Send all official college transcripts , in sealed envelopes, to: Graduate School University of North Carolina Wilmington 601 South College Road Wilmington, NC 28403-5955 Electronic password-protected transcripts may be sent directly from the institution to [email protected].
- A non-refundable application fee of $75 (paid online as part of the application). Waiver info here.
- If you are interested in being considered for an assistantship in the Creative Writing classroom, or in the Publishing Laboratory (or both!), please include a brief (1-2 page) supplemental statement of relevant experience and interest. (If interested in both, upload a single combined essay.) (upload with online application, in the Assistantship Essay section—separate from the Personal Essay in #3)
- The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is not required for admission to our program.
- Letters of recommendation are not required, nor accepted.
- There is no foreign language requirement nor interview process.
- International applicants must meet additional requirements; details posted in the FAQs .
All application materials (including the application fee) must be posted to the online application system by 11:59 pm ET on January 15 . Late applications cannot be accepted as the system closes at midnight on January 16. You may begin to apply as soon as the system allows applications for the following year (September 1). We do not admit new students mid-year (i.e., in spring semester).
For more details, see the 'Applying' section of our FAQs . If you have questions about the application process after reviewing the FAQs for prospective students, please contact Lisa Bertini, MFA Program Assistant, at [email protected] or 910.962.3070. (UNCW will be closed during winter break, generally Dec 23-Jan 1.)
You can check the status of your application, request confirmation of receipt of application materials, as well as address missing items in your application in the ' Getting Started ' section of the Graduate School's admissions webpage.
If you are having trouble with any part of the online application, please refer to the technical support options available through the application system. If you still need help resolving your issue you may contact the graduate school .
Be sure to review the Getting Started section of the Graduate School website for a step-by-step guide to applying for admission. Many of your questions will be answered there.
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Poetry: Mark Cox, Melissa Crowe, Malena Mörling
Fiction: Sarah Domet, Nina de Gramont, Clyde Edgerton, Rebecca Lee, Jason Mott
Nonfiction: Sayantani Dasgupta, Clyde Edgerton, David Gessner, Rebecca Lee, Melody Moezzi
Editing/Publishing: Anna Lena Phillips Bell, Michelle Donahue, KaToya Ellis Fleming, Michael Ramos, Emily Louise Smith
The program offers partial funding and full funding on a competitive basis. The program offers teaching, publishing, and editorial assistantships, as well as fellowships, scholarships, and tuition waivers.
Lookout Books , Ecotone , Chautauqua
The program brings three to four writers and editors to campus each year through its month-long visiting writers and editors series. The program also hosts Writers Week, an annual event offering readings, workshops, craft talks, and panel discussions. Other features include a publishing and editing curriculum within the Publishing Laboratory, which hosts the Lookout Books imprint; and opportunities to participate in three outreach programs at local schools and organizations and with regional teens.
Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, Xhenet Aliu, George Bishop, Emma Bolden, Jonathan Russell Clark, Nina DeGramont, Jason Frye, A.J. Gnuse, Kirsten Holmstedt, Rochelle Hurt, Brad Land, Josh MacIvor-Andersen, Jason Mott, Derek Nikitas, Carmen Rodrigues, Dana Sachs, Daniel Nathan Terry, Carson Vaughan
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University of North Carolina, Wilmington
North carolina, united states.
The UNCW Department of Creative Writing is a community of passionate, dedicated writers who believe that the creation of art is valuable to self and culture. Our faculty encourages a rigorous yet supportive environment in which writers can grow as artists and as individuals. We believe excellence starts with an informed application of craft and we encourage writers to explore aesthetics and methods across genre lines.
The Department of Creative Writing is an independent department housed in its own building, keeping its undergraduate and graduate communities all in one place. It offers BFA and MFA degrees in Fine Arts (Creative Writing), both programs also having the potential of an extensive publishing and editing component.
UNCW’s MFA Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary and there is no better way to do that than by looking back on the successes of our students. That is where we pride ourselves. Our students and alumni have published more than 90 books and chapbooks. Jason Mott’s first novel became last season’s ABC TV series The Returned; Brad Land’s debut memoir Goat is being filmed as I write this; Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams received a $25,000 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a $50,000 Whiting Writers Award; Arianna Nash won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry; Rochelle Hurt won the Barrow Street Book Prize; Leah Osowski won the Wick Poetry Prize at Kent State; Emily Carr won the New Measures Poetry Prize; Xhenet Aliu won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize; the list of books goes on and on-- publishers such as St. Martins; Algonquin; Viking; Ballantine; Morrow; Random House; Simon and Schuster. Alumni have published some hundreds of poems, stories, essays, reviews in prominent and vital venues. Indeed, here are a few of the magazines with which recent students published while still in the program: The Georgia Review, Black Warrior Review, The Journal, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, Colorado Review, Agni, North American Review, Green Mountains Review, Third Coast, Puerto del Sol, Passages North, Oxford American, River Teeth, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre; The Paris Review Daily, Poetry International, Granta Online, and The Nation.
We are a faculty of 15 seasoned, well published, working writers, all teaching graduate coursework in writing, literature, translation, or publishing, editing and book design. We offer the traditional tracks of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, with a graduate course available in screenwriting.
We enjoy a community of 63 students undertaking a three-year program of study in an independent department of creative writing housed in its own building. The community is all in one place. Cross-genre study is not only encouraged—it is required. Our workshops are capped at 14 and often run much smaller. No one phones it in here. We take pride in mentoring our students. And we take pride in engendering a rigorous, but very supportive atmosphere amongst the students.
We offer 9-10 GTAships each year, each paying a stipend of $15,500 and involving the teaching of creative writing or publishing and editing, or, in two cases, film studies, at the undergraduate level.
One opportunity that sets us apart is our Publishing Laboratory and its imprint Lookout Books. Students have now edited, designed and published five national titles, one of which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Pub Lab also houses two national literary magazines, Ecotone and Chautauqua.
Please visit our website (below) and view a short video about us. We are proud of our MFA and BFA programs in Creative Writing, and of that unique, state-of-the-art Publishing Laboratory, where both graduate and undergraduate students learn all aspects of publishing in a hands-on environment that is unique in higher education. You can also read about our award-winning semiannual journal, Ecotone, and its sister book imprint, Lookout Books, at ecotonelookout.org.
Get to know us. Check out the faculty.
Then, we hope you’ll consider joining us.
Let us know if you have any questions.
601 S. College Road Creative Writing Department Wilmington North Carolina, United States 28403 Phone: (910) 962-3331 Email: [email protected] Fax: 910-962-7461 http://http://uncw.edu/writers/
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing +
Undergraduate program director.
Students may declare a major in Creative Writing and enter the BFA degree program only after submitting a successful portfolio for review by the faculty. Students must also have demonstrated their talent and dedication in one of the basic prerequisite courses in creative writing by receiving a grade of B or better.
The BFA program provides an intensive apprenticeship in writing, informed by the close study of literature, to serious, aspiring writers, among a community of accomplished professional writers. Training is provided in the art of writing within the context of studies in aesthetics, the literary tradition, the craft and profession of publishing, and broad liberal arts subject matter relevant to the student's need and goals. Our primary educational goals include: 1) providing dedicated and talented students with a rigorous apprenticeship in the art and craft of creating literature; 2) developing students' critical faculties, their understanding of literary forms, and their aesthetic judgment; 3) providing students with a strong intellectual foundation in the historical literary tradition, grounding their practice of the art of writing in an understanding of how that art has been practiced by the greatest classic and contemporary authors; and 4) providing a thoughtful interdisciplinary foundation for understanding creative writing's relationship to other arts and scholarly areas.
We value and promote cross-genre versatility. The major and minor require a beginning creative writing course in the chosen genre, then specialization in one or more genres, culminating in a senior seminar, a senior thesis, and a reading. Courses are also offered in screenwriting and playwriting. Atlantis is the undergraduate literary magazine, fully staffed by student editors. Each year, based on a judging of undergraduate manuscripts, the program awards the Sam Ragan Prizes in Poetry and the Jessie Rehder Short Story Awards. Students benefit from contact with numerous nationally-known visiting Writers-in-Residence and speakers, including guests during the department's annual week-long Writers' Symposium.
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing +
Graduate program director.
We enjoy a community of approximately 66 students undertaking a three-year program of study in an independent department of creative writing housed in its own building. The community is all in one place. Cross-genre study is not only encouraged—it is required. Our workshops are capped at 14 and often run much smaller. No one phones it in here. We take pride in mentoring our students. And we take pride in engendering a rigorous, but very supportive atmosphere amongst the students.
We offer differing numbers of GTAships each year, but each pays a stipend of $15,000 and involves the teaching of creative writing or publishing and editing, or, in one case, film studies, at the undergraduate level.
One opportunity that sets us apart is our Publishing Laboratory and its imprint Lookout Books. Students have now edited, designed and published five national titles, one of which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Pub Lab also houses two national literary magazines.
Please visit our website (below) and view a short video about us. We are proud of our MFA and BFA programs in Creative Writing, and of that unique, state-of-the-art Publishing Laboratory, where both graduate and undergraduate students learn all aspects of publishing in a hands-on environment that is unique in higher education. You can also read about our award-winning semiannual journal, Ecotone, and its sister book imprint, Lookout Books, at ecotonelookout.org!
Phone Calls from the Dead: Stories, Large Animals in Everyday Life: Stories
Natural Causes, Thirty-Seven Years from the Stone, Smoulder: Poems
Nina de Gramont
The Last September; The Boy I Love; Meet Me at the River; Of Cats and Men; Gossip Of The Starlings
Papadaddy's Book for New Fathers,The Night Train, The Bible Salesman, Solo: My Adventures in the Air,
Lunch at the Piccadilly: A Novel (2003)
Where Trouble Sleeps ,Redeye: A Western ,In Memory of Junior, Killer Diller , The Floatplane Notebooks (1988)
Walking Across Egypt ,Raney
The Songs of Hollywood, Skylark: The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist
The Dark of the Island, Down the Wild Cape Fear, The Patron Saint of Dreams, Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life.
All the Wild That Remains; The Tarball Chronicles;)
My Green Manifesto; Soaring with Fidel; The Prophet of Dry Hill; Sick of Nature; Return of the Osprey; Under the Devil's Thumb; A Wild, Rank Place
Bobcat and Other Stories, The City Is a Rising Tide
Robert Anthony Siegel
All Will Be Revealed, All the Money in the World
Emily Louise Smith
poems and essays in Best New Poets, the Southern Review, Southern Poetry Anthology: North Carolina, Boulevard, Front Porch, New South, The Journal, Smartish Pace, 27 Views of Wilmington, and Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century.
Re-entry, Palma Cathedral, The Island, Travels in Vermeer, Vermeer in Hell
BFA Coordinator, work in Haunted Voices, Haunting Places: An Anthology of Writers of the Old and New South, Big Muddy, 55 Words, Prick of the Spindle, Aries, Calliope, winner, Authors in the Park Short Story Prize
Ocean Avenue; Astoria; The Star By My Head: Poets from Sweden; On Foot I Wandered Through The Solar Systems
Anna Lena Phillips Bell
A Pocket Book of Forms; 32 Poems, Colorado Review, the Southern Review, the Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII: North Carolina, the Raintown Review, Southern Poetry Review, the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Really System, Canary, and 111O.
author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and … Hide Behind Me… His debut novel, The Returned, was optioned
-pre-release!- by actor Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, as a television series and premiered on the ABC network in 2014 under the title Resurrection (2 seasons). His second novel, The Wonder of All Things has been optioned -also pre-release!- by Lionsgate Films for the big screen.
KaToya Ellis Fleming
Publications & Presses +
Visiting Writers Program +
Mei Fong, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Ilya Kaminsky, Steve Almond, Scott Cairns, Cristina Garcia, Patricia Hampl, Cynthia Huntington, Van Jordan, Jason Mott, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Bob Reiss, Mary Ruefle, Natasha Trethewey; Nikki Finney; Roxane Gay; Michael Taeckens; Bill Roorbach; Jill McCorkle;
Reading Series +
Writers Week ( http://uncw.edu/writersweek/ )
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- Department of Creative Writing
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Department of Creative Writing / Department of Creative Writing is located in Wilmington, NC, in an urban setting.
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Creative Writing at University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Jump to any of the following sections:
- Available Degrees
- Student Demographics
Featured Creative Writing Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
BA in Creative Writing & English
Develop your creativity and gain practical skills with a creative writing degree program –featuring 100% online classes – through a bachelor's from Southern New Hampshire University.
MFA in Creative Writing - Online
Embrace your passion for storytelling and learn the professional writing skills you'll need to succeed with our online MFA in Creative Writing. Write your novel or short story collection while earning a certificate in the Online Teaching of Writing or Professional Writing, with no residency requirement.
MA in English & Creative Writing
Refine your writing skills and take a step toward furthering your career with this online master's from Southern New Hampshire University.
Creative Writing Degrees Available at UNCW
- Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing
- Master’s Degree in Creative Writing
UNCW Creative Writing Rankings
The bachelor's program at UNCW was ranked #102 on College Factual's Best Schools for creative writing list . It is also ranked #2 in North Carolina .
Popularity of Creative Writing at UNCW
During the 2020-2021 academic year, University of North Carolina at Wilmington handed out 37 bachelor's degrees in creative writing. This is a decrease of 14% over the previous year when 43 degrees were handed out.
In 2021, 21 students received their master’s degree in creative writing from UNCW. This makes it the #32 most popular school for creative writing master’s degree candidates in the country.
Learn about other programs related to Creative Writing that might interest you.
Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction
Harness your passion for storytelling with SNHU's Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction. In this small, two-year creative writing program, students work one-on-one with our distinguished faculty remotely for most of the semester but convene for weeklong intensive residencies in June and January. At residencies, students critique each other's work face-to-face, meet with major authors, agents and editors and learn how to teach at the college level.
Creative Writing Student Diversity at UNCW
Take a look at the following statistics related to the make-up of the creative writing majors at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
UNCW Creative Writing Bachelor’s Program
Of the 37 students who earned a bachelor's degree in Creative Writing from UNCW in 2020-2021, 38% were men and 62% were women.
The majority of bachelor's degree recipients in this major at UNCW are white. In the most recent graduating class for which data is available, 78% of students fell into this category.
The following table and chart show the ethnic background for students who recently graduated from University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a bachelor's in creative writing.
UNCW Creative Writing Master’s Program
During the 2020-2021 academic year, 21 students graduated with a bachelor's degree in creative writing from UNCW. About 24% were men and 76% were women.
The majority of master's degree recipients in this major at UNCW are white. In the most recent graduating class for which data is available, 76% of students fell into this category.
The following table and chart show the ethnic background for students who recently graduated from University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a master's in creative writing.
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
More about our data sources and methodologies .
Compare your school options.
How to Become a Writer in North Carolina with a BFA, MFA or Similar Creative Writing Degree
Created by CreativeWritingEDU.org Contributor
With literary greats like Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry on the roster of authors hailing from North Carolina, the tradition of serious novelists doing impactful work has long been cemented into the creative culture here. It’s a fact that gives writers here a backdrop for comparing and critiquing their own work, providing something to strive for or rebel against.
Long-time Greensboro resident Orson Scott Card earned his master’s in English here before going on to become one of the most successful sci-fi authors of the modern era. Thomas Wolfe also earned a master’s degree and focused on playwriting.
Maya Angelou was in a class all her own, with heart-rending work that is as relevant today as it ever was. And the fact that Maya wasn’t only a student of literature here in North Carolina, but a professor for 30 years, also puts her on an entirely different level.
Every book would be a classic if there was a formula for how to write well. We all know it takes real courage and discipline, and more than a little education. It might start with a BA or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) , but for many that’s just the groundwork for an MA or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing.
In the end, every writer knows there’s no magic recipe for inspiring creativity and launching a writing career. When it comes to putting pen to paper, maybe the best advice for starting comes from Angelou herself.
North Carolina’s Literary Masters
Greensboro-native William Sydney Porter, best known by his pen name O. Henry, wrote his classics during the transition between the 19 th and 20 th centuries. Romanticizing the average person warts-and-all became his short-story trademark, along with plot twists. He was convicted of embezzlement before turning 40 but continued to write from his prison cell to make a living.
Thomas Wolfe was born in 1900 and called Asheville home growing up. The Pulitzer-Prize winning author was regarded as one of the nation’s most promising young novelists, the greatest talent of his generation. His work would go on to influence Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth, and more.
Born in 1928, poet and author Maya Angelou is perhaps best known for her work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing . A tenured professor and Winston-Salem resident for more than three decades, Angelou was also influential in the Civil Rights Movement in addition to writing children’s books and composing music.
Sci-fi fans know Orson Scott Card, especially his novel Ender’s Game that was also made into a movie. Born in 1951, this current Greensboro resident is still at it and has big plans for the future.
Your future also involves big plans. North Carolina’s next generation of literary masters is poised to pick up the torch and carry on creating tomorrow’s most thought-provoking works. Someone’s got to do it, so it might as well be you.
North Carolina’s Creative Writing Classes, Courses, and Workshops Can Prepare You for a Creative Writing Degree
Just like how Maya Angelou polished her literary mastery as part of a writer’s guild, getting involved in your local writing scene is a great way to gain experience and hone your craft.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of writing groups, poetry readings, conferences, and other opportunities it gain insight and experience as an aspiring author wherever you are in the state.
The North Carolina Writers’ Network is a noteworthy resource if you’re looking for support and feedback about your writing. One of its underlying goals is to promote and develop the state’s writing community. It’s headquartered in Winston-Salem but organizes events across the state, including thrice-yearly writing conferences.
Winston-Salem Writers is a non-profit group that exists to help members improve and network. It’s a hub of information, circulating a regular newsletter and organizing monthly open mic nights, workshops, writing competitions, and book showcases.
Having just celebrated its 90 th anniversary, the North Carolina Poetry Society is proud to host quarterly get-togethers which are usually held in Southern Pines. It has well over 500 members throughout the state and continues in its original mission to support North Carolina’s poets and friends of poetry. You can expect workshops, panels, readings, contests, and more.
Raleigh hosts the Carolina Book and Writer Conference each year, a great place to hear experienced writers speak and make connections with your fellow artisans, as well as publishers looking for new talent.
As you gain experience and make connections, you can start thinking about finding a publisher. North Carolina’s publishers are many, and widely dispersed rather than being focused on the literary scene in a single city. They include:
- Black Mountain Press in Asheville focusing on short stories, poetry, and novels
- Red Adept Publishing in Garner, specializing in fiction
- Press 53 in Winston-Salem, with hundreds of titles published in the poetry and fiction genres
It can be challenging to organize your yellow legal pads with feedback from writing groups, your notes from conferences, and your latest plot ideas into a coherent piece that’s fit for publication. That’s where an academic program can help – a BFA or MFA, or other bachelor’s or master’s in creative writing.
Writing Colleges in North Carolina Offering Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Creative Writing Provide a Path to Becoming a Writer
North Carolina has an impressive history of great professors, including Maya Angelou. Your creative writing instructors have been there and done that; they know the tricks of the trade and can adeptly navigate their way in the world of publishing. It’s only natural for professors to speak about the mistakes they’ve made so you won’t have to repeat them. And that’s exactly the kind of wisdom you hope to glean in a creative writing degree program
Earning your degree can help you shatter that ceiling of self-sustaining circular writing group feedback and breakthrough to the next stage of your writing career. It can make the difference between being a hobbyist and professional writer.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Other Bachelor’s Degrees in Creative Writing in North Carolina
HURLEY SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Degree: Bachelor – BA
- English-Creative Writing
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND CREATIVE WRITING
- Creative Writing
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Queens University of Charlotte
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
- English and Writing Studies-English and Creative Writing
St. Andrews University
DIVISION OF LIBERAL AND CREATIVE ARTS
Degree: Bachelor – BFA
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Warren Wilson College
CREATIVE WRITING DEPARTMENT
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Other Master’s Degrees in Creative Writing in North Carolina
THOMAS WOLFE CENTER FOR NARRATIVE
Degree: Master – MFA