Update in progress as of July 6, 2020.
Below is a list of creative writing MFA and PhD programs that fully fund ALL of their students. If your program is missing or you notice any inaccuracies, please contact us.
We define a fully funded program as one that provides both tuition remission and a stipend to EVERY admitted student. We cannot guarantee this list will remain accurate from year to year but we will keep it as up to date as possible. If you’re unsure about the status of a program’s funding, it’s always best to ask them directly.
NOTE: As of March 2017, if a program on this list stops fully funding all admitted students, they will be removed immediately. They will then need to fully fund all students for at least ONE academic year before we will add them again. What does this mean? If a program is removed and then promises to fully fund students again for the next application cycle, they will NOT be added right away. We have occasionally been contacted by people offered unfunded admission to programs that market themselves to applicants as fully funded and were listed on this website. Not fully disclosing your program’s financial status to applicants is unethical.
DISCLAIMER: This website lists fully funded programs. A fully funded program is one that does not charge tuition. Some fully funded programs do not pay a stipend. Many (possibly most) pay stipends that are below the federal poverty guidelines. Other programs pay well, but expect overwhelming amounts of work in the form of assistantships that will have you working more than full time for less than minimum wage. Still other programs have problems of bigoted administrators, harassing or abusive faculty members, and/or a cruelly hypercompetitive student culture. The Workshop does not have the resources to investigate every complaint and will not remove a program from this list for any reason except that the program is not fully funded. A listing here is not an endorsement on the part of The Workshop. It is always helpful to talk to current and former students before committing to an MFA in creative writing, or any other graduate degree in any other field.
All students admitted to the MFA program are guaranteed up to four years of full financial support, though the program can be completed in three years. Graduate assistantships (currently $14,125) include full payment of graduate tuition and health insurance. Incoming students are also eligible for other awards, including Graduate Council Fellowships ($15,000–$20,000 plus full tuition remission), Truman Capote Fellowships (the number and value of these awards vary each year), Truman Capote Prison Arts Fellowships ($15,000 plus full tuition remission), McNair Graduate Fellowships ($15,000 plus full tuition remission), and editorial positions with Black Warrior Review (the award for these positions can vary).
University of Arizona: “All students admitted to the University of Arizona’s MFA program are fully funded (tuition remission + a stipend + health insurance) for the duration of the program, typically via a GTA position teaching one or two sections of first-year writing (or creative writing, by competitive application) per semester. In 2016, the stipend for GTAs is $16,120 for students entering with a master’s degree, and $14,808 for those without. Students are also eligible for Foundation awards and other sources of funding such as travel and research grants.” – Creative Writing Program Director, Ander Monson
Arizona State University: “Currently, all students admitted to the MFA program who submit a complete and approved teaching assistantship application are awarded a TA by the Department of English. Each assistantship carries a three course per year load and includes a tuition waiver and health insurance in addition to the TA stipend ($15,000 per year). Graduate students with assistantships must enroll in a minimum of six credit hours each semester.”
University of Arkansas: “Teaching assistantships currently carry an annual stipend of $11,000 for students with a BA and $11,500 for students with an MA or the equivalent. TAs also receive a waiver of all tuition costs and teach two courses each semester. Students in their fourth year teach only one course per semester. No final offer of assistantship can be made until all application materials have been received.
Additionally, our students compete each year for several Walton Fellowships of $11,000 and several Lily Peter Fellowships of $1,000. Other graduate fellowships worth $3,000 per year for up to four years are also available.
Translation students working from Middle-Eastern languages such as Arabic or Hebrew are eligible for non-teaching fellowships of $12,000 per year.”
Boise State University: “100% of admitted applicants receive a teaching assistantship or graduate assistantship. Both include a full tuition waiver, student health insurance, and a living stipend of $10,450 per year, which for most students is enough to live on throughout the school year.”
Bowling Green State University: “Writers admitted to the MFA Program receive teaching assistantships: an annual stipend of $9,300 and a waiver of instructional fees for the course of study. Additionally, all MFAs are eligible for four competitive non-service Devine fellowships, each about $2,300 per year, two in poetry and two in fiction. They also receive $50 per year to mail manuscripts.”
NOTE for BGSU: students must purchase health insurance and pay non-tuition fees.
Brown University: “In the first year, all graduate students receive a fellowship that pays a monthly stipend and covers tuition, the health fee, and health insurance. Fellowships do not require employment or teaching. The stipend for the 2014-2015 academic year is $11,500 (payable at the end of the month from September through May).
Between the first and second academic year, students in good standing receive a summer stipend of $2,500 (payable at the end of the month from June through August).
In the second year, all graduate students in good standing who are qualified will be awarded teaching assistantships. Teaching assistants teach one undergraduate writing workshop per semester, and receive a full stipend, tuition, health fee, and health insurance. The stipend for the 2014-2015 academic year is $23,000.”
University of California, Irvine: Domestic students: Teaching Assistantships provide full tuition coverage as well as university health insurance (medical, dental, and vision). MFA students on TAship are also assigned to teach one undergraduate composition or creative writing course per quarter (three courses per academic year). MFA students receive academic credit as well as a nine-month salary for teaching. For 2020-2021, students will earn an estimated $21,911.49 for the academic year. As a state-funded institution, UC Irvine has very limited financial support available for international students.
Florida Atlantic University: “Funding includes a complete tuition waiver and a teaching assistantship with a stipend of between 9K and 12K over the 9-month academic year, guaranteed for the three years of the program. In addition, all applicants are considered for the Lawrence Sanders Fellowships (12K/15K/15K over three years). Students either teach two classes per semester or, if qualified, can choose to teach one class and work at the university writing center.” – Becka McKay
University of Florida, Gainesville: “All MFA students here receive a full tuition waiver. They also receive a fellowship and teaching-assistantship package for the duration of the three-year program.”
University of South Florida: “Our MFA students receive a 100 percent tuition waiver, a teaching assistantship, and eligibility to enroll in group health insurance. All graduate assistants teach composition in the first year of the program, but in the second and third years, they are eligible to teach lower-level creative writing courses and may work as tutors in the USF Writing Center.” – from a reader.
University of Houston: “The Creative Writing Programs works hard to provide financial support to all of its students. Last year 14 of our 16 incoming students received teaching assistantships—$15,000/year (MFA) and $17,169/year for (PhD). All 16 entering students received either a Graduate Tuition Fellowship or Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center Fellowship to remit and/or cover the cost of tuition. In addition, 15 students received Inprint fellowships for $10,000, and 7 students received UH Presidential or Provost Fellowships for $4,000.”
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: “Most awards are in the form of teaching assistantships, but some fellowships are available. All awards include tuition and partial fee waivers, although students must pay some fees. Entering MFA candidates receive three years of support. The first year of support, set at 33% (teaching one class a semester), earns the graduate student $9,780; non-recurring fellowship funds, typically in the amount of $2,500, are given to first-year students to augment the stipend, making it around $12,280. In their second and third years, students receive 67% appointments (teaching two courses a semester) and earn approximately $19,850. These are 2010-2011 dollars, a number that usually goes up every year.”
Indiana University: “Each student in our program receives financial aid, usually in the form of a graduate teaching assistantship, and all or nearly all incoming students are awarded supplemental fellowships, which reduce the teaching load during the first year.”
University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program: “The Nonfiction Writing Program provides students with funding in the form of fellowships, scholarships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships in composition, literature, and creative writing.”
University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop: “Financial assistance is available for all students enrolled in the program, in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships. Most fellowships and assistantships provide either tuition scholarships or full tuition remission. Since the Workshop’s financial aid offerings consist of both one- and two-year appointments and fellowships, the form of aid may vary from the first year to the second. A student’s financial aid amount in the second year will either be equivalent to or more than the amount granted in the first year — never less.”
John Hopkins University: “Our two-year Master of Fine Arts in fiction and poetry offers: intensive literary seminars focused on diverse readings; small workshops; one-on-one advising toward a thesis; frequent interactions with visiting writers; and a culture of accomplishment and publication. Approximately four poets and four fiction writers are admitted annually. All students admitted to the MFA program are fully funded and receive full tuition, health insurance and a generous teaching fellowship (currently $30,500). Students spend their first semester taking a course in pedagogy, and then teach one section for each of the remaining three semesters of their time here.”
Louisiana State University: “LSU fully funds all students accepted into the program, offering teaching assistantships and a full tuition waiver, as well as an excellent health insurance package.”
Note for LSU: student fee costs are not covered.
University of Maryland: “Each year, the program accepts 8 applicants (4 fiction writers and 4 poets), who are fully funded by Teaching Assistantships, and, this past admissions cycle, we were able to enhance 6 Teaching Assistantships with additional fellowship support. Our aid packages are typically 2-year agreements. As Teaching Assistants, our MFA students teach one class during their first year (in the spring semester) and three classes during their second year. Although a great deal of this teaching is Academic Writing (English 101), our MFA students are guaranteed at least one chance to teach an undergraduate creative writing workshop or to serve as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate literature course.”
Miami University: “All students admitted to the MFA program in Creative Writing hold generous Graduate Assistantships (which include a summer stipend), teaching first-year composition in Miami’s renowned rhetoric and composition program. Non-teaching assistantships may also be available. Students teach creative writing during the second year, and two MFA writers annually are awarded creative writing internships in China.”
University of Miami: “The James Michener Fellowships and Teaching Assistantships support all our graduate students. Awards include a full tuition waiver and annual stipend of $15,965. MFA candidates teach one section of Introduction to Creative Writing per semester during their second year in the program or one section each of Creative Writing and Composition.”
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: “In the first year, all MFA students accepted into the program are offered a full tuition waiver and a stipend of $16,000, either through a fellowship or a combination of a gradership and a fellowship, as well as $6,000 in summer funding. The total first year package equals $22,000. Applicants will also be considered, where appropriate, for Rackham Merit Fellowships, which offer, together with the Department of English funding, a stipend and summer-funding package equalling $22,000, as well as health insurance. Second year support includes a complete tuition waiver, stipend (currently for 2013–2014, $18,600), and health care benefits through a Graduate Student Instructorship teaching an undergraduate creative writing or introductory composition course.”
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis: “The English Department at the University of Minnesota is committed to providing financial support in the form of teaching assistantships MFA students for three full years. Teaching assistantships include a stipend of approximately $14,000 per year (9-month teaching appointment), which includes a full tuition waiver of 14 credits per semester and comprehensive health benefits. In addition, grants and fellowships from outside the department may be available, by nomination, to incoming students.”
University of Mississippi, Oxford: “Each year we award two incoming students with John and Renée Grisham Fellowships (one in fiction and one in poetry), a $60,000 package that includes full tuition, health care, and an annual stipend of $14,000, renewable for three years. During this time, Grisham fellows have no teaching responsibilities. Other incoming students receive Teaching Assistantships, and the current stipend structure for the Fellowship is $11,500 per year, which includes $250 for the health insurance premium. Along with the stipend, TA’s will receive a tuition scholarship from the Graduate School covering resident tuition.”
University of Nevada, Las Vegas: “All students who are admitted to the MFA receive a Graduate Teaching Assistantship which includes a stipend of $15,000 a year and tuition waiver. Students must purchase health insurance and pay non-tuition fees. Our MFA program is internationally focused and requires all students to spend extended time abroad, for which they receive financial support from the Black Mountain Institute.”
University of New Mexico: “The MFA faculty is committed to supporting its graduate students with teaching assistantships for the full three years it takes most students to complete the program, offering them the opportunity to teach not only Freshman Composition and Expository Writing but Introduction to Creative Writing as well. At UNM, we believe that MFA students should not go wildly into debt while completing their degrees. For this reason we encourage all applicants to our program to apply for teaching assistantships. Our program is small by national standards, but with a relatively small student-faculty ratio and competitive teaching stipends for three years, we believe we offer our MFA students the chance to fully immerse themselves in writing without the exorbitant price tags attached to some other MFA programs.”
North Carolina State University: “We admit about ten students/year, in fiction and poetry, and provide stipends and health insurance”
Northwestern University (MFA): The Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program, distinct from a separate part-time MFA run out of the university’s professional studies school, offers full support for three years and two summers, and awards a simultaneous MA in English to all graduates. The current stipend as of 2020-2021 is $32,844, disbursed in the form of fellowships in years one and three, and a teaching assistantship in year two. Health insurance is fully subsidized.
University of Notre Dame: “Every student admitted to the MFA receives: 1) a full tuition scholarship, 2) a fellowship which carries a full stipend (currently $12,500 per year) and responsibilities in the areas of publications, outreach projects, and/or teaching creative writing (NOT comp) and 3) access to a 100% health insurance subsidy.”
Note: Contraceptive coverage is being phased out by Notre Dame.
Ohio University, Scripps College of Communication (MFA): This MFA in communication is unique, covering nonfiction, journalism, and interactive media through coursework that emphasizes hands-on production skills. Each year, six admitted students receive full tuition scholarships (note that these do not cover fees or insurance at OU) and a $12000 stipend. In exchange, students provide 120 hours of service to the community each year and teach each semester.
Ohio University (PhD): “All graduate students at the MA and PhD level receive nationally competitive graduate stipends (up to $15,000 per year) and full tuition waivers. They are also eligible for summer research stipends, and receive generous graduate student travel funding. Additionally, they have the opportunity to teach a wide range of courses, including creative writing workshops. Students also compete for editorial fellowships on New Ohio Review, Quarter after Eight, and Brevity.”
University of Oregon, Eugene: “The Creative Writing Program funds all incoming students with a Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF) appointment. Students with CRWR GTF appointments receive full tuition waivers, monthly stipends (approximately $18,000 for the 2015-2016 academic year), and health coverage.”
Oregon State University: “All accepted students are fully funded through Graduate Teaching Assistantships, tuition waivers, and stipends to defray half of student fees. We submit our top candidates for prestigious university-wide fellowships and scholarships.”
Purdue University: “Teaching assistantships in any of the composition programs, including creative writing, provide a base stipend of approximately $13,000 for ten months, remission of tuition and most fees, plus merit raises. The teaching load is usually one course per semester, and after the first year students also have the opportunity for additional teaching and pay above and beyond the base stipend. A few merit fellowships provide tax-free stipends of more than $18,000 for 12 months and remission of tuition and fees.”
Rutgers-Camden: “Beginning in Fall 2017, the program will offer all admitted full-time students full financial support, including tuition remission and a living stipend. Students will be supported with either traditional TAships or Interdisciplinary Fellowships.”
Rutgers University-Newark: “Beginning in the Fall of 2016, the Rutgers University-Newark Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program will fully fund fourteen admitted full time students each year. TAs will receive Tuition Remission and 25K per year in exchange for teaching one class of Composition or Creative Writing (top GRE Verbal score and prior teaching preferred). All accepted full-time students will receive full In-state Tuition Remission, and a $15,000 Chancellor’s Stipend each year. Full-time accepted students will be eligible for other types of financial assistance; these funds can take the form of part-time lectureship (PTL, an addition $8400 per year), or a Truman Capote Fellowship, at the department’s discretion.”
Syracuse University: “All students are fully funded. Each student admitted receives a full tuition scholarship in addition to an annual stipend of $13,040.00-$17,220.00.”
University of Texas in Austin (New Writers Project): “All students in the New Writers Project receive two years of full funding through a combination of teaching assistantships from the English Department and fellowship support from the Michener Center for Writers. The complete package includes tuition benefits, employee health insurance, and a living stipend.”
University of Texas, James Michener Center: “each admitted student receives a Michener Fellowship of $27,500 per academic year, plus remission of all required tuition and fees.”
Vanderbilt University: The stipend for the 2012-2013 school year was $24,000 and full tuition covered.
University of Virginia: “If you join our two-year program, you will receive support in the amount of $20,000 each academic year, as well as full funding of your tuition, enrollment fees, and the health insurance premium for single-person coverage through the university. You will have no teaching responsibilities in your first year of study, so that you can focus on your writing. In your second year, you will teach one introductory-level creative writing workshop in fiction or poetry each semester.”
Virginia Tech: “All students fully funded through Graduate Teaching Assistantships with annual stipends of $16,000. Funding package includes full tuition remission and health insurance”
Washington University in St. Louis: “First year awards consist of scholarships, which cover the full cost of tuition (for 2014-15, $40,950 for 2 semesters of 12 units each), plus University Fellowships to cover living expenses, with stipends which vary slightly from year to year but are $21,150 for 2014-15. Support in the second year is also full and equal among all of our students, providing they complete the first year in good academic standing and are deemed fully prepared to teach by the Writing Program faculty.”
West Virginia University: “All M.F.A.s at WVU are fully funded and have opportunities to teach composition, creative writing, and professional writing, and to do outreach via the Appalachian Prison Book Project and the Bolton Workshop for Writing Teachers. The current MFA stipend is $15,650.”
Wichita State University: “All of our MFA receive financial support from the university through graduate teaching assistantships and fellowships which cover their tuition and provide a stipend.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison: “All accepted MFA candidates regardless of residency or nationality receive tuition remissions (i.e., free tuition), teaching assistantships, generous health insurance (the same as faculty) and other financial support. In addition to the approximately $11,300 paid to each MFA annually in exchange for teaching, every MFA candidate will receive a $3,000 award at the start of each semester they spend in the program (a total of $12,000 over the course of two years). One poet will be awarded a Martha Meier Renk Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Poetry upon admission to the program. During each semester of the first year, the Renk Fellow will receive the same teaching assistantship (i.e., teaching English 207), tuition remission, and generous health benefits as the other MFAs in Poetry. During the Renk Fellow’s second year, he or she will receive, in lieu of a teaching assistantship, a stipend of approximately $14,000, an expense account of $1,500, tuition remission, and the same generous health benefits as the other MFA students.”
University of Wyoming, Laramie: “All of our full-time MFA students are fully funded with two-year graduate assistantships. Currently, assistantships include a stipend of $11,700 per academic year, a tuition and fees waiver, and student health insurance. Our students also receive summer stipends in the amount of $2,000 for the summer between the first and second years of the program.”