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Welcome from the Director


As you probably know, there are plenty of MFA programs in North America – more than three hundred, if you care to count. For those of you on the verge of applying to one or more of these programs, the relevant question is this: What makes the University of Missouri-St. Louis MFA program stand out?

I'll begin my answer by saying that we take the teaching of writing and the practice of writing very seriously in the UMSL MFA program. For the faculty, the creation of stories, poetry, and novels has been a life-long commitment. We read our students' work carefully and provide detailed feedback. For our MFA students, writing is the one great hope and passion of their lives. The creation of good work matters deeply to all of us. But that doesn't mean that our workshops need to feel hostile or competitive. In the UMSL MFA the students and faculty have found the right balance between being rigorous critics and supportive allies in the difficult task of creating quality fiction and poetry. We are a welcoming community.

Lots of universities have on-campus literary journals. Some are loosely attached to an MFA program. Others function independently. Here at the University of Missouri-St. Louis our literary journal, Natural Bridge, is an integral part of our curriculum. Our MFA students all take English 5190: Literary Journal Editing, a class that allows them to read hundreds of poetry and fiction and non-fiction submissions sent from all corners of America and beyond. They choose the best work and take part in the editing and arrangement of the finished journal. It's an invaluable experience. Only by reading lots of literary magazine submissions does an MFA. student know when his or her own work is polished and complete enough to go out in the world seeking publication.

At UMSL most of our MFA classes take place in the evening. This allows students with daytime jobs and busy family lives to take courses at times convenient to their schedules. Some students complete their MFA in two or three years. Others take four or five years to earn their degree. We do our best to help those students who need financial aid–whether it be a teaching assistantship or tutoring position at the university or help in finding teaching jobs at nearby community colleges. Our graduates frequently teach writing at the community college or college level. They also have published poems and stories in some of the best literary magazines in the country.

This recently-updated MFA webpage contains information on classes, requirements, how to apply, readings, student and faculty accomplishments, and much more. If you have additional questions or concerns, please get in touch with me via the contact information listed below.

Thank you for considering the UMSL MFA program in creative writing.

Steven Schreiner, Director, MFA Program

Contact Info:

Office email:
Office Phone: 314-516-5583
Mailing Address:

Steven Schreiner, Director, MFA Program
University of Missouri - St. Louis
One University Boulevard
St. Louis MO 63121