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UMSL’s MFA program is young--not yet 25 years old. In the past two decades, our graduates have published over 50 books of poetry, fiction, scholarship, and creative nonfiction. We are proud to claim among our alumni writers such as Ron Austin, Michael Nye, Kelli Allen, Sally Van Doren, and Rewa Zeinati. UMSL MFA students and alumni have published their work in the many of the best literary magazines in the country.

Of course, we can’t take too much credit for the success of these writers. We are fortunate to have such talented students in our program. Our goal, as faculty, is to provide an outlet for that talent, an atmosphere of support and accountability, and the tools to help writers create their most expressive, daring, powerful work. Any opportunity to name-drop or humblebrag is a bonus.

At the center of the MFA program is the community, which is built and sustained in classes, in social settings, and across the literary landscape of Saint Louis. Because many of our alumni remain in St. Louis after graduation, you will find them at readings, on the editorial boards of literary magazines, and otherwise involved in St. Louis’s vibrant cultural life. Others leave town to pursue further graduate study, or to take jobs in editing or publishing, or simply to seek out their next adventure. Wherever they will go, they will carry with them the lessons learned, the connections made, and the good work done in the MFA at UMSL.

Because our classes are held in the evenings, and because our in-state tuition (for residents of both Missouri and Illinois) is so affordable, many of our students are working adults who pursue the degree part-time. While students can finish in three years, or even two, others finish in four or five. Our program is designed to be flexible and accommodating for everyone, regardless of how the pursuit of the MFA fits into your life.

The program of study, too, is flexible and accommodating. Students are required to take 15 hours of workshop, one three-hour seminar in forms and techniques, and one course in literary journal editing. Fifteen credit hours are set aside for electives: students may take courses in the English MA program or in other graduate programs (such as history or museum studies); or they may take other MFA seminar courses; or they may explore other creative ways of fulfilling those credits. In their final semester, students enroll in three hours of thesis credit, during which they work closely with a member of the MFA faculty to produce a thesis of their very best work.

The world is chock-a-block with MFA programs, and you can’t apply to all of them. But I hope you’ll give UMSL’s a closer look. Ours is a supportive, diverse, dynamic community, and our flexibility and student-centered approach make it easy for you to be a part of it. Our program is young, energetic, and accomplished, and we are eager to see what the future holds. Join us.


Contact Info:

Office email: seelys@umsl.edu
Office Phone: (314) 516-5856

Mailing Address: 
Shane Seely, MFA Program
University of Missouri - St. Louis
One University Boulevard
St. Louis MO 63121