Chatham's Creative Writing MFA program stands out with opportunities that can be found nowhere else. No other MFA program in the United States offers the possibility of concentrations in travel writing, teaching, publishing, or nature writing in addition to a primary genre focus (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children's writing), and no other MFA program offers the ability to have a dual-genre focus (in poetry and nonfiction, or children's writing and fiction, for example). We are also the only MFA program in the country to offer both an on-the-ground full-residency program and a low-residency program as well as the ability to easily move between the two programs.
Our alumni have gone on to publish and teach; many are also pioneers and leaders in arts programs that work to foster creativity and social justice. Our program continues to be inspired by the work of Chatham alumna, Rachel Carson, a creative writer whose work demonstrates both lyricism and social conscience. The Words Without Walls program, in which MFA students go into the Allegheny County Jail to teach inmates creative writing, is only one of several social outreach programs developed and run by Chatham MFA students that offer transformative experiences for both students and an underserved population. At Chatham, community service is not just something you do outside of your graduate program, it's built into the core of the program.