Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

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.

Travel Photos

Travel Chatter

  • "As I work towards finishing my PhD in literature and cultural studies, I know my time at Chatham, and especially the faculty's focus on place-based, holistic writing, has prepared me well for a future in literary writing and academia."

    – D. Gilson, MFA '12

  • "Were my expectations met on this [Ecuador] trip? I think that the experiences I've had on this trip so wildly exceeded my expectations that it's overwhelming."

    – Bernadette James, MFA '09

Words Without Walls

words without Walls

Words Without Walls is a creative educational partnership between the the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chatham University, Allegheny County Jail, State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, and Sojourner House, a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for mothers and their children. Learn more.

All the Rage

Words Without Walls Photos

  • "The MFA program exposed me to such a rich variety of possibilities... My rather simplistic environmental rants became infused with place, voice, scent, taste, history, language, and story."

    – Gina Olszowski, MFA '12

Eden Hall Campus

Chatham's Eden Hall Campus is more than a 388-acre plot of land: it's the world's first campus built from the ground up on the principles of sustainability and the embodiment of a commitment Chatham makes everyday to support sustainability and environmental education. Learn more.

The Fourth River

The Fourth River

Indie Press Fest Photos

Publishing Chatter

  • "In general, writing workshops involve practice and discussion, but the publishing class was also methodical and informative: students learned about contracts, incorporation, working with authors, editing and layout, and marketing — all essential tools, for editors and writers alike."

    – Robert Isenberg, MFA '11

  • "One of the classes I felt was most helpful was Publishing. It required putting together a chapbook for someone else, which meant meeting with that individual several times. I feel working on a long-term project is more beneficial than working on numerous short-term papers."

    – Sandy Strasser, MFA '08

MFA Program on Instagram

Follow @ChathamUnivMFA on InstagramFollow @ChathamUnivMFA to see more from the latest readings, talks, and travel in the MFA program.

MFA Community Videos

Dialogues: Writing in Divided Times

On-Campus Reading–Marc Nieson

View more MFA in Creative Writing Videos here.

Summer Community of Writers

Hosted by Chatham's MFA in Creative Writing program, Summer Community of Writers is ten days of intensive workshops, craft lectures, and readings with award-winning poets, fiction, and creative nonfiction writers. Learn more.