Graduate Creative Writing at Chatham

Chatham’s graduate Creative Writing programs grow from the legacy of Rachel Carson '29, a creative writer known for her social conscience. Our students understand that writing is a public act with the power to effect meaningful change. Their ideas, their convictions, their writing matter. We teach students to think deeply about their places, spaces and identities, to look within and around, and then connect to the world with care and intention. We offer a campus-based, full-residency program and a low-residency (online courses + mentorships + in-person residency) program.

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Campus-based MFA Program

Immerse yourself in a cohort of writers in our full-residency campus-based program. Advance your writing at Chatham’s stunning locations with the support of a passionate and engaged faculty. The program is limited to 15 new students each year and every qualified student will receive scholarship aid (amounts vary). In addition to genres including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, concentrations are available in travel writing, nature writing, food writing, publishing, social engagement/social justice, and teaching/pedagogy. The program starts in the fall and is for full-time students only.

Explore the Campus Program : Checkerboard 1 - Campus-based MFA Program
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Low-residency Mentorship MFA Program

For those who wish a more flexible format and to work closely with a writing mentor, the low-residency mentorship MFA program will help you reach your writing goals, whether you pursue it full- or part-time. Students work closely with mentors who are seasoned educators and award-winning writers from all over the country. In addition, low-residency students have the opportunity to network with creative writing faculty and students during two residencies at the Summer Community of Writers held on Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus.

Explore the Low-Res Program : Checkerboard 2 - Low-residency Mentorship MFA Program
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Summer Community of Writers

The Summer Community of Writers (SCW) is a ten-day, six-credit course that brings together low- and full-residency MFA students, community members, and acclaimed national writers for an intense and exciting learning experience. SCW takes place on our beautiful Eden Hall Campus with daily workshops, dynamic craft lectures, faculty and student readings, and ample time to write that many mention as one of the highlights of their Chatham MFA degree. 

Explore the SCW : Checkerboard 3 - Summer Community of Writers
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The Fourth River

The Fourth River is a journal of nature- and place-based writing published by the Chatham MFA program. The journal takes its name from a subterranean river beneath Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city famously sited at the confluence of three rivers: Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio. The Fourth River literary journal grew up from the idea that between and beneath the visible framework of the human world and the built environment, there exist deeper currents of force and meaning supporting the very structure of that world.

Explore the Fourth River : Checkerboard 5 - The Fourth River
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Alumni Success

Chatham MFA alumni have gone on to hold positions as Editor-in-Chief at Autumn House Press, award-winning journalist for Public Source, acquisition reader at Upstart Crow Literary Agency, writer and community specialist at ModCloth, information specialist at USO (Frankfort, Germany), teaching fellow at Duquesne University, associate professor at Youngstown State University, and official speech writer for Tibetan president in exile.

MFA in Creative Writing

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Holding Space on the Page

Summers at ChathamU usually mean one thing for the literary-minded among us: the MFA in Creative Writing program’s Summer Community of Writers.

Photo of Caitlyn Hunter, a young Black woman, seated between two library bookshelves with a pile of books in front of her. She is reading a book titled "Black Women Writers, 1950-1980"

‘Black is Not a Monolith’

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Play Video

Word Circus is a monthly reading series presented by the Chatham MFA Creative Writing Program in collaboration with Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery.

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Chatham’s MFA Program Gets Creative, Despite COVID

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MFA Student Launches Online Magazine