​​Creative Writing advertisementProgram Overview

Students in the Creative Writing program at Central Michigan University work to complete an exit portfolio consisting of their strongest short stories, novel excerpts, poems, creative nonfiction essays, or a combination of these genres. Students work closely with award-winning faculty, make connections with prominent authors, and build lifelong friendships with their peers.

This concentration is ideal for those who have a passion for creative writing and wish to develop their talent as well as those who wish to apply to MFA or PhD programs, enter the job market, or publish their work.

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences."

- Sylvia Plath​

Students in our program

  • Write creatively, their way. Our students work toward the completion of an exit portfolio consisting of their strongest short stories, novel excerpts, poems, or creative nonfiction essays, or a combination of these genres. This portfolio prepares them to apply to MFA or PhD programs in creative writing, go on to t​he job market, or publish their work.
  • Receive individual attention from our widely published, award winning faculty.  Faculty in our program have collectively published eleven books of fiction and poetry in the past ten years and have won a variety of teaching awards, including the CMU Excellence in Teaching Award, the University’s highest honor for teachers.  
  • Have the opportunity to serve as editors for our graduate literary journal, Temenos, which receives submissions from all over the country.  
  • Make connections with prominent writers from all over the country through our two reading series—the English Department’s Visiting Writers Series and the Wellspring Literary Series.  Recent visitors to our program include Dan Chaon, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Marie Howe, Thomas Lux, Lance Olsen, Ross Gay, Fleda Brown, Alissa Nutting, and many more.  

Graduates of our program

  • Go on to study at top MFA and PhD programs.  Recent graduates have been accepted to MFA programs at UC Boulder, Bowling Green State, Columbia Chicago, Emerson College, Georgetown, Rutgers, and more, and to PhD programs at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Wayne State University, and The University of Utah.  
  • Compete well for assistantships and scholarships at MFA and PhD programs.
  • Land teaching jobs at community colleges.  Recent graduates have been hired to teach at Mid Michigan Community College, Montcalm Community College, Delta Community College, and Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, among others.  
  • ​Publish well.  Notable graduates of our program include John Grogan, author of the bestselling novel Marley and Me; Paula McClain, author of the bestselling novel, The Paris Wife; Keith Taylor, author of the book Guilty at the Rapture and director of the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan; and Rochelle Savran, author of the poetry collection The Common Fire, published by Red Hen Press.

Assistantship and Fellowship

Graduate classes are offered in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate working adults and financial support in the forms of graduate assistantships and fellowships are available to highly qualified applicants. 

Graduate assistantship information

Graduate studies financial aid​

Graduate Scholarships​

Admission Requirements

The applicant to the Master of Arts in English Language and Literature: Creative Writing concentration must have had an undergraduate major or minor in English with a grade point
average of at least 3.0 on a four-point scale and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.

Applicants must submit a statement of intent and provide a portfolio of writing consisting either of 15 pages of poetry or 30 pages of prose.

For applicants whose native language is not English, a TOEFL score of 550 and a TWE of at least 5, or a MELAB of 85 are required.

Statement of intent and writing sample should be submitted along with other application materials through the College of Graduate Studies submission system. (Follow link under Apply Now below).

Degree Requirements​

Required Courses I (6 hours)
ENG 535 - History of Literary Criticism 3(3-0)
ENG 602 - Research Materials and Methods 3(3-0)
Required Courses II (9 hours)
ENG 635 - Seminar in English Literature 3(3-0)
ENG 656 - Seminar in American Literature 3(3-0)
ENG 665 - Seminar in World Literature 3(3-0)
Required Courses III (6 hours)
Workshop Courses
   Select six hours from the following:
ENG 591 - Seminar: Writing Fiction (3-6)
ENG 691 - Seminar: Writing Fiction (3-6)
ENG 592 - Seminar: Writing Poetry (3-6)
ENG 692 - Seminar: Writing Poetry (3-6)
Required Courses IV (3 hours) 
  Select one of the following:
ENG 694 - The Craft of Fiction (3)
ENG 695 - The Craft of Poetry (3)

Unrestricted Electives (6 hours) 
Hours authorized by the advisor and planned with the student.

Capstone Portfolio Project
The MAELL in Creative Writing requires a Plan B portfolio. Students will need to submit a portfolio of written materials in the semester immediately prior to graduation.

TOTAL: 30 credit hours 


For more information about degree requirements, visit the CMU Academic Bulletins.​

Accelerated Master of Arts in English Language & Literature: Creative Writing Concentration

(Currently enrolled CMU undergraduate students only)

Admission Standards
Students must be a signed major in English or a related field.

1. Maintain an overall cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and a grade of 3.25 or higher in at least two of the following courses: ENG 294WI, ENG 301WI, ENG 391WI, ENG 392WI, ENG 491WI, ENG 492WI, ENG 493.

2. Submit a writing sample and cover letter (for more details, contact the Department of English Lanaguge & Literature at 989-774-3171).

3. Obtain written approval from the Chair of the Department of English Language & Literature.

4. Obtain College of Graduate Studies approval of courses selected to double-count on both the BA/BS and MA.

Retention Standards
Maintain a 3.25 GPA in English courses. Students who fail to maintain a 3.25 GPA in English courses in two successive semesters will be removed from the accelerated program.

Note: Students considering an accelerated MA program should be aware that their financial aid may be affected for courses double-counting on the BA/BS and MA. Contact the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid for information at 989-774-3674 or cmuosfa@cmich.edu.

Apply now!

​Click here to start your application​ to the MA program in English Language and Literature today!

For More Information

For more information about the MAELL-CW, contact:

Dr. Darrin Doyle, Professor of English
Department of English Language & Literature Graduate Coordinator
Anspach 301E
Mt. Pleasant MI 48859
(989) 774-3171

For specific information on graduate school admissions requirements, visit the CMU College of Graduate Studies' website at www.grad.cmich.edu