Creative Writing and Environment


Program Information:

Program Statement:
    Iowa State University’s three-year MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment cultivates in its students an interdisciplinary approach to research and writing. The program's unique design allows writers to develop a heightened environmental imagination that finds expression in quality, publishable works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. The program is designed to prepare students for careers as writers, teachers, editors, and environmental educators. The MFA degree requires 54 hours of graduate credit: a core of creative writing courses, a book-length thesis (6 credits), experiential environmental fieldwork (3 credits), and 12 credits in disciplines other than English (such as Landscape Architecture, Anthropology, Environmental Science, among many others) relevant to an individual student's research interests and thesis project.
Degrees Offered:
  • Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Program Handbook(s):
Learning Goals:
  • Demonstrate understanding of craft and professional practice through coursework, workshops, and completion of refined imaginative literary manuscripts in multiple genres
  • Identify, research, and examine—through coursework, fieldwork, and literary practice—the natural world and the environmental imagination
  • Broaden and deepen understanding of literary and theoretical traditions of the major genres and the methodologies of craft analysis and practice
  • Broaden and deepen understanding of the cultural and natural environment through significant coursework in environmental courses available at Iowa State University both within and beyond the MFA program and English Department
  • Design, write, workshop, refine, and defend a significant body of publishable- or production-quality imaginative writing, including a full-length thesis manuscript, which demonstrates professional understanding and application of craft and technique, literary tradition, and the environmental imagination
  • Gain practical training and experience in creating and fostering a healthy literary community and sustaining a professional life in letters through teaching and research assistantships and internships, literary journal editorial internships and positions, as well as land stewardship, reading series, and other outreach opportunities
How long does it take to earn a degree?
  • Median time to earn the master’s: 2.8 years (Methods)

Program Contact:

Contact: Graduate Program Office
Phone: 515-294-2477
E-mail Address:

Mailing Address:

    English Department
    Graduate Program Office
    Iowa State University
    227 Ross Hall
    Ames, IA 50011-1201

Admission Requirements:

Graduate College Requirements:
  • 4 year Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)
  • Academic Records/Transcripts
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (Program may alter requirement.)
  • Proof of English Proficiency.
Program Specific Requirements: International Requirements:
  • Financial Statement: Application
  • English Proficiency Minimum:
    TOEFL Paper (PBT) 587
    TOEFL Internet (iBT) 95
    IELTS 7
    PTE 68
    Duolingo (approved through spring 2025) 115

Application Information:

Application Deadlines:
    January 5 (once per year for fall semester entry only). Early application completion is encouraged.
Application Details:
    This program is open to domestic and international students.

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