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The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a broad program of study (42 credit hours) designed to prepare students for careers as writers or other positions requiring similar professional skills, such as editing, publishing, and content development for the web; to enable students to improve their writing in more than one genre through interaction with the faculty and other writing students; and to become experienced critics of literary works. The focus on nature, environmental, and travel writing provides students with unique opportunities to explore the world.

The MFA Program will offer the following fellowships for 2019-2020:

  • The Margaret L. Whitford Fellowship

This Fellowship carries a full-tuition remission for two years. The Whitford Fellow is responsible, with the Fellow from the previous year, for coordinating the Word Circus reading series - a monthly reading series which features four MFA students followed by an open mic. Additionally, this individual will serve as a liaison between the students and faculty. For 2019-2020 we will offer two Whitford Fellowships, one of which will be for a student of colour.

  • Words Without Walls Fellowship

Individuals awarded this position will teach creative writing in the Words Without Walls program in the Allegheny County Jail, or Sojourner House (a rehabilitation facility for women with children). Competitive applicants for this position will have experience providing instruction in traditional or alternative spaces especially. This position comes with a $10,000 per year award in remitted tuition. For 2019-2020 we will offer two WWW Fellowships, one of which will be for a student of colour.

  • The Fourth River Fellowship

The individual selected for this Fellowship will serve as managing editor of The Fourth River literary journal. The Fourth River Fellow will manage production timelines and schedules for the online and print issues of the journal, coordinate reading schedules for the Submittable queue, work closely with designers and authors, and represent Chatham's MFA program and The Fourth River at AWP, the Conversations and Connections Conference, and launch parties. This Fellowship carries a $10,000 award for one year and may be renewed for a second year.

  • Newsletter Editor Assistantship

This Assistantship carries a $10,000 award for one year with the possibility of applying again for the second year. This position requires attendance at all on- and off-campus MFA events in order to provide content and imagery for the monthly and annual MFA newsletter. A competitive applicant will have experience with designing newsletters or similar materials and have experience with Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher or another design software.

  • Research Assistantship

These positions will provide support for research and creative activity of faculty or projects of the MFA program, as well as researching and assisting with grant proposals for the program or individual faculty members. Students may also be tasked to assist with coordinating the Summer Community of Writers Residency schedule and operation or teaching. They carry a $5,000/year award. This is a one-year position which may be renewed for a second year.


Candidates must be eligible to apply for early admission (i.e., have a 3.5 overall GPA).

Digital Application

Submit your 2019-2020 fellowship application here

Deadlines & Dates

Please note that applications completed after February 15th, 2020 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

February 15, 2020

Early Application and Fellowship Application: if you wish to be considered for early admission and for one of our fellowships, we must receive all of your materials by this date.

March 1, 2020

Early admission applicants will be notified of their admission, and finalists for the fellowships/assistantships will be notified.

  • March 2020

Interview day for fellowship/assistantship finalists will be communicated by the MFACW Team.

  • March 15, 2020

Fellows and runners-up will be notified by this date.

  • March 30, 2020

Fellows must return signed contracts accepting the assistantship/fellowship by this date.

  • April 2020

Runners-up will be notified until all assistantship/fellowship positions are filled through the Fall 2020 start of courses.



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