Florida Universities Offering a Master of Fine Arts Writing Degree

Jul 24, 2019

Florida has eight universities that offer Master of Fine Arts writing programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for these eight schools to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in writing are found at 4-year public and private, non-profit universities throughout Florida. Many of these programs have selective admissions policies and most take 2-3 years to complete. Florida's MFA programs in writing focus on fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry. Common program features at these schools include financial aid packages for admitted students and opportunities to teach or contribute to school-sponsored literary publications.

Florida Atlantic University

MFA students at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton can have their work published in the school's literary magazine, Coastlines. A stipend is even available to those who would like to take on editorial responsibilities for this publication. Other financial aid opportunities include assistantships, fellowships and awards for contest submissions. The MFA program employs about seven faculty members. The 48 credits required for this degree are divided in half between writing workshops and literature and theory classes. Additionally, six of the credits are dedicated to thesis work.

Florida International University

At Miami's Florida International University, students earn the MFA in Creative Writing by completing 48 credits of literature and form classes as well as thesis work. They also participate in writing workshops where they study novel writing, short stories, narrative composition, screenwriting, poetry and creative nonfiction. About seven faculty members teach courses in this program. Financial aid is awarded through fellowships and teaching assistantships. Some students might even qualify for tuition waivers. Other program features include opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, such as annual reading series and writer conferences. Students can contribute their work to Gulf Stream Magazine as well.

Florida State University

Tallahassee-based Florida State University offers an MFA in Creative Writing program through the university's English Department and an MFA in Writing program through the College of Motion Picture Arts.

The English Department's creative writing program consists of writing workshops, courses and usually a teaching apprenticeship. This is a very writing-intensive program that requires at least two workshops in fiction, poetry, drama, or article and essay writing, along with a book length thesis. The College of Motion Picture Arts' MFA in Writing focuses on screenwriting and playwriting and includes a semester of study in London. Students build their portfolios throughout the program, and up to 97% of graduates found jobs in the industry within a year of graduation, according to the school.

University of Central Florida

Around 30 students participate in the University of Central Florida's MFA in Creative Writing program in Orlando. While earning their degrees, students can help manage or produce literary journals like The Florida Review and The Cypress Dome. They can also participate in teaching assistantships, visiting writers programs and community service programs.

About eight faculty members teach classes in this MFA program. Students must earn 36 credits to complete degree requirements. These include core and elective classes in poetry, fiction and/or nonfiction, as well as three workshops. The program also encourages students to take on internships. Completion of a publishable thesis rounds out program requirements.

University of Florida

Gainesville's University of Florida offers its MFA program through the Department of English, which is home to about seven creative writing faculty members. The department receives around 500 applications annually but only admits 12 students - six in the fiction genre and six in the poetry genre. During the first two years of this 3-year program, students typically complete coursework, workshops and seminars. They also work with faculty to create a list of reading assignments to be discussed at the end of the semester. The third year is dedicated to writing a thesis, which must contain over 100 pages of fiction or up to 36 poems.

Each MFA student receives fellowships and teaching assistantships totaling almost $16,000 per year - enough to cover tuition costs. Two publications are based in this department: ImageTexT, which focuses on the critical analysis of comics, illustrated poetry and other visual literature, and Subtropics, a literary journal devoted to essays, poems and fiction.

University of Miami

The University of Miami in Coral Gables accepts 14 applicants into its graduate fiction and poetry programs. Financial aid is offered to all MFA students through teaching assistantships and scholarships. Students in this program must complete 36 credits, 18 of which are earned through writing workshops and thesis work focusing on students' chosen genre. Literature classes, electives and, in some cases, teaching practicums make up the rest of the curriculum. Each student must complete a thesis consisting of at least 150 pages of fiction or 50 pages of poetry.

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida offers its MFA in Creative Writing program at its main campus in Tampa. Concentrations are available in fiction and poetry, and students complete 45 credits over the course of a 3-year period. In addition to taking writing classes, they study literary theory and teaching methods. To conclude the program, students must turn in either 48-64 pages of poetry or 100 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction.

University of Tampa

The MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Tampa in Tampa is designed as a low-residency program for those wanting to focus on fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry. The curriculum is divided into four terms over a 2-year period. Each term requires students to attend campus for ten days where they participate in workshops, lectures, readings and discussions. After the 10-day residencies, students continue to work on writing assignments, which they submit to faculty for evaluation. During the fourth and final term, students must work on their theses and prepare for teaching assistantships. The program ends with a fifth residency requirement.

School Comparison: At A Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Writing MFA Degree Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Florida Atlantic University 4-year, public; small city Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing $6,657 in-state;
$17,885 out-of-state*
Florida International University 4-year, public; large suburb Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing $11,097 in-state;
$23,578 out-of-state*
Florida State University 4-year, public; midsize city Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing,
Master of Fine Arts in Writing
$11,553 in-state;
$25,985 out-of-state*
University of Central Florida 4-year, public; large suburb Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing $8,872 in-state;
$27,715 out-of-state*
University of Florida 4-year, public; midsized city Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing $12,737 in-state;
$29,302 out-of-state*
University of Miami 4-year, private non-profit; large suburb Master of Fine Arts in Fiction,
Master of Fine Arts in Poetry
University of South Florida 4-year, public; large city Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing $10,428 in-state;
$21,126 out-of-state*
University of Tampa 4-year, private non-profit; large city Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing $11,222*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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