Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The Literary Incubator in the Heart of Silicon Valley 

Our Program and Literary Community

A 48 semester-unit, 3-year studio/research program: 

  • A dual-genre program with concentrations in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting/screenwriting.
  • Curriculum includes writing workshops in primary and secondary genres, literature seminars, professional training courses, and internships.  
  • Connie L. Lurie Distinguished Visiting Author-in Residence. Recent visitors include: Ursula K. Le Guin, Ishmael Reed, Kim Addonizio, Simon Winchester, Tim Cahill, and Daniel Alarcón.
  • Reed Magazine, the oldest student-run literary journal west of the Mississippi.
  • Center for Literary Arts holds readings, discussions, and master classes with writers of exceptional voice and vision in San Jose since 1986.  Guests since 2007 include E.L. Doctorow, Denis Johnson, ZZ Packer, Cristina García, Yiyun Li, Mark Doty, Mary Roach, Salman Rushdie, and Tracy K. Smith.

Apply Now

Admission: Deadline March 1

  • Admission is based on a writing sample in the primary genre, in which the student will complete a full-length thesis.  Students must declare a primary and a secondary genre to apply for admission. 
  • Click here for admission information
  • Ten Reasons Why You Should Apply (move 10 reasons page to a sub-page.)

Ten Reasons to Apply

  1. Small seminar classes (averaging 15-16 students) taught by actively publishing, available faculty
  2. Opportunities to study with the Lurie Visiting Writer, a visiting faculty member who teaches every Spring semester, plus opportunity to be involved in the department's Center for Literary Arts (CLA), one of the premier programs of visiting authors in California
  3. Unique MFA requiring extensive work in a primary and a secondary genre from among four emphases: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, scriptwriting
  4. Unique MFA requiring not only extensive workshop experience in creative writing but also seminars in literary studies/research and offerings in literary production, craft and theory, rhetoric and composition, and advanced individual research/projects
  5. Teaching opportunities while completing the degree through the department's Graduate Assistant and Teaching Assistant programs
  6. Numerous cash awards for student writing
  7. Opportunities to work on Reed, one of the oldest literary journals west of the Mississippi
  8. Terminal degree with required Thesis that may lead to teaching in a junior college, college, or university setting
  9. Successful publication records of a number of recent graduates
  10. Opportunity to be part of an active intellectual, artistic, and social community 

Creative Writing MFA applications open Nov. 1 (for admission fall semester the following year); close March. 1 (postmark deadline)

Important Dates for current MFA Students 


Alan Soldofsky, Director of Creative Writing 
(408) 924-4432 
Faculty Offices 106