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Creative writing programs houston

About the Program

To complete your above application, you will need the following:

  1. Official transcript from the baccalaureate degree granting institution
  2. At least twelve hours of upper-division English courses with a 3.0 GPA or better
  3. Contact information, including email addresses, for three academic or professional sources who have agreed to write letters of recommendation on your behalf
  4. Creative writing sample of either 20 double-spaced pages of prose or a collection of 8 to 10 poems. Prose samples may consist of a completed work or excerpts.
  5. A statement of purpose (between 500 and 1000 words)

Deadlines: March 15 (for full consideration including fellowships and graduate assistantships). If you wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship in the Department of English, please complete and return the GA application by these deadlines (Note: The GRE is no longer required.)

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing is designed to assist students in their development as writers of fiction, poetry, and/or creative nonfiction; to provide practical, hands-on experience in the field of editing and publishing through the Texas Review and Texas Review Press; to deepen a student’s critical engagement with language and literature; and to prepare those students for careers as published authors, as well as teachers of creative writing in a range of settings, including universities, schools, arts center, prisons, community outreach centers, and individual workshops.

The MFA program at Sam Houston State University allows you to:

  • focus on poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction;
  • enjoy intensive instruction with dedicated professors.

Students participate in writing workshops in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, undertake coursework in literature and pedagogy, and study narrative and poetic theory. Our workshops are taught by our core faculty—Scott Kaukonen, Ginger Ko, Nick Lantz, and Katie Jean Shinkle, and our students engage regularly with visiting writers of national reputation.

The curriculum for our MFA program is built around the workshop; students take fifteen hours of workshop, including at least three hours in prose and three hours in poetry. MFA students are also required to:

  • take either poetry & prosody or narrative theory;
  • earn six hours of credit in the practicum in publishing courses;
  • take “The Writer’s Life,” a course that prepares students for life in an MFA program—and beyond the MFA program; and
  • complete 15 hours of coursework in literature, language, and pedagogy courses.

The whole process leads to the student’s MFA thesis, which may be a book-length collection of short stories, poems, or essays, or a novel or memoir.

Competitive fellowships, graduate assistantships, and scholarships are available. Our graduate assistants work in a variety of capacities, including with the Texas Review and Texas Review Press, as tutors in the Academic Success Center and teachers of first-year composition courses, and as assistants to the director and other faculty members.

Creative Writing Program

The CWP offers writers intensive training in both creative writing and literary studies.

Meet our faculty and staff.
CWP student, alumni, and faculty spotlight.
Get to know Houston.
Thinking of applying?

Here are some things you’ll need to know.

Wondering what kind of financial support students can expect?

Here’s a brief overview.

The faculty and staff of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program work hard to ensure that their students have a rich and engaging graduate education. The staff provides support for both faculty and students, and the faculty are dedicated to providing a graduate education that helps their students grow as writers and people of letters. Through workshops, independent studies, and literature courses, the faculty work with students to challenge their understanding of themselves as writers and to deepen and critically reflect on the aesthetic, ethical, and political assumptions behind their writing. The faculty and staff seek, above all else, to provide students with a community in which writers can flourish.

Our students and alumni have had book-length works and collections published by Alice James Books, Copper Canyon Press, FiveChapter Books, Four Way Books, Graywolf Press, Harper Perennial, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New Issues Poetry Press, Penguin Press, St. Martin’s Press, Tin House Books, Riverhead, and University of Iowa Press, among others. Their books, poems, stories, and essays have garnered an impressive array of accolades.


George Henson and Daniel Saldaña ParÍs

Brazos Bookstore and Third Place Books welcome translator George Henson and Mexican writer Daniel Saldaña París discussing Henson’s translation of The Love Parade by Sergio Pitol, “one of Mexico’s most culturally complex and composite writers.” (Publishers Weekly)

George Henson is a translator of contemporary Latin American prose and a 2021-2023 Tulsa Artist Fellow. His eight book-length translations include Cervantes laureate Elena Poniatowska’s The Heart of the Artichoke, Luis Jorge Boone’s The Cannibal Night, Alberto Chimal’s The Most Fragile Objects, and Cervantes laureate Sergio Pitol’s The Art of Flight, The Journey, The Magician of Vienna, Mephisto’s Waltz: Selected Short Stories, and, most recently, The Love Parade.

Daniel Saldaña París is a novelist, essayist, and poet. Author of the novels Among Strange Victims (Coffee House Press, 2016) and Ramifications (Coffee House Press, 2020), he was recently awarded the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writers Award in the UK. His collection of personal essays Planes Flying Over a Monster is forthcoming next year.


Gulf Coast Reading Series featuring Cameron Dezen Hamon, Robbie Howell, Gabriella Adriana Iacono, Adele Elise Williams

The Gulf Coast reading series presents the poetry and prose of UH graduate students, paired with prominent featured visiting writers, at Lawndale Art Center. Participating students come from the MFA and PhD programs in Creative Writing.

Gulf Coast Reading Series featuring Cameron Dezen Hamon, Robbie Howell, Gabriella Adriana Iacono, Adele Elise Williams


Joshua Nguyen reads from Come Clean

Thursday, January 20, 7pm
(Zoom link: Brazos Bookstore)

Joshua Nguyen will be presenting with Ariana Brown and Ayokunle Falomo.

Joshua Nguyen is a queer Vietnamese-American writer, a collegiate national poetry slam champion (CUPSI), and a native Houstonian. He is the author of the chapbook, “American Lục Bát for My Mother” (Bull City Press, 2021) and has received fellowships from Kundiman, Tin House, Sundress Academy For The Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. His debut poetry collection, “Come Clean” (University of Wisconsin Press), was the winner of the 2021 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. He is a PhD student at The University of Mississippi, where he also received his MFA.

Ariana Brown is a queer Black Mexican American poet from the Southside of San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of the poetry collections We Are Owed. (Grieveland, 2021) and Sana Sana (Game Over Books, 2020). Ariana’s work investigates queer Black personhood in Mexican American spaces, Black relationality and girlhood, loneliness, and care.

Ayokunle Falomo is Nigerian, American, and the author of African, American (New Delta Review, 2019) and two self-published collections. A recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and MacDowell, his work has been anthologized and published in print and online, including The New York Times, Houston Public Media, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Texas Review, New England Review, Write About Now among others.


Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Honoree Fanonne Jeffers & Tiphanie Yanique

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Tiphanie Yanique will give brief readings from their new novels The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois and Monster in the Middle.

Raised throughout the South, Jeffers is the author of five award-winning poetry collections including The Gospel Barbecue, Outlandish Blues, and Red Clay Suite. Her fifth collection The Age of Phillis was nominated for the National Book Award, the PEN/Voelcker Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the NAACP Image Award.

A former Houstonian, Tiphanie Yanique received an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellowship while earning an MFA from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. With the publication of her debut short story collection How to Escape a Leper Colony, Yanique was named to the National Book Foundation’s prestigious “5 Under 35” list. Yanique’s first novel Land of Love and Drowning won the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award, the Phillis Wheatley Award for Pan-African Literature, and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.