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University of montana creative writing mfa

University of montana creative writing mfa

Literary fiction on Monday, pulp on Tuesday, YA on Wednesday, poetry on Thursday. Luke Larkin of the University of Montana tells Jared about crossing and mixing genres in a program with a literary pedigree, how queerness and Catholicism influence his writing, and surviving (and thriving!) in the natural beauty and long winters of Missoula.

Luke Larkin earned his BA in creative writing at the University of Montana before entering UM’s MFA program, where he is a second-year fiction student and editor-in-chief of CutBank Magazine, the program’s long-running literary magazine. While he studies fiction primarily, he also writes creative nonfiction and poetry. His work has appeared in Popshot, HAD, Barren Magazine, and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @lukeglarkin, his website,, and the micro magazine Unstamatic.

University of Montana, Missoula

Founded in 1920, the University of Montana Creative Writing Program is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country. We offer long winters, brilliant peers, a diverse and engaged faculty, excellent funding, and community that lasts long after the program ends.

We provide students with a variety of awards, fellowships, scholarships and TA positions. TA’s teach one class per semester in exchange for a tuition waiver + a generous stipend. We provide excellent training for teaching both composition and creative writing. We also offer Truman Capote Scholarships (tuition waivers and stipends without the obligation of teaching).

Students take 4 workshops in fiction, nonfiction or poetry; 1 techniques course; 4 literature or special topics courses; and a year-long, one-on-one mentorship with a faculty member that results in a thesis manuscript. We offer elective courses in critical theory, film, storytelling and teaching with a focus on preparing writers to teach a variety of courses at the college level. More than 50 of our graduates hold tenure-line teaching positions in creative writing at universities across the country; 12 of them are directors of creative writing programs.

Former students have published widely (over 27% of our graduates have books with reputable publishing houses). Our alumni include Sandra Alcosser, Kim Barnes, Judy Blunt, Kevin Canty, Emily Danforth, Rick DeMarinis, Michael Fitzgerald (CEO of Submittable), David Gilbert, Andrew Sean Greer, Shannon Hale, Frances Hwang, Megan Kruse, Melissa Kwasny, Aryn Kyle, Stephanie K. Land, J. Robert Lennon, Abi Maxwell, Neil McMahon, Deirdre McNamer, Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Janisse Ray, Steven Rinella, Kim Todd, Amanda Eyre Ward, James Welch, Robert Wrigley, Khaty Xiong, William Finnegan – winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography and Andrew Sean Greer, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

We offer direct access to agents, editors and publishers with an annual Writers at Work conference. Our program actively assists students in creating successful careers with writing. University of Montana alumni generously donate their time and expertise, providing a network of mentorship for current students.

Students direct their own reading series, Second Wind, pairing second year MFA students with community writers. They also edit and publish CutBank, a noted literary journal featuring poetry, prose, art and critical work by both emerging and established artists. The Editor-in-Chief receives full funding.

Each year the program welcomes in semester-long visiting writers in both poetry and prose. We also sponsor frequent readings and workshops by short-term visiting writers. Recent visitors include Sherwin Bitsui, Marilyn Chin, Charles D’Ambrosio, Timothy Donnelly, Pete Fromm, Alexandra Fuller, Walter Kirn, William Kittredge, Catherine Lacey, Chang-rae Lee, Sandra Lim, Barry Lopez, Alice Notley, Peter Orner, Susan Orlean, Gregory Pardlo, D.A. Powell, Claudia Rankine, Mary Szybist, Jess Walter, Tracey Kidder and Dara Weir.

Beginning spring of 2023, UM’s Creative Writing Program will welcome the first James Welch Distinguished Native American Writer to campus for the semester. This annual chair was established in honor of Montana author James Welch, a internationally celebrated Native American author who wrote poetry, fiction and nonfiction, but is best known for his novels Winter in the Blood and Fools Crow.

MFA Program

The MFA Program is highly competitive and accepts a limited number of students each year. The Faculty meets as a group to view portfolios, assess compatibility and look for achievements within the artists’ field of work.

All supporting materials, besides transcripts, must be electronically submitted by Feb. 15th for full consideration.

A list of required materials are:

Application. The application is available online for a non-refundable application fee of $60 please go to the Graduate School site . The School of Art does not accept paper applications, only the electronic version.

Any application which is received after the deadline will be considered on a case by case basis.

Current Resume/CV.

Artist Statement. Prepare an artist statement addressing your work, including what you see as your major issues. The statement should intend to explain, justify, extend, and/or contextualize your own body of work. It should place or attempt to place the work in relationship to art history, critical theory, and the contemporary art world; it is therefore didactic, descriptive, or reflective in nature. Further, the statement shows that you are conscious of your intentions, aware of your practice and its position within art parameters and of the discourse surrounding it. Therefore, not only should it describe and place, but it should indicate the level of your own comprehension of the field and making. Consider this paper to be a comprehensive and serious statement of your work to date, and it will be seen as part of your total presentation during the application review process. The statement is not optional.

Image/Art Portfolio. Please upload one single PDF with up to twenty images representative of your most current work. Admission to the MFA program is highly competitive and consideration by the faculty of the quality of your work (as represented by images of good quality) is a very important factor.

Official Transcripts. You will not need to provide transcripts for credits prior to obtaining your undergraduate degree, if those credits and grades appear on the undergraduate transcript. Official transcripts can be sent electronically to [email protected] or by mail to: MSU, School of Art, 213 Haynes Hall, P.O. Box 173680, Bozeman MT 59717. Please let us know you are applying to the MFA program before sending transcripts, so we know to expect the documents. Unoffical transcripts may be uploaded by the applicant during the application process and the application will be reviewed, however no official action can be taken until official copies are received. Undergraduate alumni of MSU-Bozeman do not need to submit official MSU transcripts, however uploading unofficial transcripts during the application process is helpful.

Three (3) Professional References. During this online process, you will be asked to provide information about your references. This electronic process will prompt each reference to submit a signed reference letter and complete a recommendation form. The required letters should address your capacity and ability to pursue a graduate program.

Personal Statement or additional supporting materials – optional.

International students. In addition to the above, international applicants will be required to submit a variety of additional documentation including English proficiency scores. Please see the International application process page for further information.

The Master of Fine Arts is a project based, non-media specific curriculum that focuses on individual artistic development and creative leadership. The program brings together talented individuals from a variety of different media building a community that fosters exploration, professionalism and creative success.

Each semester students develop, propose and execute projects; the development and iteration of these projects is a creative act in itself and a core concept of the program. The goal is twofold, to center the graduate experience in the conceptual and production processes of sophisticated art making, and to graduate individuals who are capable of successfully developing, organizing and executing complex artistic/entrepreneurial endeavors. Projects based in all traditional fine art media along with environmental art, new media and installation can be accommodated.

The School of Art offers state of the art facilities for intensive graduate study. The 6000 square ft. Melvin Graduate Studios provides spacious light-filled studios with mountain views and a large gallery for student exhibitions. With a working kitchen, and 12 semi-private studios, you will feel right at home. Students have the space to work on large wall works or enjoy the ample floor space for 3-D art making. The facility includes a wood shop with a band saw, table saw, and drill press as well as electric, gas, and woodfired kilns for cereamics. The Graduate Art Studio also provides Wi-Fi Internet access.

NOTE: If you are not a Montana resident, you may be eligible for 150% of in-state tuition under the WRGP-WICHE program. The receipt of a WRGP tuition change is not automatic and is subject to an additional review by the Graduate School and the College of Arts & Architecture. If you would like to be nominated to receive one of these limited spots, please request consideration on the bottom of page 7 (check box) of the online application. Then on page 8 upload a brief memo explaining why you feel you should be nominated. If awarded, you will be notified at the time of admission.

If you have any further questions, please contact the MFA Coordinator, Rollin Beamish, at [email protected] Or if you would like some general information about Graduate School please fill out the inquiry form here.