Mills College

Oakland, CA

Our goal is to help you claim your individual voice and vision through mentoring, community activism, and interaction with a diversity of colleagues, faculty members, and literatures. Our graduate students thrive because of our committed teaching, access to stimulating academic and community opportunities, and the ability to engage in interdisciplinary work with other Mills programs in literature, arts, and education. Some principles that guide our program:

  •  We cultivate an environment where students and faculty embrace intellectual and creative challenges, and evolve as artists and intellectuals. 
  • We are part of a community, not just a campus, which facilitates the development of political and social consciousness. We meet difficult questions head on, engaging critically and respectfully with the work of others.
  • Our classrooms value the diverse knowledge and experiences our students bring.
  • We are committed to making expectations clear and achievable; teaching concrete skills for critical and creative inquiry, self-empowerment, and expression; and demystifying academic conventions and the creative process.
  • We acknowledge that in any conversation about reading, writing, culture, art, and society, there can never be one final opinion.

Degrees Offered



Fiction, Poetry, CNF

Residency type


Program length

 44 credits, 2–3 years

Part-time study


Financial Aid

We offer a wide range of part-time graduate assistantships that provide valuable experience in teaching, tutoring, arts administration, editing, and publishing.  We also offer a small number of competitive full-tuition fellowships. All prospective students are also advised to apply for federal and state financial aid in the form of loans. 

Teaching opportunities

Courses in pedagogy, internships at local community colleges, assistantships and TAships are available.

Editorial opportunities

Course in literary editing and production; assistantships and other opportunities to work on graduate journal 580 Split:

Cross-genre study

In general, our MFA program encourages focused study in the admitted genre, with the goal of completing a risky, investigative, and confident thesis. We require three workshops in the admitted genre, two taken consecutively in the first year of study. However, there are no genre restrictions around electives or craft requirements.


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