Degrees Offered



Fiction, Poetry

Program length

3 years

Financial Aid

We offer funding to all entering and returning MFA students through a variety of assistantships and fellowships. Second- and third-year students, as well as first-year students entering the program with 18 hours of graduate English credit, are eligible for Graduate Teaching Assistantships that provide full tuition abatement in addition to an annual stipend ($14,800 in 2019). Students entering without 18 graduate English credit hours are eligible for Graduate Instructional Assistantships that confer automatic in-state status, a 50 percent tuition abatement, and an annual stipend ($10,125 in 2019). After their first year, assuming they complete 18 credit hours and are in good standing, they will receive fully funded Graduate Teaching Assistantships in their second and third years. We also offer several supplemental fellowships and scholarships on a competitive basis.

Prospective students whose applications are received by the December 15 application deadline are automatically considered for all funding options, including assistantships and fellowships. There is no separate application for assistantships or other funding.

The teaching load for Graduate Teaching Assistants is three courses per academic year (either a 1/2 or a 2/1 load). While most of this teaching load is in our First-Year English program, many MFA students also teach creative writing or literature while they are here. Graduate Instructional Assistants serve as assistants in large literature courses taught by professors or as tutors in the Writing Center. Substantial training and ongoing support is provided for new and continuing teaching assistants.

Teaching opportunities

While specific opportunities cannot be guaranteed, the USC English department has a strong record of offering graduate instructors a chance to teach not just traditional first-year English classes but also a wide range of upper-level courses in literature and writing. Students in the MFA program have often been able to teach English 360, the undergraduate introductory course in creative writing, as well as courses in creative nonfiction and professional writing. Interested students may also apply to teach various undergraduate literature courses.

Editorial opportunities

Our nationally recognized literary journal is administered and edited by our MFA students. The journal features original work by and interviews with well-known and emerging authors. Yemassee also runs successful prose and poetry competitions each year. Interested students participate as editors, genre editors, readers, and interviewers.

Cross-genre study

CNF workshops are available for students in poetry or fiction.


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