The Perfect Blend of Creative, Digital Format Plus Short Residency
Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction Workshops
Optional Third Year, Second Genre Thesis
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Low-Residency Creative Writing Program
Discover an inspiring writing community where your characters and stories come to life. With EOU’s online MFA in Creative Writing, you can hone your craft with the support of our talented faculty and other aspiring writers.
Our MFA program offers the hands-on experience needed to expand your writing talents. The summer residency lets you focus on your preferred genre, including fiction, poetry or young adult lit. Gain exposure to groundbreaking work — and receive feedback for yours — during open mics and creative writing workshops. Plus, embark on an ecological backpack experience that inspires your writing.
By completing EOU’s creative writing program, you’ll gain talents for roles in numerous fields, including publishing, marketing and education.
Success Comes Naturally: Wilderness, Ecology and Community Curriculum
You’ll complete 30 credit hours during each year of EOU’s MFA in Creative Writing program. Our faculty helps you cultivate talents in your preferred genre, with the option to select a Young Adult Writing emphasis.
The first-year curriculum offers hands-on experience through writing workshops at the residency. The residency focuses on Wildness, Ecology and Community, letting you engage in the Pacific Northwest’s rich tradition of writing and creativity. You’ll also take online courses focusing on literature, film rhetoric and special writing topics.
During the second year, you’ll take the remaining online courses and work on your thesis. The program culminates with a practicum, letting you get involved in writing or teaching efforts in your local community. EOU also invites students to join us for an optional third year to write another thesis in a second genre.
Optional Young Adult Writing Emphasis
Literature speaks to every generation, especially young adults seeking to make sense of our complex world. With the optional Young Adult Writing emphasis, you can learn to craft prose and poems that captivate and empower young imaginations.View Courses
Our Summer Residency Brings Aspiring Writers Together
EOU’s two-week summer residency is unique because it provides ample hands-on opportunities to MFA cohorts. The residency is required for two summers.
During the first week of your residency, you will join your MFA cohort for the Summer Fishtrap Gathering at Wallowa Lake in northeastern Oregon. This residency offers a wide range of intensive workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfiction and cross-genre writing. You will get opportunities to hear faculty and guest readings, attend open mics, listen to craft talks and enjoy panel presentations. The following week includes related coursework on EOU’s main campus. Throughout this generative, collaborative experience, you will get to work with established professional writers and become inspired by the community.
Alternatively, you have the option to attend class in the nearby Eagle Cap Wilderness. During the weeklong workshops at Wallowa Lake, you would backpack to a wilderness base camp with a group of students and faculty, living in the elements while engaging in generative writing workshops that focus on ecological topics.
By earning your MFA in Creative Writing online through Eastern Oregon University, you can gain qualifications for careers that involve creative expression, such as working as an author or editor. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported the median annual salary for authors and writers was $67,120 in 2020.1 That same year, the median salary for editors was $63,400.2
The online MFA also prepares you for teaching positions, which are always in demand. In fact, the number of open high school teacher roles is projected to increase 8 percent from 2020 to 2030.3
Discover the professional opportunities that await you as a graduate of the online MFA program and embark on the pathway to career success with EOU Online.Explore Careers
- Collaborate with peers and faculty during creative writing workshops
- Complete a literary practicum mirroring the writing career you want to pursue
- Engage in workshop critiques to attune your writing to current and potential audiences
- Prepare to submit work for consideration to literary journals
- Work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to produce your thesis and craft lectures
- Present your work and lectures during the Summer Fishtrap Gathering
- Focus on young adult writing to create prose or poetry that resonates with new generations of readers
What It’s Like to Study Online
Earning your MFA degree online at Eastern Oregon University is a great opportunity because there is only a two-week summer residential requirement. You will have access to the same professors, content and opportunities as on-campus students, only in a creative digital format. Our faculty work on campus and are professionals and experts who are trained to deliver innovative, engaging online education.Online Experience
We feature affordable tuition, especially when compared to similar universities. The total cost of your program (assuming no transfer credits) is just under $31,428. The cost per credit hour for EOU online graduate courses is $520.80.
About 92 percent of online students benefit from financial aid and scholarships to cover part of these costs.View Tuition Details
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about this program.
Additional fees for the summer residencies would include travel, room and board while in attendance at Fishtrap and on EOU’s campus, and these would be dependent on an individual’s choice of options.
The Visiting Writers Series is a series of talks and lectures from established authors, up to a dozen per year. Recent author presentations include Carl Adamshick, “Curses”; Sandra Alcosser, “A Fish to Feed All Hunger”; Sherman Alexie, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian”; Christopher Buckley, “Thank You for Smoking”; Kerry Cohen, “Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity”; Jon Davis, “Preliminary Report”; Matthew Dickman, “Amigos”; Anthony Doerr, “About Grace”; Danielle Deulen, “Lovely Asunder”; Debra Earling, “Perma Red”; Scott Elliott, “Temple Grove: a Novel”; Molly Gloss, “The Jump-Off Creek”; Garrett Hongo, “Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai’i”; Marie Howe, “Magdalene”; Thomas Kennedy, “Copenhagen Quartet”; Keetje Kuipers, “Beautiful in the Mouth”; William Kittredge, “Hole in the Sky”; Melissa Kwasny, “The Nine Senses” and more.
There are opportunities in the MFA program to work with our award-winning literary magazines, “Basalt” and “Oregon East,” as well as with our affiliated presses, Lynx House Press and Lost Horse Press.
Although each year brings different authors to the MFA and its residencies, in the past we have worked with the late Ursula K. LeGuin, Luís Urrea, David James Duncan, William Kittredge and Cheryl Strayed to name a few.
The online program is designed for maximum flexibility and may be taken full-time if you feel you have the time to do so successfully. Full-time means you’ll take 3-4 classes every 11 weeks.
To see the curriculum, view our courses page.
Our most recent virtual open house was held on February 10, 2021. Feel free to watch the most recent virtual open house, and stay tuned for the next live event.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (September 8, 2021). Writers and Authors. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (September 8, 2021). Editors. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/editors.htm.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (September 8, 2021). High School Teachers. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm.