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Nathan Hill gives a reading at Common Good Books in St. Paul

Pursue your goals in a robust environment

Master’s in Creative Writing and Publishing

Words Have Power

The MA program in Creative Writing and Publishing is focused on intensive practice in the craft of creative writing, as well as training in the theory and practice of publishing. In addition to participating in poetry, fiction, and creative-non-fiction workshops, students can take courses in literature, pedagogy, and cultural studies. Classes are capped at 14 students, allowing for lively classroom engagement and personalized attention. The flexibility of our evening course schedule allows students to engage in a rigorous program while pursuing other career and personal goals.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students in the Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing program will be able to demonstrate the ability to produce a sustained literary work of professional quality written as poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, young adult literature, or a hybrid form. This work will demonstrate technical confidence, mature inquiry into literary form, and a well-developed individual voice or aesthetic.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze literature and articulate responses on craft with acuity and depth. This includes discussion of form and language; literary and cultural contexts; and predecessors, genres, and historical traditions.
  • Appraise and place their own work within literary and cultural contexts.
Senior English major Halle Mason poses for a portrait

01 Get a feel for the program

Life as a Student

Work close with faculty on your projects, gain access to a vibrant publishing community, and come out of the program with a chapbook-length creative writing manuscript. Students in our program receive a level of support and attention that other institutions reserve for doctoral-level students.

Non-Degree Options

If you've been out of school for a while or aren't sure about pursuing this degree, taking non-degree classes might be an ideal choice. When you sign up you will still participate as a full class member with a variety of students and faculty members. This option also gives you the chance to create a writing sample that can be used in the degree-seeking application. From there you can evaluate whether the program's offerings fit your needs, interests and abilities.

Financial Aid and Work Opportunities

  • Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF)
  • Teaching Mentorships
  • Research Grants
  • Internship Opportunities
  • Writing Consultant Positions
  • Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF)

    GTF will support a faculty instructor who is assigned to teach core courses in the Dougherty Family College. The GTF will attend all class sessions; help grade informal and formal writing assignments; update/coordinate Blackboard and other forms of course record-keeping; lead class activities or discussions on select topics; and mentor students individually and in small groups. They will also work in the Scholars Resource Center as a writing tutor.

    Teaching Mentorships

    The Master of Arts in English Program funds five Teaching Mentorships each year for students interested in teaching. Students are paired with a full-time faculty member to shadow and assist them in teaching an undergraduate course. Students will help teach, design assignments, meet with students, and more. These Mentorships are paid per hour with a maximum of 60 hours over the semester.

    Research Grants

    $10,000 Graduate Team Research Grant

    This University of St. Thomas grant funds teams of St. Thomas faculty and graduate student(s) who work together on a significant research project or creative activity over an 8-12 week period during the summer.

    $1,000 Student Research Grant

    The Graduate English Student Research Grant provides funding to support student research involving domestic or international travel to visit archives, libraries, museums, and other research sites.

    Conference Grants

    Students attending conferences and presenting a paper may request a conference participation grant of up to $500.

    Internship Opportunities

    The skills you learn as an English major/minor—critical thinking, close reading, analysis, writing, and editing to name a few—are more important than ever in a society where more words are being produced than at any other time in history because of the internet. All students are encouraged to learn experientially through an internship, part-time job, or volunteerism. The below internship opportunities are suggestions for local Minnesota positions where you can begin to imagine connections between the work you do in the classroom and the life you will build for yourself after graduation. Interns have worked at 1517 Media, The Loft Literary Center, Milkweed Editions, Redleaf Press, and elsewhere. 

    Writing Consultant Positions

    Through these positions, graduate students gain experience working one-on-one with undergraduate and graduate students, gain insight into writing theory and pedagogy (including collaborative learning, process theory, writing across the curriculum, basic writing, and ESL), and learn writing center administration.

    Visit the Center for Writing Website

    Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF)

    GTF will support a faculty instructor who is assigned to teach core courses in the Dougherty Family College. The GTF will attend all class sessions; help grade informal and formal writing assignments; update/coordinate Blackboard and other forms of course record-keeping; lead class activities or discussions on select topics; and mentor students individually and in small groups. They will also work in the Scholars Resource Center as a writing tutor.

    Teaching Mentorships

    The Master of Arts in English Program funds five Teaching Mentorships each year for students interested in teaching. Students are paired with a full-time faculty member to shadow and assist them in teaching an undergraduate course. Students will help teach, design assignments, meet with students, and more. These Mentorships are paid per hour with a maximum of 60 hours over the semester.

    Research Grants

    $10,000 Graduate Team Research Grant

    This University of St. Thomas grant funds teams of St. Thomas faculty and graduate student(s) who work together on a significant research project or creative activity over an 8-12 week period during the summer.

    $1,000 Student Research Grant

    The Graduate English Student Research Grant provides funding to support student research involving domestic or international travel to visit archives, libraries, museums, and other research sites.

    Conference Grants

    Students attending conferences and presenting a paper may request a conference participation grant of up to $500.

    Internship Opportunities

    The skills you learn as an English major/minor—critical thinking, close reading, analysis, writing, and editing to name a few—are more important than ever in a society where more words are being produced than at any other time in history because of the internet. All students are encouraged to learn experientially through an internship, part-time job, or volunteerism. The below internship opportunities are suggestions for local Minnesota positions where you can begin to imagine connections between the work you do in the classroom and the life you will build for yourself after graduation. Interns have worked at 1517 Media, The Loft Literary Center, Milkweed Editions, Redleaf Press, and elsewhere. 

    Writing Consultant Positions

    Through these positions, graduate students gain experience working one-on-one with undergraduate and graduate students, gain insight into writing theory and pedagogy (including collaborative learning, process theory, writing across the curriculum, basic writing, and ESL), and learn writing center administration.

    Visit the Center for Writing Website

    Faculty

    Our faculty members are award-winning writers who have published with some of the country's finest presses. They have close ties to many of the region's best publishers, including Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press and Milkweed Editions. Students work closely with faculty mentors throughout their graduate studies, culminating a chapbook-length creative project at the conclusion of the program.

    Dr. Christopher Santiago leans on a wall.

    Dr. Christopher Santiago

    Chris Santiago is the author of Tula, selected by A. Van Jordan as the winner of the 2016 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry, and published by Milkweed Editions.

    A 2018 McKnight Writing Fellow, his poems, fiction, and criticism have appeared in FIELD, Copper Nickel, Pleiades, and the Asian American Literary Review. He has also received fellowships from Kundiman and the Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies and was a finalist for the 2017 Minnesota Book Award.

    In February 2019, Say Home, his collaboration with composer Lembit Beecher and ethnographer Todd Lawrence, received its world premiere by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He teaches courses in creative writing, worldbuilding, and Asian American literature.

    Dr. Christopher Santiago
    Dr. Leslie Miller studio portrait.

    Dr. Leslie Miller

    Since the publication of her first poem in a nationally recognized journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, in 1977, Dr. Miller has published six full length collections of poetry, Y, The Resurrection Trade, and Eat Quite Everything You See with Graywolf Press, and Yesterday Had a Man In It, Ungodliness, and Staying Up for Love with Carnegie Mellon University Press.

    The journey has also included fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, fellowships and grants for travel in Germany, France, Scotland, Switzerland and Indonesia, as well as opportunities to teach and read at writers' festivals, university writing programs, medical schools, the Library of Congress, and the National Institutes for Health.

    Dr. Leslie Miller
    Dr. Heather Bouwman smiling at a podium

    Dr. Heather Bouwman

    Dr. Bouwman writes novels for young people—chapter books for emerging readers and fantasy novels for ages 10+. Her most recent books are the middle-grade fantasy A Crack in the Sea and its companion, A Tear in the Ocean, and the Owen and Eleanor chapter book series.

    Heather especially loves historical fantasy, genre mashups, fairy tale retellings, and multiplotted novels. She loves reading and teaching fantasy; YA and children's literature; and American novels from the late 1790's forward.

    Dr. Heather Bouwman
    The Minneapolis skyline as seen from the St. Thomas St. Paul campus

    01 Home of a great writing and publishing reputation

    Welcome to the Capital

    The program is designed to take advantage of the robust publishing industry in the Twin Cities. As Publishing Trendsetter recently noted, “It's no exaggeration to call Minneapolis the publishing capital of the Midwest.” Graduates of our program will be well prepared to find internships and employment in this growing industry.