Get an MFA in Creative Writing

NEW: Check out the fall 2016 MFA program newsletter

Celebrating ten years of excellence, the Low-Residency MFA Program at Murray State University allows student writers to work on their craft where they live, under the guidance of prize-winning writers. Twice a year, in July and January, students attend a nine-day residency at MSU to join a community of writers for intensive study, workshops, readings, and lectures. The select and eclectic students that make up this program come seeking a competitive, low-residency, affordable alternative to the traditional MFA program and end up finding much more.


  • October 1 for those interested in beginning the program with the January 2017 residency.


Applying to the program

Download the program brochure (pdf)

Irish CottageIreland Summer Program 2016

“Get Your Irish Up” was the umbrella term for a number of courses that were offered in Ireland by MSU faculty in June 2016. The program was based in Dublin, with field trips to Galway and Belfast.

REMEMBERING THE EASTER RISING: Visions of the Nation in Irish Literature was a special topics course designed with MFA students specifically in mind. It fulflled one of the three required literature courses for the program and offered students the opportunity to design a final project based on their creative writing interests.

More about this study abroad experience

New Madrid Summer 2016New Madrid Journal

The summer 2016 issue of New Madrid, the national journal of the low-residency MFA program at Murray State University, is now available, featuring cover artwork by Dale Daniel Leys, longtime Murray State art professor. In her introduction, editor Ann Neelon takes on the Kentucky state budget crisis and its fallout on higher education. The summer issue also introduces the MFA program's newest Watkins Chair, Allen Wier. 

More about the current issue of New Madrid Journal

News & Announcements

New Madrid Joins Distinguished Pushcart Prize Index

New Madrid contributor April Ford was named a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner for her short story "Project Fumarase." As a result, New Madrid will join the list of distinguished presses featured in the official index of the Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. Fiction Editor Dale Ray Phillips chose Ford’s story for inclusion in the Winter 2015 issue.

Publishers Weekly has called the Pushcart anthology “among the most influential projects in the history of American Publishing.” According to Bill Henderson, Publisher and Editor, “Many new presses and dozens of new authors emerge annually and are honored in classrooms, bookstores and libraries around the world. And so the Pushcart Prize has been renewed since our first edition in 1976. We celebrate this renewal every year. This is our joy."

The Pushcart anthology has also been awarded the Writers citation from Poets and Writers/Barnes & Noble as well as the National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2016 anthology features 69 stories, poems, essays and memoirs. Other presses honored in 2016 include Paris Review, Gettysburg Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry and Ploughshares.

Walk Till the DogsIt's Publishing Cats & Dogs!

Two of our faculty members published work in September 2015. With poet Adrian Blevins, Karen Salyer McElmurray co-edited a collection of essays titled Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia, released by Ohio University Press. Elena Passarello has an essay in a collection of criticism and literary essays on cat videos, Cat is Art Spelled Wrong. What was that Bill Murray said about cats and dogs?

See more about our faculty and the work they've published


MFA Student Awarded Stuart Fellowship

Taylor Emery from Clarksville, Tennessee  is the winner of the 2016-17 Jesse Stuart Fellowship Award.  This marks the eighth  year running that one of our MFA students takes home the Stuart Fellowship, which comes with an award of $7,000.

More about this fellowship and other scholarship opportunities

Jeffrey Skinner

MFA Faculty Wins Arts and Letters Award

Jeffrey Skinner of our program faculty is a recipient of the 2015 Arts and Letters Award in Literature. This prestigious $10,000 prize is given annually to eight writers nationwide for exceptional accomplishment in a literary genre. Skinner is the author of six poetry collections, including Glaciology. His advice book, The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets, earned wide attention and acclaim after its 2012 publication. He has been on the MSU-MFA faculty since 2009, and is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Louisville.


For more information, contact MFA Program Director Carrie Jerrell at 270-809-4723 or email

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