Expand your writing opportunities with an MFA in creative nonfiction

Experienced, published faculty will guide you on your writing journey in this program. You can explore memoirs, personal essays, short narrative work and lyric essays. A mentor will guide you to find the voice and structure that best suits your story.

You can take your writing skills to the next level and explore your creativity within a supportive literary community.

A Carlow students sits at her desk with her laptop. Her hands are folded and she is smiling at the camera.
Credits required:

36 credits

Cost per credit:


Time to degree:

As few as 5 semesters


On campus, some online

Nonfiction MFA curriculum

Carlow’s MFA in creative nonfiction program includes four 11-day residencies in Pittsburgh and Dublin, Ireland, that feature workshops, master classes and mentor conferences. Practicum work will be on a writing and reading plan designed with your mentor; you will submit work for critique, review and collaborative feedback. 

By the end of the program, you will create a book-length work of publishable creative nonfiction. Seminars, lectures and readings in all genres are also available.

Quick Facts

  • Elevate your learning with small class sizes and a strong literary community
  • Cultivate connections with peers and faculty
  • Adapt your learning experience to your schedule
  • Learn to critique creative nonfiction
A female student in the nonfiction creative writing program

Career opportunities for Nonfiction writers

With the writing and creating thinking skills gained from this program, you will be well equipped to become a writing lecturer or published author or write for magazines and other publications.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for editors is slated to decrease 7% over the next 10 years, though many supplement their income with freelance work.

Admission requirements and application process

You can apply for free online, and must submit the following materials:

  • Official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions you have attended
  • Two essays: Self-assessment of your writing ability and a critical response to a substantive piece of literature
  • 25 pages of nonfiction you authored
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation that address your leadership potential and ability to succeed in graduate-level work


Start terms:

Spring & Summer

An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred; however, provisional admission is also possible if you do not meet all of the admission criteria but exhibit a strong possibility of academic success.

Georgia Hertz, MFA graduate
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Writer found a home among her Carlow peers and mentors

Creative writing graduate student Georgia Hertz ’23 loved the community she found at Carlow. “Writing – like any artform – can be a lonely path to tread, but it doesn’t have to be done in isolation. Never have I felt such warmth and compassion from a group of writers as I have from my peers and mentors at Carlow University, both in Pittsburgh and in Dublin. We all delight in our growth as writers and we celebrate each other’s successes with love, as if they were our own.”

Nonfiction MFA faculty

Contact Admissions

If you are interested in this graduate program, our Admissions team is available to help you with the next steps, including scheduling an on-campus visit or attending an upcoming event.

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