Earn your Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Poetry at Carlow

You can begin the journey toward becoming a published poet with a MFA in Poetry from Carlow University. You will explore your creativity, refine your voice, collaborate with other students and work with acclaimed and published poets. 

Three students look at a computer screen. One is pointing. They are all smiling.
Credits required:

36 credits

Cost per credit:


Time to degree:

As few as 5 semesters


On campus, some online

Poetry degree curriculum

Carlow’s MFA in Poetry program includes four 11-day residencies in Pittsburgh and Dublin, Ireland, that feature workshops, master classes, seminars, lectures and readings. 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 manuscript of publishable poetry.

Quick facts

  • Develop your critical engagement with poetry
  • Prepare a publishable body of work
  • Cultivate connections with peers and faculty
  • Adapt your learning experience to your schedule

MFA in Creative Writing grad says Carlow helped her confidence

“The experience has sharpened my perspective, not just in the written expression but also in my perspective on life and the realization of the power of my voice to function as a transformative force for change.”

— Sheila Carter-Jones, MFA ’22

Career opportunities for Poetry

With your master’s in Poetry, you will be well equipped to work as a creative writing professor or become a published poet.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for poets is slated to decline 2% over the next 10 years, but many poets go on to publish their work in literary magazines and other outlets.

MFA Mentors
Our American and Irish Mentors

Award-winning American and Irish writers mentor students in Carlow’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program with residencies in Pittsburgh and Dublin. Our MFA mentors are dedicated teachers and writers whose work has been recognized in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Within an inclusive, supportive community, our mentors are committed to helping each student achieve their full writing potential.

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
  • 10 poems 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.

Phillip Border, MFA Poetry Graduate
Olivia Miller, ’21, biology major and runner on the track & field/cross country team.

Be a part of the Carlow Community

Creative writing graduate student Phillip Border ’22 said he’s amazed by the program’s ability to maintain such a strong sense of community despite many challenges. “Every member of the poetry, fiction and CNF programs all feel like extended family members to me. They are always checking up on me to see what’s new with my writing and to keep up on all of my forthcoming publications.

MFA Poetry 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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