Founded in 1981

Founded in 1981, the M.F.A. program in creative writing  at McNeese State University is a three year, sixty hour curriculum culminating in the creative thesis, a book length manuscript with significant artistic merit.

We are a small program, which allows for lots of individual attention in a supportive yet rigorous setting. McNeese is located in Lake Charles in the heart of south Louisiana’s Cajun country.

***Students interested in our new low residency MA concentration in Creative Writing should visit***

“The spirit of storytelling is alive and well in Louisiana—in fact, amazing tales and powerful personal histories were shared as freely as Mardi Gras king cake. The landscapes of Louisiana are the richest I recall, and the narrative of that place has become intertwined with my own. It’s hard to imagine a more inspiring place to be a writer.”

Adam Johnson, Winner 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, McNeese Alum



All of our MFA grad students work as Teaching Assistants, though the competition for these spots is quite fierce. If you are awarded a Teaching Assistantship, all out-of-state and half of in-state tuition is waived; you will also receive a scholarship of $500 per semester. For the 2015-16 academic year, students, when all of the waivers and scholarships are applied, owe approximately $2000 for tuition for 9 credit hours, per semester. In addition, our students receive an $8000 living stipend over the course of the academic year, paid out every two weeks when class is in session. In return for the stipend, first year students will work in the Write to Excellence Center, teach in our “Lit Lab,” or assist faculty members. Second and third year students typically teach two sections of freshman composition and rhetoric.

There are also opportunities for students to work on our literary journal, The McNeese Review, or the academic comparative literature journal, INTERTEXTS. While some graduate programs pay more, many pay less, and Lake Charles is not nearly as expensive a place to live as many cities.

Earn a Master of Arts in English Literature too:

Academic courses in literature and criticism provide examples of the best that’s been done so far and give writers a sense of where their work fits into the various literary traditions.

It isn’t hard to choose your classes carefully and earn your MA in English during the same three-year period in which you’re working on your MFA. Though it is optional, most of our students choose to do this, thus building a broader base for their writing and professional lives.

“In deepening the student’s understanding of literary tradition as it fosters and shapes creativity, McNeese is like no other creative writing program I know of. It is certainly one of the best in the country.”

Morri Creech, 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry Finalist, McNeese Alum


Any questions about our program should be sent to Professor Jacob Blevins, Director of the MFA Program,

Visiting Writers

Visiting poets and fiction writers come to campus each semester to read their own work and conduct manuscript conferences with the M.F.A. students one-on-one. Recent poetry guests include Kevin Young, A.E. Stallings, Julie Kane, Darrell Bourque, Fady Joudah, and Joy Harjo. Recent fiction guests include Robert Olen Bulter, Debra Monroe, Jeffery Renard Allen, and Aurelie Sheehan.