MA in Writing Program, Fiction and Nonfiction

The JHU graduate writing program reflects the school’s international reputation for academic rigor and creative innovation. The MA in Writing Program offers concentrations in Fiction and Nonfiction and a myriad of courses in everything from Travel Writing, Novel Writing, and Screenwriting to Poetry, Memoir, and Investigative Journalism.

Classes take place in the evenings and on Saturdays at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC or at the main Homewood Campus in Baltimore, MD. Every summer, we offer a week-long residency for full class credit in locations around the world. (Locations include Bar Harbor, Maine; Dublin, Ireland; Shenandoah National Park.) Some of our classes are hybrid classes, meaning they meet half online and half onsite.

Students on the Nonfiction track pursue long-form, literary journalism or personal essays and memoir. Students on the Fiction track work on short stories, novellas, or novels in a variety of genres. Classes are small – most are capped at 15 – and students hone their craft through line-level scrutiny of their work by our faculty of working, professional writers.

Our nine-course MA in Writing program has a part-time format, meaning most of our students work or have other obligations that allow them to take only one or two courses per term. Students study at their own pace, finishing either program in 18 months to five years. The program also offers accelerated and extended options. While courses are offered year-round, including a summer term, our flexible program allows students to take a term or two off as their schedules require.

Quick Stats

Course Locations Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC
Available 100% Online No
Entry Terms Fall, Spring or Summer semester
Degree Requirements Nine courses
Tuition and Fees Tuition in the 2018-19 academic year is $2,918 per course. More information.

Our graduates publish in scores of national journals and magazines, including The Paris Review, National Geographic, The New York Times, The Sun, Boulevard, Atlantic Monthly, Science, Washington Post, Story Magazine, Discover, Esquire, Smithsonian, The American Scholar, and many others. They have published 260 books and counting. Honors include the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction (twice), F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest (twice), Pushcart Prize, Best American Science Writing, John Simmons Short Fiction Award, and James Jones First Novel Fellowship, plus two Fulbrights and even an Emmy. Check out our Facebook page to get a sense of what our community of writers – faculty, alumni, students – are up to and where and what they’ve been publishing lately.

Overall, we focus on craft and helping our imaginative students write, publish, and edit at the highest levels possible. We also focus on teaching quality, diverse curricula, and create an environment for our students that is both challenging and supportive. We steer away from the arch-competitive, harsh workshops of some other programs; we think you can be direct and straight-forward with feedback while also creating a classroom culture that encourages risk-taking. We know that writers grow and develop with clear, specific, individual feedback and our faculty of working writers is committed to giving students this kind of thoughtful response to their submissions.

We offer courses in voice, place, revision, novel form & style, screenwriting, playwriting, and identity, plus many others. Our workshops can be general or specific, such as novel writing, profile writing, review-writing, the memoir, the personal essay, short story writing, or other forms. We encourage cross-concentration study, and we still offer poetry courses even though we no longer have a formal concentration in that field. Our reading courses are craft-based, meaning we study literature for what we can learn from it as writers as well as what it represents in terms of culture and art.

To apply, go to our online application page.

For Science Writing you can explore our Master of Arts or Graduate Certificate. For a focus specifically on teaching, see our MA in Teaching in Writing.

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1 day ago

Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University

We've been highlighting some of our alumni and faculty on the Hopkins AAP Facebook page this past week and I thought this one, featuring Ed Perlman's Sentence Power was worth sharing here. Ed will be teaching this class again in the Fall--and it fills up quickly so get in early once registration opens.Sentence Power: From Craft to Art

“Year after year, I hear the same thing from students who are taking what I would describe as the most popular class in our program, ‘Sentence Power: From Craft to Art,’” says MA in Writing Associate Director Karen Houppert. “At the beginning of the semester students hate it. They are pulling their hair out spending hours on homework assignments of a few, specific sentences—groaning and complaining and wrestling with their prose. By the end of the semester, they are praising this as ‘hardest class you’ll ever love.’ As they graduate, they credit Ed Perlman, who created the class 10 years ago and teaches it still, with teaching them to sing. And indeed, he does.”

About Sentence Power, alum Faye Rivkin writes: “If I hadn’t taken Sentence Power, my future might have turned out quite differently. It was probably my toughest class—I even hired a grad student as a tutor—but the takeaways helped make me a stronger writer and editor. From Ed Perlman, a talented writer and poet and all-around fascinating, nice guy, I learned how to structure, and restructure, my sentences and my paragraphs, to be more interesting and better engage my audiences. Without it, I’m pretty sure I’d be a pretty boring writer.”

Course description for Sentence Power: This craft elective focuses on revision at the sentence and paragraph level and is open to fiction or nonfiction students. Through close reading and brief exercises, students learn various techniques to assemble sentences and establish syntactic relationships within paragraphs. Students imitate other writers, as well as revise, exchange and discuss revisions of their own work. Authors to be studied may include Updike, Munro, and Welty in fiction, and Dillard, McPhee, or Didion in nonfiction.

To learn more about the Writing program, please visit bit.ly/2I53Mnu.
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