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.

Program Information

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.

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.

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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Congratulations to faculty member Rion Amilcar Scott on his forthcoming book, "The World Doesn't Require You." Esquire just selected it as one of the "books everyone will be talking about in 2019" and writes of Amilcar Scott in this month's issue: "A bold new talent emerges with this boundary-shattering collection of linked stories set in fictional Cross County, Maryland, founded by the leaders of America’s only successful slave uprising. Characters range from robots to sons of God in these magical realist stories about race, religion, and violence. Think of it as Faulkner meets Asimov."

Rion will be teaching the Fiction Techniques class this Spring--and there is still openings in the class if you want to work with this master craftsman.

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The Alumni Steering Committee in conjunction with the MA in Writing Program is pleased to announce the inauguration of Saturday Seminars starting in January 2019. The Saturday Seminars are intended to be monthly programs to enhance your writing and marketing skills outside of the classroom.

Starting off with "Sentence power Redux" by Ed Perlman, the first seminar happens Saturday, January 12 at the 1717 Massachusetts Ave. campus in Room 204. This seminar provides a refresher for those who have taken Sentence Power in the past, as well as an introduction for those who missed this most popular Writing Program course, or would like to learn more about it.

Sentence Power Redux will begin with coffee and pastries available between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. Ed’s session will run from 10 to 2:00 p.m., with a half hour break for lunch, which will be provided to all participants.

Please register by Jan. 8 so we can get a head count to Sheryl Rivett (sherylrivett@gmail.com ) and Linda Voss (inklings@compuserve.com). Cost for the session, including lunch, is $45. You may pay at the door, with cash or a check (made out to MA in Writing Program).

This session is open to all MA in Writing Program current students, alumni and faculty. We are not opening this session fully to the public, but anyone attending may being a guest who is not affiliated with the Writing Program.

Watch for additional information about our upcoming Saturday Seminars:

February 2 (in D.C.): Residencies and Conferences: What’s Out There and How to Apply, led by Leslie Pietrzyk and including an alumni panel
March 9 (in Baltimore): Flash Fiction, led by Barbara Diehl
April (date tbd, in Baltimore): Writing for Young Adults, led by Susan Muaddi Darraj
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