Fiction at Hopkins

Expand your creative writing skills in the short story or novel, in evening and weekend classes in Washington, D.C. or Baltimore. Prestige, Quality, Value: Our graduate writing program in Fiction reflects the international reputation for academic quality, creative innovation, and professional value at Johns Hopkins, a pioneer in creative writing and higher education.
  • Learn fiction writing from a craft-based perspective
  • Discover how novels work, write your own
  • Study with respected, practicing writers & editors; hear from famous authors.
  • Explore screenwriting, playwriting, experimental fiction, other topics
  • Receive more classroom hours for less cost in our 9-course degree program
  • Submit your fiction for print or online publication
  • Cross-study in nonfiction, poetry, multimedia, or teaching writing

In the program’s Fiction Concentration, you’ll study the techniques of fiction writing while creating and revising your own work. Our experienced faculty of practicing writers and editors helps you analyze past and contemporary literature to learn how to read as a writer – a skill that allows you to grow throughout your fiction career. In workshops, instructors and peers offer honest, constructive comments to push your writing toward publication. And in our capstone course, you’ll finish a thesis portfolio of your most publishable work, earn a byline in a program journal, and prepare for the writing life. The result: Our fiction students and alumni have published dozens of novels and scores of short stories, won local, regional, and national awards, and become literary editors, writing teachers, or television writers.

Financial aid is available in the form of student loans. We sponsor the annual Hopkins Conference on Craft, a prestigious summer conference where students complete a full graduate course in ten days in Italy or Maine. We also offer alumni discounts for post-graduate tuition and the summer conference.  And if you’re not interested in a degree, feel free to apply for individual courses of interest. Our students attend part-time and can choose classes in Baltimore or Washington, or both.

Read below for more information about our graduate creative writing program in fiction – its courses, teachers, and what it might help you achieve. Click here to find out how to apply.

What Our Fiction Students and Graduates Have Achieve

Awards won by our fiction alumni include the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction (twice), F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest (twice), Pushcart Prize, John Simmons Short Fiction Award, and James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Students and graduates also have published scores of individual short stories in anthologies and in print and online literary journals, including: The Florida ReviewGreen Mountains ReviewStory QuarterlyArts & LettersGargoylePotomac ReviewBaltimore ReviewBarrelhouseThe SunMississippi ReviewThe Connecticut Review, and dozens of others. Meanwhile, our fiction alumni have founded or work on the editorial staffs of many online or print literary journals, including Potomac Review, Baltimore Review, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, Barrelhouse, Hoot,and Lines & Stars. Graduates of our program regularly win adjunct teaching jobs in composition and writing at a range of universities, including University of Maryland, American University, Ohio University, Florida State, George Washington University, Georgetown University, and others. Select alumni earn MFA and Ph.D. degrees and hold full-time teaching positions at universities and colleges across the country.

A Sampling of Publications, Honors, and Achievements for Our Fiction Graduates
And from Our Other Concentrations

Join Our Community of Writers

The Master of Arts in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins focuses on the individual goals of writers and editors and their aim of publication, editing, or career building at the highest possible levels of professional or artistic achievement. With part-time Fiction or Nonfiction classes in Washington or Baltimore or online/low-residency courses soon available worldwide in Science-Medical Writing, our faculty of practicing writers and editors focus on teaching writing craft and reading expertise. The result is a program that offers a nurturing, demanding home in Washington, Baltimore, or online in which graduates are challenged to become dedicated, contributing citizens in the Community of Letters.

Attend in Washington, DC, Baltimore, or Online/Low-Residency

In 1992, Johns Hopkins founded the MA in Writing Program in Washington, D.C., to provide professional and artistic options for adult, part-time students who chose not to interrupt a career or personal life for full-time graduate study. After 20 years of growth, the program offers onsite Fiction and Nonfiction classes in Washington and Baltimore and online-low-residency options in Science-Medical Writing. The Writing Program is designed primarily for part-time study; full-time study is possible under special circumstances such as for international students or military veterans. Some students take only a course or two of interest; most seek a full Master of Arts. Degree candidates set their own pace to earn a 9-course MA in two to five years, with accelerated and extended options available. While courses are offered year-round, including in a summer term, our flexible program allows students to take a term or two off as their schedules require. The Fiction and Nonfiction courses, along with electives in poetry, science writing, literature, teaching writing, screenwriting, and other topics, are available on weekday evenings or Saturdays at the convenient Washington Center, at 1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW (near the Dupont Circle Metro Station on the Red Line) and at the main Hopkins Homewood Campus in Baltimore. The online/low-residency option is only for Science-Medical Writing. That program combines online courses with two brief residencies: One of a week to ten days at a site chosen by the student in places such as Washington, Maine, Italy, or Baltimore; the other a shorter residency in Washington/Baltimore at the end of the final online thesis course. Fiction and Nonfiction students must attend face-to-face classes in Washington or Baltimore to earn a degree; online/low-residency is not available in those concentrations.

The Writing Seminars at Hopkins
Who Will Teach You in Fiction?

Choose Your Forms, Subjects, and Styles

Our fiction writing curriculum allows students to pursue their own writing interests. Students write short stories, novels, novellas, or novels-in-stories, in traditional narrative or experimental forms. In addition to classes in fiction, students may explore screenwriting and playwriting, choose electives such as Sentence Power and Teaching Writing, or take a course or two in poetry or creative nonfiction. Our faculty, who handle diverse styles and forms in their own writing and editing, are open to all approaches, including literary genre fiction and young adult literature. In addition to regular fiction workshops, our fiction courses include:

Fiction Techniques
Writing the Novel Workshop
Experimental Fiction Workshop
Novel Form, Style, & Structure
Voice in Modern Fiction
The Short Story: Past & Present
Advanced Revision Techniques in Fiction
Fiction for Young Readers
Drama & Playwriting
Film & Screenwriting
Internships, Independent Study

How to Apply and Financial Aid

Admission to the program is based on a competitive review of writing samples, a Statement of Purpose, and other materials. You can apply online or in print and, if accepted, start your studies year-round. Applicants are of all ages and backgrounds; some have only received undergraduate degrees, while others are returning to school after decades away from the classroom. The writing samples, published or unpublished, should equal 20 to 40 typed, double-spaced pages. We encourage multiple samples, rather than a single piece of the required length. For details about writing samples, the Statement of Purpose, and other parts of the application, please click here. (That link is outside the Writing Program’s website to our Advanced Academic Programs division at Hopkins, but you don’t have to pay a fee or complete an application to learn more.) The program’s admissions review differs for a single, specific course compared to the full degree. Please let us know your interests. Hopkins offers Financial Aid in student loans.

Customize Your Studies

Some students aren’t interested in a degree and take only the courses they want. Most, however, take nine courses to earn an accredited master’s degree in a chosen concentration. To broaden their experience, students often take electives in a different concentration. For instance, fiction writers may choose to take poetry or nonfiction courses. For details about our courses, please click here.

Study at Our Summer Conference
For Alumni: Networking, Discounts, & Events
Other Concentration in the Writing Program

For More Information about the Writing Program, Contact Us via Email, Phone or Mail


M.A. in Writing Program
The Johns Hopkins University
1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 104
Washington, D.C. 20036

Faculty Advisors and Program Leadership

General Writing Program Questions, Fiction Advisor:

Nonfiction Advisor:
Karen Houppert
Associate Program Director

Ed Perlman (Volunteer Advisor)

Science-Medical Writing:
Melissa Hendricks

To Apply

Visit our Admissions Wizard to apply to the program conveniently online or to learn more details about the application process and the required writing samples. This link will take you from Writing program website to the admissions section.