MFA in Writing
Read. Write. Be Read.
Steeped in the College's prestigious literary tradition, Bennington's Master of Fine Arts in Writing is consistently named one of the top low-residency programs. Founded in 1994, Bennington's Writing Seminars was one of the first low-residency graduate writing programs in the country. During this two-year, low-residency program, you commit as much to reading as to writing and conceive reading lists that strengthen and broaden your knowledge. You perform critical literary analysis. You craft bold new works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry inspired by your discoveries. You finish with a polished thesis and a parting lecture. All this with the expert guidance of authors who, throughout your individualized instruction, become familiar with and develop a stake in your work. Check out resources and residency information for students, and our January 2018 public reading schedule.
Models & Mentors
Our faculty-student ratio of 1:5 provides a true mentorship experience. You work closely with a faculty member who is an accomplished writer distinguished in their teaching as well as on the page.
Develop Your Skills
Students can focus on one or more genres at Bennington. While most students choose to specialize in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, others work across two genres through our Dual-Genre Degree.
We are committed to increasing access to our program for students from diverse backgrounds and to building an inclusive community through sustained dialogue and practice. We offer scholarships to PEN’s Emerging Writers Fellows and Cave Canem poets and fund the emerging voices we want to support and read.
Bennington's low-residency program offers a self-directed monthly pace that will allow you to develop a sustainable, lifelong writing practice. Though low-residency, we still provide students with teaching opportunities and access to professional development.
Why Bennington? Just ask our alums.
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney MFA ’13
Author of the New York Times bestseller, The Nest
Gail Vida Hamburg MFA ’04
Author of The Edge of the World
Katy Simpson Smith MFA ’13
Bestselling author of Free Men and The Story of Land and Sea
Charles Bock MFA '97
Author of the New York Times bestsellers, Alice & Oliver and Beautiful Children
Amy Gerstler MFA '00
Winner of the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry
Morgan Jerkins MFA ‘16
Writer at The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Ebony, and Buzzfeed
Tiffany Briere MFA '11
Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, Best American Essays, Pushcart Prize winner
Top 5 in the country
Consistently ranked by The Atlantic and Poets & Writers as one of the top five low-residency MFA programs in the country.
Our alumni publish works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Check out recent alumni work.
A Rigorous Retreat
Enjoy the flexibility of a rigorous program that allows you to continue your work life while engaging studiously in the life of letters
Studying for your MFA in Writing at Bennington has been described as a "two-year epic exploration" into the life of letters
Immerse yourself in an inspiring residency experience twice a year on our historic campus in the Green Mountains of Vermont
Join a lively and diverse culture that celebrates and supports new and emerging voices
Create an expansive, customized, reading list to diversify and deepen your relationship with the culture of letters.
Gain valuable teaching experience serving as a Graduate Fellow or online mentor
Work alongside high quality peers and alumni, who inhabit diverse spaces in the literary landscape, from novelists with big book contracts to poets at independent presses, teachers and doctors, activists and editors.
Study with celebrated and accomplished faculty
Jan 9“Every great poem will teach you how to read it” - April Bernard, in her Master Class on John Ashbery