MFA in Writing
Read. Write. Be Read.
One of the top low-residency programs in the country, the Bennington Writing Seminars is a two-year, rigorous exploration of craft. You commit as much to reading as to writing. You perform critical literary analysis. You craft bold new works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, and may work in a dual-genre. You finish with a polished thesis and an academic lecture. All this with the expert 1:1 guidance of acclaimed authors who develop a stake in your work. Our alumni, faculty, students, and staff publish work at the highest levels.
Models & Mentors
Our faculty-student ratio of 1:1 provides true mentorship. You work closely with a faculty member who is an accomplished writer and a distinguished teacher.
Develop Your Skills
You may focus on one or more genres at Bennington. While most choose to specialize in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, others work across two genres through our Dual-Genre Degree.
You may apply to begin during either of the 10-day residency sessions in January (9-19, 2020) or June (4-14, 2020) Application deadlines are September 1 to begin in January, and March 1 to begin in June.
We are committed to increasing access to our program for students from diverse backgrounds and to building community through sustained dialogue and practice. We offer scholarships, and fund the emerging voices we want to support and read, including a partnership with the PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship program.
Bennington offer a self-directed pace that allows you to develop a sustainable, lifelong writing practice. We know how important it is for MFA students to gain teaching experience so we've developed the Residential Teaching Fellows program—a first-of-its-kind teaching opportunity among low residency MFA programs, among others.
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 a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry
Morgan Jerkins MFA ‘16
New York Times bestselling author of This Will be My Undoing.
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