MFA Program Foundation Dates

Posted: September 17, 2011 in MFA

{NB: To download a Microsoft Word chart illustrating the number of creative writing Master of Fine Arts programs founded each decade since the 1930s, click here.

Program founding dates are divided by decade. Where a program’s decade of founding–but not year of founding–is known, the program is listed at the end of the decade. Only the founding dates for MFA programs are listed here.}

MFA Program Foundation Dates

1920s (0)

EVENT: Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Founded (1923)

EVENT: University of Montana Establishes the Second Undergraduate Creative Writing Program (1929)

1930s (1)

EVENT: Vassar University Establishes the Third Undergraduate Creative Writing Program (1934)

1. University of Iowa (1936)

1940s (0)


1950s (0)

EVENT: Jack Spicer Runs His Selective-Admission “Poetry As Magic” Workshop, Sponsored By the San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University) Poetry Center, at the San Francisco Public Library (1957)

EVENT: Kenneth Koch Begins Eight-Year Period Teaching Poetry Workshop at The New School in New York City (1958)


1960s (11)

EVENT: Black Arts Movement’s Umbra Workshop Founded on Manhattan’s Lower East Side (1962)

EVENT: University of California at Los Angeles Writers’ Program Founded (1964)

2t. University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1964)
2t. University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1964)
2t. University of Oregon (1964)
5t. University of Arkansas (1965)
5t. University of British Columbia [CAN] (1965)

EVENT: Association of Writers and Writing Programs Founded (1967)

EVENT: Carnegie Mellon University Establishes Its Undergraduate Creative Writing Program (1967)

7. University of Alaska at Fairbanks (1966)
8t. Cornell University (1967)
8t. University of Montana (1967)

EVENT: Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Founded (1968)

10t. Bowling Green State University (1968)
10t. Columbia University (1968)
12. Sarah Lawrence College (1969)

1970s (11)

13. University of California at Irvine (1970)

EVENT: University of East Anglia (UEA) Establishes First Graduate Creative Writing Program in the United Kingdom (1970) ****

14. University of Arizona (1972)
15. University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa (1973)
16t. Brooklyn College [CUNY] (1974)
16t. Naropa University (1974)

EVENT: Oberlin College Establishes Its Undergraduate Creative Writing Program (1975)

18t. Goddard College (1976) **
18t. Warren Wilson College (1976) **
20. Wichita State University (1977)

EVENT: Bennington Summer Writing Workshops Founded (1977)

21. Washington University at Saint Louis (1978)
22. University of Florida (1979)
23. University of Houston (1979)

EVENT: AWP Publishes Guidelines for Creative Writing Programs and Teachers of Creative Writing (1979) ***

* This may be errata; it may be that the Creative Writing Department was founded in this year but that MFA degrees were not awarded until some years later.
** A permanent low-residency program at Warren Wilson College would be established 1981; the program uses 1976 as its founding date because 1976 is the year that Ellen Bryant Voigt established a temporary low-residency MFA program at Goddard College in Vermont. The program was later moved, in its entirety, to North Carolina.
*** The MFA was not “officially” the terminal degree in the field of creative writing until the publication of this document. 
**** UEA created an MA program in creative writing, not an MFA program. The first MFA program in the United Kingdom was established in 2008. 

1980s (28)

24t. American University (1980)
24t. George Mason University (1980)
24t. Indiana University (1980)
24t. New College of California (1980) * {discontinued 2008}
28t. Bard College (1981)
28t. Eastern Washington University (198?)
28t. Emerson College (1981)
28t. McNeese State University (1981)
28t. University of Virginia (1981)
28t. Vermont College of Fine Arts (1981)
28t. Western Michigan University (1981)
35t. University of Michigan (1982)
35t. University of Pittsburgh (1982)
35t. University of Utah (1982)
38. Virginia Commonwealth University (1983)

EVENT: Writers @ Work Founded in Park City, Utah (1984)

EVENT: Whiting Awards ($50,000) Founded (1985)

39t. Arizona State University (1985)
39t. Colorado State University (1985)
39t. De La Salle University at Manila [PHI] (1985)*
42t. Pennsylvania State University (1986) {discontinued 2011}
42t. University of Iowa [NWP] (1986)
42t. University of San Francisco (1986)

EVENT: The Writers Studio in Greenwich Village (New York City) Founded (1987)

45t. Louisiana State University (1987)
45t. Purdue University (1987)
45t. University of Washington (1987)

EVENT: Poetics Program at SUNY-Buffalo Founded By Charles Bernstein (1989)

48t. Florida International University (1989)
48t. Georgia State University (1989)
48t. San Diego State University (1989)
48t. University of Memphis (1989)

* Program founded by Black Mountain College faculty member and poet Robert Duncan.

1990s (39)

52t. Brown University (1990)
52t. University of Maryland (1990)

EVENT: Asian American Writers’ Workshop Founded in the East Village in New York City (1991)

54t. San Francisco State University (1991)
54t. Texas State University at San Marcos (1991)
54t. University of Miami (1991)
54t. University of New Orleans (1991)
54t. University of South Carolina (1991)

EVENT: The United Kingdom Establishes Its First Creative Writing Doctoral Program (1992)

59t. Ohio State University (1992)
59t. Syracuse University (1992)
59t. University of Texas at El Paso (1992)
62. University of Texas at Austin (1993)

EVENT: Dictionary of Literary Biography Publishes First-Ever Ranking of Creative Writing Programs (1994)

63t. Hamline University (1994)
63t. Old Dominion University (1994)
63t. University of Notre Dame (1994)
66t. Bennington College (1995)
66t. CalArts (1995)
66t. California State University at Long Beach (1995)
66t. Saint Mary’s College of California (1995)
66t. Minnesota State University at Mankato (1995)
66t. Minnesota State University at Moorhead (1995) *

EVENT: U.S. News Questionnaire Results in Second Ranking of Creative Writing Programs (1996)

EVENT: Cave Canem Founded (1996)

EVENT: AWP Publishes Hallmarks for a Successful Graduate Program in Creative Writing (1996)

72t. The New School (1996)
72t. New York University [full-residency] (1996)
72t. Southern Illinois University (1996)
72t. University of Idaho (1996)
72t. University of Minnesota (1996)
72t. University of North Carolina at Wilmington (1996)
78t. Antioch University (1997)
78t. California State University at Fresno (1997)
78t. Goucher College (1997)
78t. School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1997)
78t. University of Nevada at Las Vegas (1997)
83t. California State University at Chico (1998)
83t. Fairleigh Dickinson University (1998)
83t. Stony Brook Southampton (1998)
83t. University of Missouri at Saint Louis (1998)
87t. Boise State University (1999)
87t. Chapman University (1999)*
87t. Hunter College [CUNY] (1999)

* Then Moorhead State University.

2000s (97)

90. Otis College of Art & Design (2000)
91t. Chicago State University (2001)
91t. Queens University of Charlotte (2001)
91t. San Jose State University (2001)
91t. Spalding University (2001)
91t. University of Mississippi (2001)
91t. West Virginia University (2001)
97t. Georgia College & State University (2002)
97t. New England College (2002)
97t. New Mexico State University (2002)
97t. Oregon State University (2002)
97t. Simmons College (2002)
97t. University of California at Riverside (2002)
97t. University of Illinois (2002)
97t. University of Southern Maine (2002)
97t. University of Wisconsin at Madison (2002)
106t. Hollins University (2003)
106t. Lesley University (2003)
106t. Lindenwood University (2003)
106t. Wilkes University (2003)
110t. Carlow University (2004)
110t. Florida Atlantic University (2004)
110t. National University (2004)
110t. Pacific University (2004)
110t. Pacific Lutheran University (2004)
110t. Western Connecticut State University (2004)
110t. Johns Hopkins University (2004)
117t. City College of New York [CUNY] (2005)
117t. Florida State University (2005)
117t. NEOMFA (2005)
117t. North Carolina State University (2005)
117t. Plymouth University [UK] (2005)
117t. School of Visual Arts (2005)
117t. University of British Columbia [low-residency] (2005)
117t. University of New Mexico (2005)
117t. University of Wyoming (2005)
117t. Savannah College of Art & Design (2005)
117t. Seattle Pacific University (2005)
117t. Southern New Hampshire University (2005)
117t. University of California at Riverside [low-residency] (2005)
117t. University of Kansas (2005)
117t. Vanderbilt University (2005)
117t. Virginia Polytechnic Institute [Virginia Tech] (2005)
117t. Whidbey Writers’ Workshop (2005)
134t. Boston University (2006)
134t. University of Central Florida (2006)
134t. Columbia College Chicago (2006)
134t. Iowa State University (2006)
134t. Long Island University at Brooklyn (2006)
134t. Pine Manor College (2006)
134t. Sewanee: University of the South (2006)
134t. University of Colorado at Boulder (2006)
134t. University of Georgia (2006)
134t. University of Guelph-Humber (2006)
144t. Ashland University (2007)
144t. Queens College [CUNY] (2007)
144t. Rutgers University at Newark (2007)
144t. University College Dublin [IRE] (2007)
144t. University of Massachusetts at Boston (2007)
144t. University of Texas-Pan American (2007)
144t. Universidad Nacional de Columbia in Bogotá [COL] (2007)
144t. University of New Hampshire (2007)
152t. Butler University (2008)
152t. California Institute of Integral Studies (2008)
152t. Goldsmiths (University of London) [UK] (2008)
152t. Mills College (2008)
152t. Northwestern University (2008)
152t. Pepperdine University (2008)
152t. Rutgers University at Camden (2008)
152t. Seton Hill University (2008)
152t. Southern Connecticut State University (2008)
152t. University of Alaska at Anchorage (2008)
152t. University of Central Oklahoma (2008)
152t. University of Glasgow [UK] (2008)
152t. University of Missouri at Kansas City (2008)
152t. University of South Florida (2008)
166t. Brooks Institute (2009)
166t. California State University at San Bernardino (2009)
166t. Converse College (2009)
166t. Drew University (2009)
166t. Fairfield University (2009)
166t. Kingston University London [UK] (2009)
166t. Oklahoma State University (2009) *
166t. Portland State University (2009)
166t. University of California at San Diego (2009)
166t. University of Victoria [CAN] (2009)
166t. William Paterson University (2009)
177t. Adelphi University (200?)
177t. California College of the Arts (200?)
177t. Chatham University (200?)
177t. Eastern Kentucky University (200?)
177t. Murray State University (200?)
177t. Roosevelt University (200?)
177t. Rosemont College (200?)
177t. University of Baltimore (200?)
177t. University of British Columbia at Okanagan (200?)
177t. University of Nebraska at Omaha (200?)

2010s (40)

187t. Brigham Young University (2010)
187t. City University of Hong Kong [CHN] [low-residency] (2010)
187t. Full Sail University [low-residency] (2010)
187t. Fudan University [CHN] (2010)
187t. Northern Michigan University (2010)
187t. Temple University (2010)
187t. University of Texas at Austin [English Dept.] (2010)
194t. Albertus Magnus College [low-residency] (2011)
194t. Arcadia University [low-residency] (2011)
194t. California University of Management & Technology [CALMAT] (2011)
194t. Hofstra University (2011)
194t. Oklahoma City University [low-residency] (2011)
194t. Shanghai University [CHN] (2011)
194t. University of Central Arkansas (2011)
194t. University of Hong Kong [CHN] (2011)
194t. University of Saskatchewan [CAN] (2011)
194t. West Virginia Wesleyan University [low-residency] (2011)
194t. Western State College of Colorado [low-residency] (2011)
205t. Augsburg College [low-residency] (2012)
205t. Cedar Crest College [low-residency] (2012)
205t. Eastern Oregon University [low-residency] (2012)
205t. Institute of American Indian Arts [low-residency] (2012)
205t. Manhattanville College (2012)
205t. New York University [low-residency] (2012)
205t. Northern Arizona University (2012)
205t. Sam Houston State University (2012)
205t. Sierra Nevada College [low-residency] (2012)
205t. University of Canterbury [NZ] (2012)
205t. University of Iowa [SCW] (2012)
205t. University of Tampa [low-residency] (2012)
205t. University of Washington at Bothell (2012)
218t. New Hampshire Institute of Art [low-residency] (2013)
218t. Oregon State University at Cascades [low-residency] (2013)
218t. New Hampshire Institute of Art [low-residency] (2013)
218t. Saint Joseph’s College (2013)
218t. University of Arkansas at Monticello [zero-residency] (2013)
218t. University of the District of Columbia (2013)
218t. University of King’s College, Halifax [low-residency] [CAN] (2013)
218t. Western Washington University (2013)
225t. Creighton University (2014)
225t. University of Tennessee-Knoxville (2014)
227t. Harvard University (201?) [forthcoming]
227t. Lehman College [CUNY] (201?) [forthcoming]
227t. University of Hawaii at Manoa (201?) [forthcoming]
227t. University of Kentucky (201?) [forthcoming]
227t. University of Nevada at Reno (201?) [forthcoming]

* = Approximate.

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