Master of Fine Arts in Writing

An exceptional low-residency writing program
in the Pacific Northwest

Pacific’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program celebrates writing as an art that has the potential to make a difference in the world.

In a rigorous course of study and with an emphasis on the creative process, award-winning writers work closely with students to support and inspire emerging craft and voice. Students create a quality portfolio of fiction, nonfiction or poetry, reflecting their unique styles and forms of expression.

Each semester in the program begins with a 10-day residency where the students and faculty gather for workshops, craft talks, classes, panels, and readings. The residencies initiate a literary conversation that extends throughout the correspondence semester when the student and faculty advisor exchange packets about the student’s writing and reading, and anything else that attends them. At the same time, the MFA faculty advisor is hard at work on his or her own writing, and every exchange with a student is touched by mutual goals.

Our program offers a high level of craft and conversation along with the good humor and community of individuals who share a passion for art. We believe in inspiration but also in revision. We believe there is no one way to write and no right way to write. Above all, we believe in quality and originality in any guise.

Pacific’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program presents learning in its truest sense, meaning, simply, that we are all in this together.


Meet the Faculty


Claire Davis’ first novel Winter Range was listed among the best books of 2000 by the Washington Post, Chicago Sun Times, Denver Post, Seattle Post, The Oregonian and The Christian Science Monitor, and was the first book to receive both the PNBA and MPBA awards for best fiction. Her second novel Season of the Snake, and her short story collection Labors of the Heart were both released to wide critical acclaim. She is co-editor of the anthology Kiss Tomorrow Hello: Notes from the Midlife Underground by Twenty-five Women over Forty. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary magazines such as The Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, Southern Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Best American Short Stories. ...More »


More Information

~Now accepting applications for the spring semester which begins with a residency in Seaside, Oregon, from January 8-18, 2015.

~If you have any questions about the MFA program or the application process, please email the MFA office at or call (503) 352-1531.




Rated one of


the top 5






in the nation


Atlantic Monthly





What Students Are Saying


Kase Johnstun

(Nonfiction, 2011)

Award-winning author of Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis, forthcoming from Macfarland

"I was always good at telling stories, but Pacific University taught me how to really craft them, how to be a professional writer, and how to cherish a rich, diverse writing community."


Mai Lon Gittelsohn

(Poetry, 2013)

Author of the chapbook Chop Suey and Apple Pie, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press

"At Pacific University I found what I needed: inspiring mentors and a community of peers all embarked on a common path to deepen our appreciation of the poetic canon, to make fast our commitment as poets and writers."

More on what students are saying.


Faculty News                   

Look for these new books by members of our MFA faculty:



Scott Korb

MFA Nonfiction Faculty

Gesturing Toward Reality: David Foster Wallace and Philosophy, edited by Robert K. Bolger and Scott Korb, forthcoming from Bloomsbury, June 2014


Pete Fromm

MFA Fiction Faculty

If Not For This, forthcoming from Red Hen Press in September 2014


Ellen Bass

MFA Poetry Faculty

Like a Beggar, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, 2014


Ben Percy

MFA Fiction Faculty

The Dead Lands, forthcoming from Grand Central/ Hachette, 2015