An exceptional low-residency writing program in the Pacific Northwest

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

Our MFA in Writing program offers a high level of craft and conversation, upheld by the good humor and care of a community of individuals who share a passion for art. We value and promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and our work in this regard is ongoing. The talents, skills and perspectives of our individual members together create a culture of belonging, collaboration, discovery and respect. 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. We know that the writer’s life is a full and complex one, and the MFA in Writing program welcomes students who have full-time jobs and other obligations. Our writers will meet you where you are.

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

Admissions Information

We're here to help on your way to your MFA in Writing! Learn about the admissions process and contact your admissions counselor.

How to Apply

Earn a MFA in Writing

In a rigorous course of study that emphasizes the creative process, award-winning writers work closely with students to support and inspire emerging craft and voice. Through their time in the MFA in Writing program, students create a quality portfolio of fiction, nonfiction or poetry — and often work across genres — reflecting their unique styles and forms of expression.

Student and faculty relationships begin in residencies and extend throughout the semester of guided study, with students and faculty advisors engaged in a months-long dialogue about the students' writing and reading, and anything else that attends them. At the same time, the MFA faculty advisors remain hard at work on their own writing, and every exchange with a student is touched by mutual goals.

September 1, 2024, is the priority due date for the Spring 2025 semester that will begin with residency from January 9-19, 2025, in Seaside, Oregon. We will accept applications until December 2, as space allows.

Work with Award-Winning Writers

The writers who teach as part of the faculty for the MFA program are outstanding for both their level of national or regional literary achievements and for their teaching abilities. These accomplished writers share a sense of joy around their work and around the community they comprise, bringing their diverse writing styles and voices to the mix.

Pacific University MFA in Writing faculty member Ellen Bass was awarded a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. Bass is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her most recent book, Indigo, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2020. Other poetry collections include Like a Beggar — which was a finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize, The Publishers Triangle Award, The Milt Kessler Poetry Award, The Lambda Literary Award, and the Northern California Book Award — The Human Line, and Mules of Love, which won The Lambda Literary Award. Her poems have frequently appeared in The New Yorker and The American Poetry Review, as well as in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Sun and many other journals and anthologies. She also has written several non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into 12 languages. Meet the MFA in Writing Faculty

Join the Residency Writers Conference

Writers seeking to deepen their craft and expand their professional community are invited to attend the Residency Writers Conference with MFA students, faculty and guest speakers. The Residency Writers Conference is open to non-degree-seeking writers who are not ready to commit to a graduate degree program or who have already earned a master’s degree but want to grow in their writing. Conference attendees are completely integrated into the community throughout the residency, and are encouraged to participate fully in the programming.

A Word from the Director

It’s my distinct pleasure to work and write at the center of this MFA, supporting the artistic visions and ambitions of an increasingly diverse and wildly imaginative group of writers. Being supported by them. We are committed to what’s known at Pacific as the Grand Conversation, a collaborative creative hum that resonates across the generations of writers we’ve brought together, a promise of deep artistic engagement and development that carries on today and into our shared future. Feel free to reach out with questions. I’m around.

Scott Korb


Contact Us

Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program
503-352-1531 |

530 NW 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97209
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday


Jack Driscoll

A member of the MFA in Writing faculty since 2006, Driscoll passed away on June 25 at his home in Mystic, Connecticut at age 78.

Stacks Of Books Written By Pacific MFA In Writing Alumni

The university's low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program looks to its acclaimed faculty and dedicated alumni to guide the program into its next 20 years.

Kwame Dawes

The longtime faculty member in Pacific's Master of Fine Arts in Writing program receives "one of the most important honors" of his career. He hopes to use the post to further exposure to poetry and create a registry of Jamaican poets.