Don't tell anyone, but the most popular concentration in the English Department is Creative Writing.   And don't let anyone tell you learning to write creatively and well renders you useless for the job market.  Direct mail, journalism, marketing, advertising, public relations, not-for-profit fundraising, writing of textbook and software manuals, the civil service, the foreign service... our undergraduates go on to make use of their talents in countless ways besides getting rich as a best-selling author, although that has happened too.  Think you got what it takes to be a LCW (English Major with a concentration in Creative Writing)?  You can request the concentration your junior year.  Click here for the particulars of the major.  You can also minor in Creative Writing, too.  Click here for information about the minor.


​NCSU offers an MFA in Creative Writing. Check out our faculty, contests, and our reading series of visiting writers which is arguably the best in the South.  

Applications are accepted only for Fall admission. The deadline for admission with financial aid is February 1, but it's best to apply in December or early January. The application is online. We admit about ten students/year, in fiction and poetry, and provide stipends and health insurance. Allow yourself time to take the GRE exams, gather three letters of recommendation, and have the results by February 1 or earlier.

Creative Writing has had a long presence in the English Department at NC State, beginning with authors Guy Owen (THE BALLAD OF THE FLIM-FLAM MAN)  and continuing  with Lee Smith and Angela Davis-Gardner with their celebrated novels.  Therese Fowler's SOUVENIR (Spring 2008, Ballantine Books) has been followed by her REUNION (2009). For some superb short stories, there's Amy Knox Brown's (mostly) Nebraskan tales, THREE VERSIONS OF THE TRUTH (Fall 2007, Press 53), called by Booklist, "a vibrant debut collection." The cutting-edge novel BEING WRITTEN (Harper’s Perennial, 2008) by William Conescu was noted in Publisher's Weekly: "Conescu's light, swift and nicely structures dark comedy puts to the test a character's ability to outwrite his own author. In the end, the author wins."  

MFA poets have appeared in journals across the U.S.

Noel Moore's chapbook, CANYON (Red Dragonfly Press, 2010) was drawn from her MFA thesis, as was Jessica Sampley's TUSCALOOSA TO TUPELO (Main Street Rag, 2007).  Michael Begnal's ANCESTOR WORSHIP (2007) was published in Ireland by the distinguished Salmon Press.


Our faculty have won Guggenheim, Lannan, and NEA fellowships, as well as nominations for the National Book Award, and many other awards including  the Nebula Award and a National Poetry Series Selection.

Recent  titles by our MFA faculty include John Balaban's PATH, CROOKED PATH (Copper Canyon, 2006). Writes the Harvard Review, "Balaban's emotional range is impressively wide and deeply human--by turns compassionate and angry, somber and humorous, earnest and ironic. His voice is strong; his poems are important."

Dorianne Laux, who teaches poetry with Balaban, recently published THE BOOK OF MEN (Norton, 2011).  Her  POET'S COMPANION (with Kim Addonizio, Norton, 1997) is used in writing programs all across the U.S.

John Kessel's THE BAUM PLAN FOR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE (Small Beer Press, 2008) collects ten years worth of speculative, sci-fi and literary fiction from this Nebula and Tiptree-award winning author. Also, keep an eye out for John Kessel's and Jim Kelly's wildly popular and important anthologies of "Slipstream Fiction," FEELING VERY STRANGE (Tachyon, 2006) and REWIRED: THE POST-CYBERPUNK ANTHOLOGY (Tachyon, 2007).

Jill McCorkle and Lee Smith's short stories have been made into a Broadway musical called GOOD OL' GIRLS.  Jill's newest book is GOING AWAY SHOES (Algonquin, 2008).