About Our Program

Founded in 1920 with the creative writing major, we are the second oldest creative writing program for undergraduates in the country. Our MFA program was established in 1967.

Poets & Writers and U.S. News & World Report have consistantly ranked University of Montana among the top MFA programs.

CutBank, a literary journal established by University of Montana over 40 years ago, is managed, edited and published by graduate students. The CutBank Editor-in-Chief receives a stipend and a full tuition waiver. All second year students are eligible for this position.

Undergraduate students manage, edit and publish The Oval.

Our TA's teach one class of composition each semester. Many of our TA's have the opportunity to teach a semester of creative writing during their second year. 

Our core faculty have published over 40 books with highly-regarded publishers: BOA Editions, Doubleday, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin, Knopf, Norton, Penguin, Putnam, Viking, Vintage, and more.

We bring semester-long visiting writers in both poetry and prose each year to teach graduate and undergraduate workshops. Some of our recent visitors include Rick Bass, Brian Blanchfield, Walter Kirn, William Kittredge, Eileen Myles, Peter Orner, Elizabeth Robinson and Sandra Lim.

We host 3 - 5 visiting writers each year who give public readings and craft lectures as well as teach one-day graduate workshops. Some of our recent short-term visitors include John D'Agata, Stacey D'Erasmo, Alexandra Fuller, Garrett Hongo, Major Jackson, Tracy Kidder, Victor LaValle, Chang-rae Lee, Barry Lopez, Alice Notley, Susan Orlean, Mary Szybist and Jess Walter.

Our faculty have received numerous awards, including 6 NEA’s, 3 Guggenheims, 2 Pushcart Prizes, 2 Iowa Poetry Prizes, the American Book Award, the Whiting Writer’s Award, Rona Jaffe Award, Mountain and Plains Award, Howard Fellowship, and even Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Two of our alumni have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Some of our famous alumni include:

Sandra Alcosser (first Poet Laureate of Montana and founder of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at San Diego State University)
Kim Barnes (author of In the Kingdom of Men and In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country)
Jon Davis (poet and founder of the MFA in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts)
Rick DeMarinis (author of The Mortician’s Apprentice)
Michael FitzGerald (co-founder of Submittable)
Andrew Sean Greer (author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli)
Shannon Hale (author of Princess Academy)
Melissa Kwasny (poet and author of The Nine Senses)
Aryn Kyle (author of the international bestseller The God of Animals)
J. Robert Lennon (novelist and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Cornell University)
Colin Meloy (author of the NY Times bestseller Wildwood and lead singer of the Decemberists)
Janisse Ray
(author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a NY Times Notable Book)
Steven Rinella
(author of Meat Eater)
Amanda Eyre Ward
(author of How to Be Lost)
James Welch
(author of Fools Crow and Killing Custer)
Robert Wrigley
(recipient of the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award)

Our alumni, faculty and students have published over 600 books. You can view these at Publications.

Jack McCrone and Kate Nitze

MFA graduates, Jack McCrone & Kate Nitze