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MFA in Creative Writing

Embrace Your Creativity. Develop Your Craft.

Adult student takes notes while participating in virtual meeting

Lenoir-Rhyne University’s MFA offers a flexible, streamlined curriculum with concentrations in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and narrative healthcare.

You will specialize in one or two genres while developing your skills in other areas through specialty courses focusing on a wide variety of fields, such as screenplay, digital storytelling and science fiction.

Named for Asheville native Thomas Wolfe, the program situates writers in the current of history, develops craft and creativity and supports risk-taking and meaning-making in a supportive and constructive online or in-person environment.

We welcome students from all fields and contexts, cultural and professional. We understand that when that little voice inside starts saying it’s time to write, it’s time to write. We have students who are surgeons, engineers, and real estate agents, as well as students who majored in English in college.

Program Overview

Students complete 45 credit hours of study in the MFA program. These include six literary study courses, seven writing workshops and two semesters of creative thesis, the program’s final project. It may be a novel, a collection of short stories, a collection of poems, a volume of creative nonfiction or a collection of works among these genres.

With options to fulfill your credit hours in fall, spring and summer, you can complete the program in two to three years, or you can complete the program at a slower pace.


The MFA program is led by Laura Hope-Gill, who teaches poetry, creative nonfiction and narrative healthcare. Dale Bailey teaches fiction. Both are actively involved in mentoring the students and directing students’ thesis projects.

We also invite writers from Asheville’s literary community—and beyond—to teach as well, bringing many different areas of expertise to our program.


Lenoir-Rhyne faculty have experience with all levels of publishing, from the small, independent press and self-publishing to major New York publishers. The Thomas Wolfe MFA Program can steer you toward finding the right agent and right market for your work, or help you navigate the expanding opportunities for writers to publish at all levels, build your brand and achieve success.

Request Information

Take the next step toward completing your MFA degree at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Program Highlights

Six MFA students sit around table during class

Small Classes, Flexible Schedule

In a collaborative setting, you will acquire a deeper understanding of your work and expand your skills. Among peers, you will write, provide feedback and receive guidance from a close-knit community of respectful, supportive peers and faculty. 

Writing students pose for a group photo during the Thomas Wolfe Writing Tour of Tuscany

Attend in Asheville or Online

Asheville offers a vibrant and collaborative art scene that is woven across every neighborhood in the city and the MFA program is involved in many of the events. With a mix of local and distance students, we offer a balance of Zoom and in-person instruction, so you can join us in Asheville or from elsewhere.

Writing faculty and students participate in the Narrative Healthcare Symposium

Narrative Healthcare Certificate

Narrative healthcare is an interdisciplinary field linking medicine with story and poetry. Students include doctors, surgeons, counselors, chaplains, and writers. The certificate program requires four courses. You may complete a creative thesis in narrative healthcare with the program’s approval.

Admission Requirements

Applications are accepted for summer and fall terms. Learn more about our admission requirements, including application deadlines and required application materials.

Financial Aid & Tuition

At Lenoir-Rhyne University, we believe that you should have the opportunity to achieve your higher education goals. Enrollment counselors are available through our Admission Office to help you find and apply for financial aid assistance.

Lenoir-Rhyne is competitively priced, and we work with you on payment plans to make the investment in your education affordable and to fit within your budget.

Tuition costs are based on the number of credit hours you are enrolled during each term. For graduate program tuition costs, visit our Financial Aid and Tuition section.

Lenoir-Rhyne is supported by many community partners who offer discounts and benefits to our students. A complete list can be found on the Community Partners page.

Take the Next Step

Achieve your personal and career goals. Enroll in the MFA program at Lenoir-Rhyne, where your ambition and dedication will prepare you for what's next. Our enrollment counselors are here to help you explore your options and advance your career.


Jan Wolff
Assistant Director of Graduate Enrollment
Asheville Campus

Program Contact

Laura Hope-Gill
Assistant Professor of Writing
Director of The Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative
Asheville Campus

Dan Waters

Whether you’re in Asheville on campus or 1,000 miles away like I was, you always feel like you’re part of the program and you shouldn’t hesitate because of the distance. I always felt included and that I was part of everything that was going on. It was no less of an experience as if I were sitting in Asheville.”
—Dan Waters '18, M.D.