Our creative writing program gives talented students of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction the opportunity to learn the art together in a supportive community with highly accomplished faculty. An official AWP program, we offer all our graduate students the benefits of professional membership. Our program also publishes one of the oldest quarterlies in the nation, Cimarron Review, which publishes work by writers at all stages of their careers, including Pulitzer prize winners, writers appearing in the Best American Series and the Pushcart anthologies, and winners of national book contests. Since 1967, Cimarron has showcased poetry, fiction, and nonfiction with a wide-ranging aesthetic.
Emphasizing the importance of craft and grounding the practice of artistic writing in knowledge of the literary tradition and its active presence in contemporary culture, we offer individualized attention to students in small classes (maximum enrollment 12 at the graduate level, 18 or fewer for undergraduates), opportunities to take workshops across genres, and eligibility for competitive scholarships specifically designated for creative writers. Currently there are about 50 students enrolled in our graduate program specializing in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction.
Our award-winning faculty have mentored and advised hundreds of emerging writers who have gone on to publish in their fields and to get jobs teaching writing. Creative Writing students and alumni have been incredibly successful in placing their work in such venues as The New Yorker and the New York Times, been featured in the Best New Poets series, and have had books published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, BOA, Sibling Rivalry Press, among other distinguished presses. Their accolades include the AWP Award Series Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, the Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, the Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Competition, the Pushcart Prize, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, the Oklahoma Book Award, and National Book Award finalist.
The program offers teaching assistantships (plus full tuition waivers) and fellowships, with opportunities to teach freshman composition and creative writing, as well as to tutor in the Writing Center. Current students are also eligible for annual creative writing scholarship competitions and competitive administrative opportunities (including Assistant Director of Creative Writing position and Cimarron Review editorships).
Accepted applicants receive full funding if they meet the priority placement application deadline and complete a teaching assistantship application according to guidelines.
Apply now to the OSU Creative Writing graduate program.
Degrees and Requirements
BA: Our undergraduate students consistently go on to publish well, take advanced degrees at some of the most highly respected graduate programs in the nation, and succeed as mature professionals. Our BA in English with creative writing option consists of 53 hours, including 15 hours of workshop, 24 hours of literature surveys, literary criticism, and upper-division literature courses. Upper-division electives account for 17 hours. Undergraduates have the opportunity to be editors and staff interns in OSU’s undergraduate digital literary magazine, Frontier Mosaic.
Past undergraduate students have gone on to study at Cornell University, New York University, University of Montana, Sarah Lawrence College, Emerson College, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Western Michigan University, University of Virginia, Colorado State University, University of Maryland, University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University, and the University of Southern California.
Graduate students have gone on to study or teach at Drake University, Texas A&M, Texas Tech University, Kansas State University, Columbus State University, Ohio University, SUNY-Binghamton, Auburn University, University of South Carolina, Baylor University, Mesa State College, University of Cincinnati, Roger Williams University, University of Nebraska, University of Oklahoma, University of Central Oklahoma, Southeast Missouri State University, and Millikin University.
MFA: The MFA in Creative Writing is a three-year artistic experience that consists of 42 hours, 12 in workshop, 3 in Craft and Forms, and 15 of other appropriate departmental course offerings. The 12 remaining hours are for thesis preparation. MFA’s have the chance to work as editorial assistants on the Cimarron Review, to participate in a lively student reading series, and to teach writing at the college level, if they apply for a teaching assistantship.
PhD: The PhD program is interdisciplinary with the exciting option of allowing PhD students to have a secondary specialization in another area of creative writing, literature, or film studies. Graduate students in creative writing submit original creative works prefaced by a critical introduction rather than a scholarly thesis or dissertation. Doctoral students have the option of testing in the Practical Poetics, Theory and Practice of Creative Nonfiction, or Fictional Rhetoric comprehensive examination area. This area is designed to assess knowledge of close reading and craft. Our creative writing PhD program is unique in including this focus on literary technique at the comprehensive examination level, allowing our graduate students to integrate their work as writers into their overall academic approach.
Sarah Beth Childers has an MFA from West Virginia University. Her memoir-in-essays, Shake Terribly the Earth: Stories from an Appalachian Family, was published by Ohio University Press in 2013. Her literary journal publications include pieces in Brevity, Wigleaf: (Very) Short Fiction, Pank, Guernica Daily, and Superstition Review, and her anthology publications include pieces in Love and Profanity: A Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life and Where the Sweet Water Flows: Contemporary Appalachian Nature Writing. Sarah Beth was a recipient of the Olive B. O'Connor Fellowship at Colgate University in 2009. She serves as nonfiction editor for the Cimarron Review.
Dinah Cox earned both an MA and a PhD at Oklahoma State University. Her book of stories, Remarkable, won the fourth annual BOA Short Fiction Prize and appeared in 2016. A second collection is forthcoming from PANK Books in 2019. Individual short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Copper Nickel, Cream City Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, The Laurel Review, and Calyx. In addition, her stories have won prizes from The Atlantic Monthly, Hayden's Ferry Review, and The Texas Observer. She has served as Associate Editor of Cimarron Review since 2005.
Toni Graham took both her MA in English and her MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction from San Francisco State University. Her third collection of short stories, The Suicide Club, won the 2014 Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction and was published in 2015 by the University of Georgia Press. Her second collection, Waiting for Elvis, was published by Leapfrog Press and was winner of the John Gardner Book Award. The Daiquiri Girls, her first collection of stories, was winner of the Grace Paley Short Fiction Award from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press. She has also been a winner of the California Short Story Award, the Herbert Wilner Award for Short Fiction, the Harrold Scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and has received a Pushcart Prize citation. She is recipient of the 2016 Regents Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. Graham currently serves as Editor-in-Chief and Editor of Fiction for Cimarron Review.
Janine Joseph holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston and an MFA in Poetry from New York University. She is the author of Driving Without a License (Alice James Books, 2016), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize, the 2018 da Vinci Eye Award, and finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Award and 2017 Oklahoma Book Award. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, World Literature Today, The Poem’s Country: Place & Poetic Practice, Kenyon Review Online, Zócalo Public Square, the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere. Her commissioned libretti for the Houston Grand Opera/HGOco include What Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline, "On This Muddy Water": Voices from the Houston Ship Channel, and From My Mother's Mother. Additionally, Joseph’s poems have been set to music by acclaimed composers Melissa Dunphy, for the PhilHarmonia’s “American DREAMers: Stories of Immigration” concert, and Reinaldo Moya, for the Schubert Club’s “DREAM Song” concert. She is an organizer for Undocupoets and serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Poets & Writers in Tulsa and the National Advisory Board for Writers at Work. Joseph was born in the Philippines.
Lisa Lewis was educated at the Iowa Writers Workshop (MFA) and the University of Houston (PhD). She has received awards from the American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, and the Missouri Review, as well as a Pushcart Prize, and her poems appear in two editions of Best American Poetry. Her books are The Unbeliever (Brittingham Prize), Silent Treatment (National Poetry Series), Story Box (Poetry West Chapbook Contest), Vivisect (New Issues Press), Burned House with Swimming Pool (Dream Horse Press), winner of the American Poetry Journal prize, The Body Double, (Georgetown Review Poetry Manuscript Contest), and, most recently, Taxonomy of the Missing (The Word Works, Tenth Gate Prize). In 2011 she was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in South Dakota Review, American Journal of Poetry, Florida Review, Four Way Review, New England Review, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere. She serves as poetry editor of the Cimarron Review and directed the OSU creative writing program from 2000-2016.
Aimee Parkison holds an MFA from Cornell University and is the author of five books of fiction. Her most recent book, Girl Zoo (FC2/University of Alabama 2019), is a collaborative experimental story collection co-authored with Carol Guess. Parkison’s fourth book, Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman (FC2/University of Alabama Press 2017), won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize and was named one of Brooklyn Rails’ Best Books of 2017. Parkison writes to explore voices and characters, opening doors to unusual journeys through language. Parkison is widely published and known for revisionist approaches to narrative. Her fiction has won numerous awards, including a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, the Kurt Vonnegut Prize from North American Review, the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction, the Jack Dyer Prize from Crab Orchard Review, a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship, a Writers at Work Fellowship, a Puffin Foundation Fellowship, and an American Antiquarian Society William Randolph Hearst Creative Artists Fellowship.
Find out about course offerings at the Course Offerings Page.
Our graduate students have developed a university-sanctioned Creative Writers Association, which sponsors a lively Poetry, Prose, and Pints student reading series and an annual reading series that features visiting writers.
Our undergraduates have developed Frontier Mosaic, an official university student organization and online literary magazine which sponsors undergraduate readings and a launch party for each new issue.
You can find out more about student and alumni publications at the Student and Alumni Publications Page.