PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN ADMISSION FOR CREATIVE WRITING. Beginning in Fall 2013, the Creative Writing Program began accepting applications for the MA or PhD poetry or fiction/nonfiction in alternating years. This year you may only apply for admission for the FICTION/NONFICTION program to begin classes in Fall 2015. We will only accept applications for admission to the graduate program in Creative Writing in the designated genre for that year. We will be accepting applications for admission in the Creative Writing genre of FICTION/NONFICTION for the 2015-2016 year.

Enrolling more than 150 students and composed of 42 graduate faculty (including 10 in Creative Writing), the Graduate Program in English at the University of Nebraska offers an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing, one of the few such advanced degree programs in the country to offer a creative dissertation option.

The Creative Writing MA consists of 24 hours of course work and a 6 credit creative thesis plus an oral examination. Students select a thesis committee consisting of a chair and two readers who guide them in their creative project.

For the Creative Writing PhD, students develop a program of course work, reading lists for the comprehensive examination, competency in a foreign language or reading knowledge of a foreign language and a creative dissertation project. In the construction of such a degree program, students are guided by a self-selected Supervisory Committee consisting of at least four graduate faculty Fellows. The PhD program consists of 90 hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. The usual program of studies for the PhD student is 24-30 hours of course work beyond the master’s, plus a maximum of 30 hours of dissertation credit. The department accepts up to 36 hours of MA/MFA credit as part of the PhD degree.


The Prairie Schooner, founded in 1927 at the University of Nebraska, is widely recognized as one of the premiere literary quarterlies in the nation. Creative Writing graduate students often serve as interns with the magazine.

Related Events and Activities

The English Department sponsors a number of visiting writers every year. Recent visitors include: ZZ Packer, Lorrie Moore, Li-Young Lee, Alicia Ostriker, Sherman Alexie, Charles Baxter, Jewell Gomez, Naomi Shihab-Nye, Carolyn Forche, Camille Dungy, Antonya Nelson, and Robert Boswell

The No Name Reading Series features bi-monthly readings by creative writing students and other writers from the Lincoln community. Each year the English Department holds several student literary contests for Arts & Sciences prizes, including the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Vreeland Award, and The Mari Sandoz Fiction Prize.

Creative Writing Faculty

Jonis Agee Adele Hall Chair and Professor, PhD State University of New York-Binghamton. Fiction, American Literature, Poetry. Publications:  five short fiction collections, a book of poetry, and five novels, most recently The River Wife (2007) and forthcoming: Prepare The Heavens (novel) and At Mindful Creek (short story collection).

Grace Bauer Professor, M.F.A. University of Massachusetts. Contemporary poetry. Publications include Retreats & Recognitions (2006), Beholding Eye (2006), Field Guide to the Ineffable: Poems on Marcel Duchamp (1999), The Women At The Well (1997), Where You've Seen Her (1993), The House Where I've Never Lived (1993), and poetry in various journals and magazines including Doubletake, Georgia Review, Poetry, and Southern Poetry Review.

Stephen Behrendt University Professor and George Holmes Distinguished Professor, PhD University of Wisconsin. Poetry and Romanticism. His current projects include books on Romantic Women writers, issues of canonicity and periodization in Romanticism and William Blake. Publications include  Instruments of the Bones (1992) and A Step in the Dark (1996).

Joy Castro Associate Professor, PhD Texas A&M University. Memoir, Fiction, U.S. Ethnic Literatures, Women's Literatures, Modernism. She is the author of The Truth Book (2005), a memoir about growing up in a family of Jehovah's Witnesses and Hell or High Water (2012).

Kwame Dawes Chancellor’s Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, PhD University of New Brunswick. Poet. Creative writing (poetry), African American literature, Caribbean literature, African literature, Post-colonial literature and theory.  Currently editing eight poetry anthologies for publication in 2011 and 2012.

Ted Kooser Visiting Professor, MA University of Nebraska. Poetry. He has been published in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, Hudson Review, Ohio Review and many other journals. His most recent books are Winter Morning Walks; 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison (2000) and Weather Central (1994).

Amelia Maria de la Luz Montes ssistant Professor, PhD University of Denver. Fiction, Chicana/o literature and Women's Studies. Her fiction is inspired from growing up east of East L.A and shaped by her research in Chicana/o cultural production and theory. Montes' most recent short story publications are "La Guacamaya" in the anthology Culture and Society in Dialogue, "While Pilar Tobillo Sleeps" in HERS 3: Brilliant New Fiction by Lesbian Writers and "R for Ricura" in Circa 2000: Lesbian Fiction at the Millennium. Currently, she is finishing a novel.

Timothy Schaffert, Assistant Professor, M.F.A. University of Arizona. Fiction. Novel publications include: The Swan Gondola (forthcoming), The Coffins of Little Hope (2011), Devils in the Sugar Shop (2007), The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God (2005), and The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters, You Will Never See Any God, short stories by Ervin D. Krause (edited with an introduction by Timothy Schaffert).

Stacey Waite, Assistant Professor, PhD University of Pittsburgh. Poetry, Composition, and The Teaching of Writing. Publications include: the lake has no saint (2010), Love Poem to Androgyny (2006), and Choke (2004, Winner of the Frank O’Hara Prize for Poetry). Currently working on a manuscript, Butch Geography, which is forthcoming from Tupelo Press. Poems have appeared in various journals and magazines including Black Warrior Review, Bloom, Cream City Review, and The Massachusetts Review.


Recent graduates in Creative Writing have won several national awards, including the John Simmons Short Fiction Prize, the Mary McCarthy Prize for Fiction, the Vassar Miller Poetry Prize, a National Poetry Series Prize, and have been included in the AWP Intro Awards and Best American Voices.

They have published books with major presses including Dutton, Harcourt Brace, Sarabande, the University of Iowa Press, and University of Nebraska Press. Graduates and current students in the program have published stories and poetry in such magazines as Georgia Review, Doubletake, Granta, Colorado Review, Missouri Review, The Literary Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Creative Nonfiction, Other Voices, and Quarterly West, among others. They have won scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers conferences.

Graduates of our PhD program have secured tenure track creative writing positions at University of Alabama, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Bradley University, California State University-Chico, North Texas State University, Southern Illinois University, St. Lawrence University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Hope College. Other graduates have gone on to teach in a variety of research institutions, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges. Some graduates have gone into careers in publishing and others into professional fields such as journalism, law, public agencies, and business.

Application Procedures

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN ADMISSIONS FOR CREATIVE WRITING.  FOR FALL 2014, ONLY POETRY APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR ADMISSION.  Beginning in Fall 2013, the Creative Writing Program will be accepting applications for the MA or PhD in poetry or fiction/nonfiction in alternating years.  Thus, you may only apply for admission to the POETRY program to begin classes in Fall 2014.  In the following year, you may only apply for admission to the FICTION/NONFICTION program to begin classes in Fall 2015 and so on.  We will only accept applications for admission to the graduate program in Creative Writing in the designated genre for that year.

Students may apply to the MA and PhD Creative Writing program by submitting a creative writing sample in the genre in which they are applying. The sample should include 12 poems, or no more than 30 pages of fiction (a short work or part of a novel) or creative non-fiction along with their other application materials.  (hyperlink to the admissions page here:      

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