Graduate Creative Writing

Aided by the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program, the Creative Writing program attracts national and international acclaim. Faculty and students actively contribute to the Calgary and Canadian arts communities.  

MA with creative thesis

You may apply to submit a substantial work of poetry or fiction as a creative project for the MA thesis in English. However, we caution that permission is needed to undertake the creative option. We cannot promise that admission to the MA in English, nor completion of Creative Writing classes at this or any other university, guarantees permission to pursue the Creative Writing project. 

We do encourage you to continue writing and to continue applying for Creative Writing courses at the graduate level. 


Submit a substantial portfolio of previous work during your graduate program application (published work, five to eight short poems or one to two short stories, chapters of a novel, or a combination of poetry and prose).

Critical approach

Outline critical awareness of the approach you expect to take.


If the proposal is for poetry, you must present a critical discussion of the proposed work, calling attention elements like themes, verse-forms, groups of poems, experimental or traditional approaches, etc.


If the proposal is for fiction, you must present a critical discussion of possible approaches to characterization, theme, point of view, narrative stance, experimental or traditional approaches.


The finished product must have an introduction or afterword, normally of 20–30 pages, showing some critical awareness of the approach taken.

Average length

The average length of a poetry project is normally about fifty pages. Fiction projects are normally about one hundred and fifty pages.

PhD with creative dissertation

We offer a PhD in English with a Creative Writing option. You may be permitted to submit a substantial book-length manuscript of poetry or fiction for the PhD thesis in English. However, because of the high standards expected for such a project and the Department's limited resources in the area of creative writing, permission to undertake this option is highly competitive. While an indication of writing and publishing experience is essential, such publication by itself does not guarantee either admission to the doctoral program or approval of a creative dissertation project.


Submit a portfolio of writing and published works during your graduate program application.

Critical approach

Your dissertation essay must show extensive critical awareness of the approach you expect to take. Expect, as part of your studies, to do research within the genre.


The finished product, when presented as a dissertation for examination, must be previously unpublished and must be accompanied by a critical essay showing a sophisticated critical and/or theoretical awareness of the approach taken.


Although quantity and quality cannot be equated, the body of work presented must be substantial; as with the dissertation for a critical Ph.D., it should fulfill expectations of originality and publishability.

Creative Writing faculty

Kit Dobson

Kit Dobson

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Clara Joseph

Clara A.B. Joseph

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Clem Martini UCalgary Creative Writing faculty

Clem Martini

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Suzette Mayr UCalgary Creative Writing

Suzette Mayr

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L. Rain Prud'homme-Cranford Creative Writing Faculty

L. Rain Prud'homme-Cranford

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Vivek Shraya Creative Writing Faculty

Vivek Shraya

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Uchechukwu Umezurike

Uchechukwu Umezurike

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Aritha van Herk UCalgary Creative Writing

Aritha Van Herk

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Anna Veprinska

Anna Veprinska

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Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead

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Expand your writing career

Zytaruk UCalgary professor

Master of Arts (MA), thesis-based

Thesis-based programs require that you pursue independent and original research culminating in a thesis. You will work under the supervision of a faculty member whose expertise matches your research area.

Michael Chabon visits UCalgary

Master of Arts (MA), course-based

In a course-based program, all degree requirements are fulfilled by completing courses. These may include courses that involve a project, such as a major research paper or group project.

UCalgary professor Anthony Camara on the anniversary of Frankenstein

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Department of English offers a PhD degree with one specialization, Literature in English. The Creative Writing option is available within this specialization.

Ready to apply?

Have you made your final decision and you're ready to apply?

What you'll need

The Faculty of Graduate Studies has detailed instructions about the application process.

Read admission steps and requirements

Do you have everything?

You are responsible for ensuring your application is complete and all documents are received by the deadline. 

Graduate supervisor

The Department of English does not require you to confirm a supervisor prior to admission.

Begin your application

First create an eID. You must have one to access the online application.

Once you begin, remember to click 'Save & Continue' often to ensure your application is saved.

Online application

Graduate program contacts

Contact us for any questions you may have about the programs we offer in the Department of English.

Graduate Program Advisor

Ask me about graduate program advising

Lori Somner

Associate Head (Graduate Program)

Ask me about graduate degree requirements

Dr. Stefania Forlini

Creative Writing Coordinator

Ask me about the Creative Writing Program

Clara A.B. Joseph