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Program Requirements

The Helen Zell Writers’ Program is a two-year, fully-funded graduate program in creative writing leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree. A third-year post-MFA Zell Fellowship will be available to six qualifying graduates of our program. HZWP students concentrate in either fiction or poetry and must complete 36 total hours of course work for their degree, including three semesters of writing workshops (18 credits), one semester of a final writing workshop dedicated to completion of their thesis (6 credits), and four semesters (12 credits) of additional graduate coursework (see details below).

Program Structure

The First Year

  • All first-year students take one assigned writing workshop and one non-workshop class of their choosing each semester.
  • Some first-year students hold an internship or volunteer position with one of HZWP's Program Partners.
  • All first-year students take the MFA Exam in their genre in March.

The Second Year

  • All second-year students take one regular writing workshop in the Fall semester and one thesis workshop in the Winter semester. Second-years also take an additional non-workshop class each semester.
  • As part of their funding, all second-year students work as Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs), teaching one University of Michigan undergraduate introductory level writing course each semester. Training and pedagogical support is offered before and throughout the second year.

The Third Year

  • Starting for the Fall 2022 cohort, the Helen Zell Writers' Program will be able to offer six qualifying graduates of our program a one year post-MFA Zell Fellowship.



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