California College of the Arts

California, United States

Residential program

California College of the Arts is home to many renowned graduate programs, from Writing to Design. Our MFA Writing Program alum include the best-selling authors Julie Lythcott-Haims and Molly Prentiss -- as well as the poets LaTasha Diggs and Andrew Nicholson, among many others. We pride ourselves on how we teach craft - enacting the spirit and principles of our 107-year-old art and design college. Our San Francisco campus is expanding and growing, with new dorms, classrooms, and cafes, in a neighborhood that is a hot bed for the maker movement.

Our dynamic, full-time faculty engage in diverse, active practices as writers and research scholars, with four books coming out in 18-19 alone and speaking engagements from Ushuaia to Chicago to Portland. Our faculty has received Fulbright, NEA, and NEH awards.

MFA Writing students are encouraged to engage in studios ranging from the illustrated children's book to garment structures and screenwriting and podcasting. We believe writers in the 21st century have more opportunities to be more creative than at any other time in history.

San Francisco is a global center for writing in both traditional and innovative forms -- and the gestation point for established and emergent technologies that impact, challenge, and nourish writers. The CCA MFA Writing Program leverages all of the Bay Area's deep resources, including local authors, Litquake events, and vibrant creative culture to create a transformative and deeply supportive studio culture.

The program is grounded in the craft of writing with an emphasis on the disposition and gaze of seminal practitioners across genres and the arts. Students dip into Surrealism, Bay Area literary movements like the Beats, and read at and create 'zines with the CCA Wattis Institute.

CCA’s San Francisco campus is located in the city's robust design district -- an innovation corridor a short bike ride from the Mission District, home to bookstores, coffee shops, and a vibrant cultural scene.

We leverage our location and connections with leading writers to create courses, jobs, and events for our students. We partner with key local leaders to add relevance to our studios.

Surrounded by world-class museums and cultural centers, leading writers, and amazing resources, you study in the core of a vibrant, inspiring environment.

Past visitors represent the best of writing today:

R.O. Kwon

NourbeSe Philip

Akhil Sharma

Tracy K. Smith

Julie Lythcott-Hains (program alum)

Dana Johnson

Matt Klam

Adam Johnson

Marlon James

Contact Information

1111 8th Street
MFA Program in Writing
San Francisco
California, United States
Phone: 415-810-5454


Undergraduate Program Director

Eric Olsen
Writing & Literature
5212 Broadway
California, United States

Our Writing and Literature Program places you in a dynamic and interdisciplinary community of literary artists. Whether your focus is poetry, fiction, editorial, comics, or graduate studies, you’ll infuse your writing with creativity and experimentation. With focused, individualized attention and a vigorous, thought-provoking curriculum, you’ll learn to develop your writing into publishable works of art.

Type of Program: Studio/Research
Genres: Fiction, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
Unit of Measure: Hours

Graduate Program Director

Leslie Carol Roberts
195 De Haro Street
MFA in Creative Writing Program
San Francisco
California, United States
Phone: 4158105454

The MFA in Writing takes full advantage of situating a writing program in an art school. It is for poets, short-story writers, novelists, and creative nonfiction writers who desire the challenge of writing within a creative environment. It is also for writers interested in the large, evolving field of text and image: book art, video or film art, multimedia art. The program affirms both traditional and innovative practice, both personal exploration and collaboration. Drawing on the resources of CCA and the San Francisco Bay Area, the program offers a flexible yet rigorous course of study designed to support the unique path of each writer.

The program hosts a Friday Seminar at which invited guests - writers, editors, publishers, performers - meet in an intimate setting with students. MFA students publish Eleven Eleven (1111), a literary arts journal, as well as OMG!Lit, a student-run online site to showcase student work. Small Press Traffic (SPT), which promotes literary readings, talks, workshops, and conferences in the Bay Area, is located at CCA.

Type of Program: Studio/Research
Largest Class Size: 30
Smallest Class Size: 15
Genres: Fiction, Criticism & Theory, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
Duration of Study: 2 years
Unit of Measure: Hours
Workshop: 12
Literature: 12
Thesis: 3
Total Units for Degree: 48
Other Requirements: Each student writes a book-length manuscript.
Application Deadline Fall: 01/05/2014
Application Requirements: Transcripts, Writing Sample, Application Form, Letters of Recommendation


Faith Adiele

The Nigerian-Nordic Girl’s Guide to Lady Problems, (Audible, 2015); Meeting Faith,( 2005, WW Norton)

Tom Barbash

The Dakota Winters, (Ecco, December 2018); Stay Up with Me, (Ecco, 2014)

Tonya Foster

A Swarm of Bees in High Court, (Belladonna, 2015)

Jasmin Darznik

Author, Song of a Captive Bird, (Ballantine, 2018); The Good Daughter, Grand Central, 2011)


Leslie Carol Roberts

Here Is Where I Walk: Episodes from a Life in the Forest (Nevada, April 3, 2019); The Entire Earth and Sky: Episodes from a Life in the Forest, Nebraska, 2008, 2012)

Ross Simonini

Author, The Book of Formation, Melville House; interviews editor, The Believer.

Joseph Lease

The Body Ghost, (Coffee House Press, 2018)

Aimee Phan

The Re-Education of Cherry Truong, (St Martin's Press, 2012); We Should Never Meet, (November 2005)


11.11//Eleven Eleven

Art Practical

R.O. Kwon

Katherine Dion

Eric Puchner

Sheila Heti

Ross Simonini

Charif Shanahan

Tracy K. Smith US Poet Laureate

Matthew Klam

Molly Prentiss

Andrew S. Nicholson

Julie Lythcott-Haims

Antonya Nelson

Dana Johnson

Akhil Sharma

Julia Scott

Marlon James

Will Alexander

Mary Gaitskill

Andrew Sean Greer

Eileen Myles

Anne Carson

Dave Eggers

Daniel Handler

Paul Harding

Keorapetse Kgositsile

Paul Muldoon

Achy Obejas

Cheryl Strayed

Daniel Alarcón

Adam Haslett

Lisa Robertson

TUESDAY TALKS curated by Aimee Phan, 2019 (