A selection of books written by Hamline creative writing faculty

MFAC MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults


A low-residency MFA

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Young readers matter

That's why Hamline offers one of only three nationwide programs devoted exclusively to writing for children and young adults.

Whatever your chosen format or genre may be—whether it’s picture books, young adult fantasy, graphic novels, or something else—you'll have the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty members who are themselves award-winning authors.

Twice a year, you will join other students and faculty for in-depth lectures, workshops, and readings devoted to writing for children and young adults. Faculty, visiting writers, and graduating students give readings, deliver lectures, and conduct seminars that provide real-world tools for success.

Through the MFAC, you will join a community of learners who offer direction, camaraderie, and support for one another throughout the program and well after it’s ended. You will also take advantage of the Twin Cities' many publishing houses.

What will it take?

Cost per Credit
Time to Complete
Next Session Starts
July 11, 2024
Student-Faculty Ratio
3:1 to 5:1

MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults overview

Important Dates
Time to Complete
Application Requirements
Transferring Credits

Start dates and application deadlines

Applications are processed on a rolling basis. Applications submitted and files completed after deadlines may be reviewed if space permits and enough time exists for an application review.

We strongly encourage international students to submit all application materials two months before the priority deadline.

Application deadlines

  • March 1: For summer residency (July) start. If you miss the priority deadline, the final deadline is May 15.
  • September 1: For winter residency (January) start. If you miss the priority deadline, the final deadline is November 1.


Summer 2024 Residency Starts
Winter 2025 Residency Starts

Hamline’s low-residency program model

Complete the program fully online or hybrid (completing some work in-person and some online).

Twice per year, you will participate in residences, which you can attend virtually or in person. Residencies are eleven days long and take place in January and July.

See our program details page for an in-depth understanding of our residency model. 

Time to complete the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults

Earn your degree in two years—four semesters and five residencies.

How to apply to the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults

Please submit the materials below to apply for admission to the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program.

  • Online application (no fee for US residents).
  • Questionnaire (submitted as part of the online application). Our faculty reviewers look for well-written, thoughtful responses that let them know more about the kind of writer you are and the student you will be. 
  • Critical essay: Three- to four-page critical essay, double-spaced, focusing on an element of craft or a particular subject in a children's or YA book that impressed you. For example, you could focus on the ways in which an author developed the characters in a picture book.
  • Creative writing sample: Submit either 20 pages (double-spaced) of prose or poetry written for children or young adults OR two picture book manuscripts. Your submission may include more than one piece or genre, provided that they are fully realized pieces and do not exceed the 20-page total limit.
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate work. If your transcripts are in a language other than English, you must submit both the original and an official or certified course-by-course English translation. Official transcript of a bachelor's degree must be from a regionally accredited college or university. This should be sent directly from the institution to Graduate Admission or provided in a sealed, signed envelope. Official electronic copies should be emailed to You do not have to provide transcripts for courses taken at Hamline University.
  • Two letters of recommendation written by people unrelated to you who are familiar with your academic, artistic, and/or professional qualifications.
  • Additional materials you wish the admission committee to consider, such as letters of recommendation or previously published work.


Transferring to Hamline's MFAC program

Hamline's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) welcomes students who want to transfer from similar programs (i.e., other MFAC programs or MFA programs with a concentration in writing for children and young adults). Because of the variety of programs from which you might transfer, please contact the Office of Graduate Admission at and we can discuss your previous coursework and how it may transfer into Hamline's program. Please be prepared to supply a copy of your transcript to facilitate the process. 

View Hamline's transfer policy

Email grad admission

Formats and genres for all readers and writers

Featured genres

  • Fiction
  • Fantasy 
  • Graphic novels
  • Verse novel
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry

Featured formats

  • Picture books
  • Middle-grade books
  • Young adult books
Spire of Old Main with orange flowers


Kalena Miller, author and alumni of Hamline's MFA in Writing for Children program

Before coming to Hamline, pursuing a career in publishing seemed an impossible dream. However, after two years learning from the best in the business and growing alongside a cohort of like-minded peers, I had the skills to transform my passion for children's literature into a career. In the five years since graduation, I have written and published books, taught students of my own, and opened a bookstore where I now get to share the books I studied at Hamline with young readers on the daily. And I can say with absolute certainty that my time at Hamline is to thank for all of it.

Kalena Miller MFAC '18

Our low-residency MFA in Writing for CYA faculty

Learn from award-winning teachers and mentors

Here is just a sample of the awards and recognitions of our faculty.

national Ambassador for Young People's Literature

2023-2024: Meg Medina
2016-2017: Gene Luen Yang

Newbery medal

2019: Meg Medina, Merci Suárez Changes Gears
2018: Erin Entrada Kelly, Hello Universe
2017: Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon
2016: Matt de la Pena, Last Stop on Market Street

Newbery honor Award

2020: Erin Entrada Kelly, We Dream of Space 
2008: Gary Schmidt, The Wednesday Wars
2005: Gary Schmidt, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

National Book Award finalists

2022: Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans
2019: Laura Ruby, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All 
2017: Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of 
2017: Laurel Snyder, Orphan Island
2015: Laura Ruby, Bone Gap
2014: Eliot Schrefer, Threatened
2013: Anne Ursu, The Real Boy
2013: Gene Yang, Boxers & Saints
2012: Eliot Schrefer, Endangered
2009: e. lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
2006: Gene Yang, American Born Chinese

Boston Globe–Horn Book Award 

2022: Brandy Colbert, Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (winner)
2018: Dashka Slater, The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives (finalist)

Michael L. Printz award for excellence in Young Adult Literature

2017: Nina LaCour, We Are Okay
2016: Laura Ruby, Bone Gap 
2006: Gene Yang, American Born Chinese

Michael L. Printz Honor Award

2022: Eliot Schrefer, The Darkness Outside Us
2020: Gene Yang, Dragon Hoops
2019: Elana K. Arnold, Damsel
2009: e. lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
2008: Gary Schmidt, The Wednesday Wars

Pura Belpré award

2021: Lilliam Rivera, Never Look Back (finalist)
2014: Meg Medina, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (winner)


View full list

Read more about our faculty

Get in-depth experience with visiting writers, editors, and publishers

Hamline’s MFAC program is deeply connected to the literary community and will connect you to writers beyond our faculty, including editors, publishers, and literary agents.

View our faculty, staff, and visiting experts page to see a sampling of professionals who have shared their knowledge and expertise with us during past residencies.

Join an alumni community of published, award-winning authors

Books published


Hamline MFAC alumni have traditionally-published books for pre-K through YA, through many of the major publishing houses.

Awards won


From a Newbery Honor, to two Minnesota Book Awards, to the Scott O'Dell Award, Hamline MFAC graduates are celebrated across genres.

Ink and brush

The Storyteller's Inkpot

An intimate look at the Hamline MFAC

Join faculty, students, and graduates of Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults in this online forum to discuss the program, books, writing, the creative process, kid lit, and more.