Jun 22, 2024  
General Catalog 2023-2024 
General Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Creative Writing, M.F.A.

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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Requirements

The M.F.A. in Creative Writing offers advanced degree training to talented students who wish to gain expertise in the writing of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. It assumes that, as in music or the visual arts, the best education for the artist includes: training in the history and traditions associated with the student’s discipline, training in theoretical and formal approaches to the craft, and extensive practice with critique of student work by peers and faculty writers. The program combines studio and academic approaches, providing the student with substantial critical workshop experience and a solid background in theory and literature. In addition to a traditional literature based course of study, we offer the Emphasis in Publishing and Editing for those students who wish to gain professional training and experience in the field.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program requires: a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better in the undergraduate major (foreign students must score 600 or better on the TOEFL); three optional letters of recommendation from teachers, editors, or others familiar with the applicant’s writing and academic skills; and a writing sample of the student’s creative work (up to 10 poems or 20 pages of prose) to be evaluated by the creative writing admissions committee. The advanced GRE is not required.

Degree Requirements

In consultation with the M.F.A. advisor, each student prepares and submits a coherent program individually designed within one of the two following frameworks:

M.F.A. in Creative Writing

Total: 54 Units

Note: At least 70% (38 units) of coursework must be at graduate (200) level.

M.F.A. in Creative Writing: Emphasis in Publishing and Editing

Total: 54 Units

Note: At least 70% (38 units) of coursework must be at graduate (200) level.

Specific Requirements

Thesis. The thesis for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing consists of a single book-length manuscript of fiction, a collection of poems, or creative nonfiction that works together to make a unified body of work. The thesis committee works closely with the student on style as well as content; it adheres to a high standard of publishable quality work. In their final semester, students will complete a formal defense of their thesis with their committee.

Graduate Writing Requirement. Before advancement to candidacy, the student must also satisfy the Graduate Writing Skills Requirement. This requirement is met by submission and approval of a sample of scholarly writing. (This is distinct from the sample of creative work required for program admission.) See English Department’s Advising Booklet for more information.

Contextualizing Narrative. In addition to the general Graduate Division requirements, students are required to complete the M.F.A. Contextualizing Narrative Assignment with a grade of B or above. Students work with their advisor to create an approved reading list for the assignment. The Contextualizing Narrative Assignment consists of craft-focused annotations of approved texts that allow students to demonstrate a theoretical and critical knowledge of their genre.

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