Creative Writing Curriculum
Our MFA program focuses on the actual practice of writing as well as its literary underpinnings. You are exposed to writing as an art form and as a professional pursuit. We know your goal is to publish, to bring your work to an audience and the marketplace.
Workshop Experience in Multiple Genres
We believe the MFA program is a chance for you to explore aspects of writing and literature that interest you. Although you will concentrate and complete your thesis in one literary genre (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry), you may elect to take workshops that cover topics such as how to write poetry, fiction, memoir, short story, and screenwriting. Workshops serve as the core of our program. To complement the workshop experience, you will take Literature courses and an array of electives.
You will conclude the MFA program by producing a thesis of professional quality in a single genre:
- a novel or novel excerpt
- a nonfiction book or excerpt
- a collection of poems, short stories, or essays
The thesis often forms the basis for future published work. Selected books by our MFA alumni »
Teaching College Composition
Each year, a selected number of MFA and MA students learn to teach writing at the undergraduate level. Teaching College Composition is a 4-credit, one-semester course that prepares students to teach at Emerson during their master’s program and then at other institutions after graduation.
Although taking the course does not guarantee a part-time teaching position at Emerson, students who have completed the course are interviewed by faculty and are often offered appointments. Many students find that this foundation in teaching is a valuable tool in pursuing jobs after graduation.
Recent MFA alum Cheryl Buchanan ('15) compiled and edited the book Writers Without, a collection featuring the writing of clients at Boston's St. Francis House day shelter.
Roseanne Montillo's (MFA '98) latest book about track star Betty Robinson is optioned by DreamWorks.
Asako Serizawa (MFA '01) is the recipient of a fiction writing fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.
Poet Christina Pugh (MFA '00) was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Matt Rasmussen (MFA '03) won the Theodore H. Holmes and Bernice Holmes National Poetry Prize.
MFA '98 Roseanne Montillo's article about 14-year old serial killer Jesse Pomeroy appeared on CBS News Crimsider. Montillo's latest book The Wilderness of Ruin explores the hunt for the child killer during Boston's Gilded Age.
MFA '99 Olen Steinhauer's new book, All the Old Knives was recently reviewed by The New York Times.
Professor Jessica Treadway is featured in the Boston Globe for her new novel “Lacy Eye.” In the Q&A with the Globe, Treadway discusses her writing habits, including writing drafts in longhand.
MFA Stephen Shane (Nonfiction, 2015) and his colleague David Knight created a short documentary on Boston busing called Desegregated, Yet Unequal, and it was named an Editors' Pick by The Atlantic.
MFA Jennifer Crystal (Nonfiction, 2014) signed a book deal with Belfort & Bastion for her memoir Et Voilà: One Traveler's Journey from Foreigner to Francophile.
Megan Marshall won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for the biography Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.
Laura van den Berg, MFA ('08) received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for her collection of short stories, The Isle of Youth.
Bill Knott, poet and professor at Emerson for over 25 years, passed away on March 12, 2014 from complications with surgery, John Skoyles, Associate Chair of WLP remembers Bill in the piece below.
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Michelle Bailat-Jones (MFA '05) won the inaugural Christopher Doheny Award for her novel Fog Island Mountains. The award recognizes a book-length work of fiction or nonfiction exploring the experience of serious illness.
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Three fiction alumni released debut novels in January 2014: Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kirsten Chen (MFA '09), The Kept by James Scott (MFA '07), and What Ends by Andrew Ladd (MFA '10).
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Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Nonfiction, 2009) wins a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship and receives a Notable Essay selection in Best American Essays 2013.
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Matt Rasmussen's (MFA '03) debut poetry collection Black Aperture was named a National Book Award Finalist and won a Walt Whitman Award and Pushcart Prize.
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Lauren Johnson (Nonfiction, 2014) is the winner of Glamour magazine nonfiction essay contest for writing about her military service in Afghanistan.
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