Creative Writing Program Requirements

The Creative Writing MFA program requires 48 credit hours, including:

  • A minimum of 20 credits of writing workshop courses (16 credits of which must be in the chosen thesis-genre)
  • 12 credits of literature courses
  • 12 credits of department electives
  • 4-credit master’s thesis

Students are admitted into the program in a particular genre: poetry, nonfiction, or fiction. Students may explore other genres by using their remaining 4-credit required workshop and elective credits. Students can take courses in any of the following areas: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, or screenwriting.

At the conclusion of their coursework, students submit and defend a manuscript in one genre to be approved by a thesis committee. MFA students must complete at least 16 credits (four courses) of their required 20 credits of workshops in the genre of the thesis. Students are expected to complete the degree requirements within seven years.


Required Workshop Courses

Poetry

Poetry students are required to take 16 credits in any of the following workshops (students may take genre workshops more than once):

WR 605 Poetry Workshop
WR 610 Form in Poetry

Nonfiction

Nonfiction students are required to take 16 credits in any of the following workshops (students may take genre workshops more than once):

WR 613 Nonfiction Workshop
WR 655 Writing the Nonfiction Book
PB 687 Column Writing
PB 676 Magazine Writing
WR 515 Topics in Nonfiction

Fiction

Fiction students are required to take 16 credits in any of the following workshops (students may take genre workshops more than once):

WR 606 Fiction Workshop
WR 607 Advanced Fiction Workshop
WR 652 Novel Workshop
WR 629 Playwriting Workshop
WR 640 Screenwriting Workshop

MFA Thesis

For completion of the MFA degree, students are required to write a thesis of “near publishable” quality. The thesis may consist of a collection of poems, short stories, essays, a script or play, a novel or novel excerpt, or a nonfiction book or excerpt. Minimum required lengths for MFA theses vary according to genre.

It is strongly suggested that the student begin planning the thesis early and develop a work that approaches a publishable book in concept and form. When nearing completion of the program, a student applies for a thesis committee with a chair who works closely with that student to make a work plan, develop the final manuscript, and schedule a thesis defense.