Program Summary

Our online MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing is designed to help you develop your skills in writing stories with an eye to genres such as romance, fantasy, science-fiction, horror, mystery, thrillers, and young adult, while learning the history of the genres and learn the preliminary steps to publish your work, either through the traditions editor/ publisher model or through the popular self-publishing models.

Students will develop their creative writing skills as they create, revise, and collaborate on manuscripts.

Students will read and analyze literature with the goal of gaining an understanding of the history of various genres of popular fiction, in addition to their context within the fields of literature and creative writing.

Students will explore the variety of opportunities for publication and understand the benefits and limitations of each for the contemporary writer.

Students will demonstrate the ability to produce and market a body of writing that reflects an understanding of the literature and the marketplace.

Students will collaborate with one another to edit and help develop their creative work.



The MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing program requires 36 credit hours, including:

  • 16 credits of writing workshop
  • 8 credits of literature courses
  • 8 credits of publishing courses
  • 4-credit master’s thesis

Required Courses

Students are required to take 16 credits in any of the following workshop classes:

Number Course Credits
PF 610 Writing Workshop in Popular Fiction 4
PF 611 Topics in Writing Workshop in Popular Fiction 4

Students may have the option to take on-campus workshops for credit in the Summer semester, with special permission from the Graduate Program Director.

Students are required to take 8 credits in any of the following literature seminar classes. Students may take PF 616 more than once. In certain cases, WR 600: Teaching College Composition may be taken on campus in place of one literature class.


Number Course Credits
PF 615 Seminar in Popular Fiction 4
PF 616 Topics in the History of Popular Forms 4

Students are required to take 8 credits of the following publishing courses:


Number Course Credits
PF 630 Introduction to the Publishing Process for Writers 4
PF 631 Topics in Writing and Publishing 4

MFA Thesis

For completion of the MFA degree, students are required to write a polished long-form narrative that is ready to be digitally published or sent out for consideration from agents or popular fiction houses. The thesis will consist of a novel or a novel excerpt that is a minimum of 100 pages with a 3-4 page synopsis. When nearing completion of the program, a student applies for a thesis committee, and works closely with the chair of that committee to develop the final manuscript and schedule an online defense of the thesis.

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.