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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

It is an implicit assumption of the MFA degree in creative writing that an education in and understanding of the tradition of the genre in which the student writes is a necessary component in the eventual success of that student's creative endeavor. Toward this end, the MFA student in creative writing will be required to take an approximately equal number of literature and creative writing courses as well as to pass a written examination over the traditional and contemporary areas of study in the student's chosen genre.

The requirements for completion of the MFA in Creative Writing are more demanding than for the MA in English, Concentration in Creative Writing. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a terminal degree that prepares students to write and to teach. It is also the degree that provides students an excellent foundation if they choose to continue their graduate work at the doctoral level. Upon attaining the MFA degree, students will have acquired a productive specific knowledge of their chosen genre/area of specialization (either poetry or fiction).

The MFA student must complete satisfactorily at least 48 hours of graduate coursework. Any student who receives more than one C during his or her program will be dropped from the MFA program. The coursework must include the following:

  • 15 to 21 hours of Engl 8020 (Poetry Writing) or 8030 (Fiction Writing);
  • 15 to 21 hours of English and American literature and/or folklore;
  • 3 hours of Engl 8160 (Form and Theory of Literary Craft) in the studentís chosen genre;
  • 3 hours of Engl 8201 (Contemporary Poetry) or Engl 8202 (Contemporary Fiction Craft); and
  • 6 hours of 8999 (Thesis Research).
Students who enter the MFA program with an MA in English or creative writing must satisfy a different set of course requirements totaling 36 hours:
  • 15 to 18 hours of Engl 8020 (Poetry Writing) or 8030 (Fiction Writing);
  • 6 to 9 hours of English and American literature and/or folklore;
  • 3 hours of Engl 8160 (Form and Theory of Literary Craft) in the studentís chosen genre;
  • 3 hours of Engl 8201 (Contemporary Poetry) or Engl 8202 (Contemporary Fiction Craft); and
  • 6 hours of Engl 8999 (Thesis Research).
Before students can take the MFA examination, they must have completed all coursework and the foreign language requirement. The MFA examination is a two-part written test based on a reading list available to students when they enter the program. The examination will be administered in two four-hour sessions on separate days. A student may take this exam in either spring or fall semester. Students must give the Director of Graduate Studies written notification of their intention to take the examination by the departmental deadline. Each examination will be graded by at least three faculty members who will not be informed of the identity of the examinee.

The MFA thesis must be a minimum of 50 pages long for a manuscript of poems or a minimum of 150 pages for a manuscript of prose fiction. It must include an introduction or an afterword in which the student discusses his or her approaches, styles, methods, and influences. After students have completed initial work on the manuscript, they will meet with their committee to edit the thesis. By the time the thesis is completed, a student must have registered for at least six hours of Engl 8999 (Thesis Research).