Master of Fine Arts in Fiction and Poetry

The Department of English offers a two-year program with a third-year option in fiction or poetry leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree. The program provides an opportunity for students of superior ability in creative writing to develop their skills and critical judgment through the practice of writing and the study of literature. The primary aim of the program is to nurture the individual’s writing talent; the secondary aim is to prepare students for careers in writing and teaching. Enrollment is kept deliberately small to maximize student/teacher interaction. Degree candidates are expected to produce a book-length work of literary value and publishable quality. Writers and poets who write in English and integrate a second language into their work are especially welcome to apply.

Financial Aid

All MFA candidates receive some form of financial aid. We offer Teaching Assistantships in Creative Writing and/or Freshman Composition (optional) and a small number of Creative Writing Scholarships. Teaching Assistantships include full tuition and a stipend ($15,965 for the 2008-09 academic year). Teaching assistants have the option to teach two sections of Introduction to Creative Writing, one in fall and one in spring, or one section of Creative Writing and one section of Composition during their second year in the program . In their third year, teaching assistants teach two courses and focus on the professional development of publishing, grants, fellowships, and jobs. Please also see Graduate School webpage for other financial aid resources.

Read more about the Michener Fellowships in Creative Writing

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the M.F.A. degree must complete between 36-42 credits. 18 of these are taken in the area of writing specialization. These include workshop courses (12 credits) and thesis (6 credits). The remaining credits are taken in literature and forms/craft classes (12 credits), electives (6 credits), and, for those with a teaching assistantship, a creative writing teaching practicum and the option of taking a second teaching practicum in preparation for teaching composition. Teaching assistants have the option to take one section of workshop or forms either within their concentration or in the other during the third year.

The final thesis must be a book-length manuscript in the student's field of interest. In fiction an approximate one hundred fifty pages are expected; in poetry, fifty. A portfolio is due at the end of the final semester. It consists of a critical paper, a sample of creative work, a self-assessment, and an annotated bibliography.