Mar 18, 2018  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Creative Writing, (MFA)

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MFA Degree Program

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing provides studies in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, along with a variety of options for either a studio degree in Creative Writing, or a degree combining work in either the Department of English or other departments in which course work, or independent study, seems particularly pertinent to the student’s creative thesis. A book-length thesis of publishable quality is required; it will be directed by a member of the MFA faculty. The MFA requires 48 graduate semester hours, with a 3.00 grade point average in all graduate courses.

Admission Requirements

  1. An overall minimum grade point average of 2.75 at the undergraduate level.
  2. An official undergraduate and if applicable graduate transcript sent to Graduate Admissions.
  3. A portfolio of published or unpublished writing samples in the applicant’s chosen genre (at least 20-25 pages of fiction, 10 poems, or 25 pages of nonfiction), demonstrating a potential for development to a professional standard of writing, should be submitted to the English Graduate Office along with two letters of recommendation and a cover letter stating the candidate’s choice of genre and reasons for pursuing the degree. The writing sample will be evaluated by a committee of MFA faculty. The committee will recommend admission of those applicants with the highest demonstrated talent.
  4. Students who wish to change genres after being accepted in one genre, even if they are already registered and enrolled in the program, must submit a new portfolio of work in the new genre and be approved by the MFA faculty for admission in the new genre.
  5. Bachelor’s degree in English or if BA is in another field, twelve (12) semester hours in upper division literature or creative writing courses with a minimum grade point average of 2.75 in these courses.
  6. Graduate Record General Examination (a competitive score on the verbal section is expected).
  7. Deadlines: for best consideration apply by March 1 for the following fall semester admission and October 15 for following spring semester. Applications may be considered later but prospective students applying by those dates have first priority.

MA Credit

Any applicant who holds an MA degree in English may apply up to a maximum of 24 semester hours in English earned for that degree toward the MFA degree, with the approval of the graduate coordinator. A student’s advisor will insure that the combination of MA credits and courses taken in the program has appropriate breadth. Credit previously earned at another institution must be presented for evaluation not later than the end of the student’s second semester of enrollment.

Program Requirements

All students must fulfill the 48-hour degree requirement from the Core Requirements in section 1 in combination with one area of specialization under the Additional Requirements in section 2: the Studio Option, the Literary Studies Option, The Creative/Professional Option, the TESL/TEFL Option, or the Cross-Disciplinary Option.

Core Requirements

Writing Workshops and Forms Courses

A total of 6 courses (18 hours) required:

Four Workshop courses, at least three of which must be in chosen genre:

Cross-Genre Course

ENGL 6610  may serve as a cross-genre course if the focus was on a cross-genre, but the student must submit a portfolio of cross-genre work from the course and get written approval from the Creative Writing Coordinator.

Creative Writing Colloquium

At least two sections of ENGL 7900  must be taken (6 hours).


NOTE: Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.

Comprehensive Exam

A Comprehensive Exam based on a reading list formed by the student and the student’s thesis director.

Oral Review of Thesis


Although it is not a core requirement for the degree, all students receiving a Teaching Assistantship must take ENGL 7003  either before they become a teaching assistant or during their first semester of teaching. It is included as an alternative course in each of the options for additional requirements below.

Specialization Requirements:


Students may take, as an alternative to replace up to 3 of these courses, an equivalent number of other courses (of 3 hours each) from other disciplines within the Department of English (this includes ENGL 7003 , which is a requirement if the student receives a Teaching Assistantship). Note: as stated in the course descriptions, ENGL 7475  and ENGL 7485  can only be counted for a maximum of 6 hours each toward the degree requirements.

Literary Studies Option:

7 courses, 21 hours, made up of the following:

At least 9 hours of Literature Courses

Literary Editing

Up to 6 hours of

Literary Arts Programming

Up to 6 hours of

Creative/Professional Writing Option:

7 courses, 21 hours, made up of the following:


7 courses, 21 hours, made up of the following:

  1. 15 hours in the Certificate Program in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (TESL/TEFL), including 12 hours in the certificate core:
Cross-Disciplinary Option:

7 courses, 21 hours, made up of the following:

  1. Up to 9 hours of English courses from any discipline (includes ENGL 7003 )

  2. At least 12 hours of courses from another department: Art, History, Journalism, Theater, Foreign Languages, or other department in which course work, or independent study, seems particularly pertinent to the student’s creative thesis.

    Up to 9 of the 21 hours may be fulfilled by independent study in another department and/or internship hours, but all cross-disciplinary courses/independent studies/internships must be pre-approved by the coordinator of the Creative Writing program along with another professor in the student’s primary genre. Internships must be of a nature that will allow the student to participate in research that will form the basis of the student’s thesis.


Although taking all 12 hours of the cross-disciplinary minimum in only one other department is not required, it is recommended that the student focus primarily on one area or else have a clear rationale for fulfilling the 12-hour minimum in more than one cross-disciplinary area.

Retention Requirements

Upon entering the MFA program, a student chooses an advisor in his or her concentration. The advisor will monitor the student’s progress toward completion of the degree. Each semester the Graduate Studies Committee will examine the academic progress of all students for retention in the program. If a student receives either two C’s, one D, or one F grade in any English graduate level course, that student will be subject to review and could be dismissed from the program. In order to remain in good standing, all graduate students must maintain a 3.0 average in all courses. Students who are on academic probation for two consecutive semesters will not be allowed to continue in the program.

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