Creative Writing, Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Jonathan Johnson/Greg Spatz, Program Directors
The Master of Fine Arts Program is an intensive, two-year, pre-professional course of study with an emphasis on the practice of literature as a fine art. The program includes coursework in the study of literature from the vantage point of its composition and history, but the student’s principal work is done in advanced workshops and in the writing of a book-length thesis of publishable quality in fiction, literary nonfiction or poetry. The MFA is a terminal degree program.
Applicants must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test and submit the following documents with the application form: a writing sample consisting of 10–20 pages of poetry and/or 15–25 pages of prose, an 800-word letter stating the applicant’s reasons for pursuing the MFA and two letters of reference.
Applicants for teaching assistantships must write an additional letter in which they describe their interest in and prior experience with teaching. Applications for Teaching assistantships must be submitted by February 15. Teaching assistantships are awarded in March for the following year. No applicant can be considered for a teaching assistantship until all documentation (completed application, gre scores, writing sample, letters of recommendation and other written materials) has been received.
Note: in order for the department to receive the GRE scores by mid-February, applicants must take the GRE no later than the previous December.
- Students should spend six quarters in residence.
- A student should concentrate in one of the following areas: Poetry, Fiction, Literary Nonfiction. Students, however, are expected to take coursework in areas other than the one in which they concentrate.
- In consultation with a thesis advisor, each student will compile a list of fifteen books to augment the reading done in coursework. A portion of the oral examination, held near the end of each student’s term of study, will be devoted to questions about this list and works covered in required form and theory literature courses.
- Each student must submit a literary thesis of substantial length and publishable quality. The thesis will be reviewed in the oral examination.
|CRWR 517||GRADUATE WRITING WORKSHOP: FICTION, POETRY, LITERARY NONFICTION, DRAMA, SCRIPTWRITING OR TRANSLATION (Note: this course may be repeated for credit; students should take one workshop from outside the major area. )||20|
|Literary Form and Theory Courses|
|Choose one Literature course from outside the major area||5|
|Choose one series–in student’s major area of study||15|
|FICTION I-THE NOVEL|
|FICTION II-THE SHORT FORM|
|FICTION III-THE CONTEMPORARIES|
|LITERARY NONFICTION I–ANCIENT ROOTS THROUGH THE 19TH CENTURY|
|LITERARY NONFICTION II–20TH CENTURY AND BEYOND|
|LITERARY NONFICTION III–SELECTED TOPICS|
|POETRY I-BACKGROUND AND THEORY|
|POETRY II-THE MODERNS AND MODERNISM|
|POETRY III-CONTEMPORARY WORLD POETRY AND POETICS|
|Electives in creative writing, literature and/or a secondary emphasis||17|
|Note: variations are possible following consultation with student’s program advisor.|
Student Learning Outcomes—students will
- develop advanced understanding of the publishing process;
- develop familiarity with advanced formal and technical aspects of foundational literary works from the tradition and selected contemporary works in that genre. This knowledge will be evident both in students’ critical responses and in students’ own creative works;
- demonstrate advanced ability to exercise self-criticism and to offer insightful, supportive and productive criticism to others. Part of this can be construed as students’ development of editorial capacities, but part of it must be the development of a capacity to foster their own and others’ continued artistic development through critical reading.