The MFA Degree | Department of English

The MFA Degree

MFA fiction workshop


The MFA Writing Program is designed for full-time residential students. The degree requires thirty-six to forty-eight hours of course work, a thesis (a volume of poems, short stories, or a novel), and a reading from that thesis.

Core Courses

Eighteen to twenty-four hours in writing courses are required, including workshop courses for poetry or fiction and tutorials in writing where students work on-on-one with members of the faculty.

Candidates for the MFA in creative writing take a minimum of four courses in a related academic field, including both Structure of Fiction and Structure of Verse. Other offerings may include creative nonfiction and classes on entrepreneurship, publishing, and literary citizenship. Students usually take their other academic courses in the English Department; however, they may, with the permission of the Director of the program, take graduate level courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, most often courses in languages, media, or film.

The Program’s sequence of editing courses and internships allows students to develop skills in contemporary publishing and hands-on journal editing. Students may also take internships for in-class teaching experience, and strong course offerings in rhetoric and composition offer further training in the teaching of writing.


Six semester hours toward the MFA degree are thesis hours. The thesis may be a novel, a collection of short stories, or a volume of poetry.