• MFA: Degree Requirements

    MFA: Degree Requirements


    Core Seminar (4 credits)

    Writing Courses (24 credits)

    • Required Craft Courses (8 credits)
      • Groundings in the Craft: Elements of Fiction / Poetry / Creative Nonfiction
      • Advanced Fiction / Poetry / Creative Nonfiction
    • Topics Courses (16 credits)
      These include The Literary Memoir, The Personal Essay, Lyric Essay, The Novel, Point of View, Slipstream Fiction, The Short Story, Form and Vision in Poetry: Ode & Elegy, Form and Vision in Poetry: The Long Poem & Lyric Sequence, and more.
    • Electives (12 credits)

    Capstone (8 credits)

    • Thesis 1
    • Thesis 2

    The MFA requires a total of 48 credits.


    Core Seminar (4 credits)

The MFA journey begins with a core seminar course, "Writers and Readers, Creators Both."  The course is a reading-intensive examination of the relationship between reading and writing. Students expand their knowledge of the craft of writing and the use of literary texts as guides for their own work. They also learn the value of giving and receiving constructive feedback, and increase their understanding of the creative process and of the relationship between writer and reader. After successful completion of the Core Seminar, and with the recommendation of the Core professor, the student becomes a degree candidate.

    Writing Courses (24 credits)

    MFA students complete six writing courses, one of which must be a fundamentals course covering craft techniques in depth and the second an advanced course in the genre in which the student does his/her thesis.

    Elective Courses (12 credits)

MFA students choose three elective courses to complement their exploration of the writing craft and expand their knowledge of other areas.

    View sampling of Elective courses.

    Mid-Point Advising

    After completion of six courses, MFA students meet with their faculty advisor to discuss their goals and progress in the program. They consider the student's plan for thesis, including the choice of genre(s), prospective thesis advisors, and time line for completion of degree requirements.


    The MFA Capstone is a two-part process, Thesis 1 and Thesis 2 respectively. Each is one semester long.

    • Thesis 1 requires a completed draft of the envisioned work. During this phase, students work with their primary advisor on content, craft, and process. At the end of Thesis 1, the student and primary advisor meet to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the work and to discuss revisions.
    • Students then register for Thesis 2 in which they revise the draft into a work of acceptable literary quality that shows mastery of the craft. The primary advisor reads and critiques the final draft, as does an outside reader selected by the student. Students also are required to write an artist’s statement in which they discuss their process and goals in writing the thesis and explore the subjects and themes contained therein.