MFA in Creative Writing

Curriculum and Requirements


The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a three-year program combining professional training in creative writing with literary study. Students in this program specialize in fiction or poetry and complete at least 12 units (or 48 hours) of coursework: 5 units of Creative Writing, 2 of Literature, 3 of Electives, and 2 of Final Project.

Below is a summary of the course requirements:


5 Creative Writing units

Four workshops in the appropriate genre (poetry or fiction) over the first four semesters in the program and one craft class the first semester (also in the appropriate genre, poetry or fiction).


2 Literature units

For courses that will satisfy this two-part requirement, start at our departmental course descriptions at the 400- and 500-level. Check under the course title for “Area Requirement” to make sure the course counts as “MFA Literature.” (Literature courses at the 400- and 500-level in other departments on campus may be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in 210 English Building.) A recent change in this requirement is that one of the two literature requirements more broadly defines “literature.” If you would prefer to take a 400- and 500-level courses in subjects like Film, Theory, Performativity, History of the English Language, Anthropology, Art History, and Communications in the School of Agriculture, propose such a course to the Associate Director of Creative Writing, who will seek the Graduate Director’s approval. These two courses are typically taken after the first semester and before the third year.


3 Elective units

Typically one of these Electives is the first-semester EN 593 Pro-Seminar in College Teaching (Composition or Business & Technical Writing), which all first-year students take to supplement their teaching. MFA students who want to work on Ninth Letter satisfy a second Elective requirement by taking CW 560 Literary Publishing & Promotion in the second semester. The third Elective is any 400- or 500-level course on campus. If you’re interested in a course that falls below the 400-level, you can often arrange a 400- or 500-level Independent Study version of it with the instructor.


2 Final Project units

MFA students begin taking Final Project Hours (CW 595, minimum of two units) once an arrangement with a Final Project Advisor has been set up, usually after the third semester.