MFA Curriculum

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fiction and Nonfiction - Designed to Nurture Your Writing

Our two-year program includes mentored courses that allow you to write from home and be part of a supportive MFA writing community, both online and during twice-yearly residency programs.

During these two years, students work toward completing their creative thesis, a book-length manuscript of publishable quality, turning in monthly submissions to their mentors, and receiving detailed feedback via correspondence and conferencing.

Each semester, students work with their individual faculty mentors in developing reading lists. Students read approximately two books a month, focusing their attention on craft analysis. Every part of the curriculum is designed to advance the writer in his/her skills and understanding of the writing craft, and toward helping the student with his/her final thesis.

Upon completion of the program, students will have earned a 60-credit graduate degree, which is considered ''a terminal degree'' in creative writing. The MFA degree prepares students and qualifies them for applying for college teaching positions.

Master of Fine Arts Courses

Workshop Courses

Students select either the Fiction or Nonfiction track. Each of the workshop courses, worth 12 credits each, is a five-month, mentored correspondence course.

Fiction:

MFA-510: MFA Workshop: Fiction Writing I
Fiction Writing I is a course designed to help the student entering the MFA program in fiction grasp the central principles of writing fiction. Students will submit to the instructor every five weeks 10-25 pages of manuscript, double-spaced, 12 point font, with pagination. In addition, and on a schedule established with the instructor, students will submit three polished fiction writing exercises throughout the semester and ten short essays, each on one book in a reading list compiled by the mentor in consultation with the student. By the end of the course the student should have completed between 30 and 80 pages of polished fictional prose (prose well beyond the first or second draft) and 30 pages of polished fiction exercises.
MFA-511: MFA Workshop: Fiction Writing II
Fiction Writing II is designed to extend a student's understanding of the essential principles of writing excellent fiction. As in Fiction Writing I, students will submit to the instructor every five weeks 10-25 pages of manuscript, double-spaced, in 12 point font, with pagination. In addition, and on a schedule established with the instructor, students will submit three polished fiction writing exercises throughout the semester and ten short essays, each on one book in a reading list compiled by the mentor in consultation with the student. By the end of the course the student should have completed a total of between 60 and 160 pages of polished fictional prose (prose well beyond the first or second draft) and 60 pages of polished fiction exercises.
Prerequisites:
MFA-510
MFA-512: Graduate Fiction Workshop III
Fiction Writing Workshop III builds on the foundations lain in the previous year (two writers' residencies and two six-month faculty-mentored courses, MFA 510 and 511). In this course, students will write a 10- 15-page close-reading essay on a single work of fiction (a novel, story, or story collection) and continue work on their manuscript pages, which by now should start to take the form of a thesis to be turned in at the end of fourth semester. The student should have completed between 90 and 240 manuscript pages by the end of this course.
Prerequisites:
MFA-511
MFA-513: Graduate Fiction Workshop IV
Fiction Writing Workshop IV completes the sequence of four residencies and four mentored semester of reading, critical analysis, writing and participation in workshops, lectures and public readings. In order to graduate, the student will turn in a final thesis of 100 to 300 manuscript pages, either a novel, a collection of stories, or a self-contained section of a novel.
Prerequisites:
MFA-512

Non-Fiction:

MFA-520: Master of Fine Arts Workshop: Nonfiction Writing I
Nonfiction Writing I is a course designed to help the student entering the MFA program in nonfiction grasp the central principles of writing professional-quality nonfiction. Students will submit to the instructor every five weeks 10-25 pages of manuscript, double-spaced, 12 point font, with pagination. In addition, and on a schedule established with the instructor, students will submit three polished nonfiction writing exercises throughout the semester and ten short essays, each on one book in a reading list compiled by the mentor in consultation with the student. By the end of the course the student should have completed between 30 and 80 pages of polished nonfictional prose (prose well beyond the first or second draft) and 30 pages of polished nonfiction exercises.
MFA-521: Master of Fine Arts Workshop: Nonfiction Writing II
Nonfiction Writing II is designed to extend a student's understanding of the essential principles of writing excellent fiction. As in Nonfiction Writing I, students will submit to the instructor every five weeks 10-25 pages of manuscript, double-spaced, in 12 point font, with pagination. In addition, and on a schedule established with the instructor, students will submit three polished nonfiction writing exercises throughout the semester and ten short essays, each on one book in a reading list compiled by the mentor in consultation with the student. By the end of the course the student should have completed a total of between 60 and 160 pages of polished nonfictional prose (prose well beyond the first or second draft) and 60 pages of polished nonfiction exercises.
Prerequisites:
MFA-520
MFA-522: Graduate Nonfiction Workshop III
Nonfiction Writing Workshop III builds on the foundations lain in the previous year (two writers' residencies and two six-month faculty-mentored courses, MFA 520 and 521). In this course, students will write a 10- 15-page close-reading essay on a single work of nonfiction (a memoir, work of literary journalism, creative essay, or essay collection) and continue work on their manuscript pages, which by now should start to take the form of a thesis to be turned in at the end of fourth semester. The student should have completed between 90 and 240 manuscript pages by the end of this course.
Prerequisites:
MFA-521
MFA-523: Graduate Nonfiction Workshop IV
Nonfiction Writing Workshop IV completes the sequence of four residencies and four mentored semesters of reading, critical analysis, writing and participation in workshops, lectures and public readings. In order to graduate, the student will turn in a final thesis of 100 to 300 manuscript pages, either a memoir, a work of literary journalism, a collection of essays, or a self-contained section of a memoir or work of literary journalism.
Prerequisites:
MFA-522

Residency Program Requirements

With each of the four residencies, students complete a 3-credit course requirement.

MFA-501: Summer Residency I
MFA-502: Winter Residency I
MFA-503: Summer Residency II
MFA-504: Winter Residency II

Our Master of Fine Arts residency program provides inspiring experiences that allow you to immerse yourself in a writer's life.