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Academic Information

If you go to a school where there are classes in writing, these classes should not be to teach you how to write, but to teach you the limits and possibilities of words and the respect due them.  One thing that is always with the writer—no matter how long he has written or how good he is—is the continuing process of learning how to write.

—Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program* is designed for students who are enrolled full time so they can complete the degree requirements in two years. They will need a minimum of 39 credit hours with an average of ”B” or better, with 12 hours of coursework in the MFA core workshops in a primary genre emphasis (either fiction or poetry), a thesis (a volume of poems, short stories or a novel) and an oral defense. Students will select either a studio or an arts management emphasis.

Those choosing to pursue the studio emphasis will follow the traditional MFA model of workshops and literature courses, as well as electives in creative writing, to prepare them for a life in letters, a life borne out of our intense desire to understand and to create, and to share what it is we have found in what we have made. The studio emphasis will also provide training in the history and traditions associated with writing, theoretical and formal approaches to the craft, and intensive peer and faculty feedback.

Students in the arts management emphasis will, along with workshops, literature courses and the creative writing elective, take courses through the graduate program in arts management in management, organization, decision-making and problem-solving in the areas of fundraising, financial management, marketing/audience development, artistic and educational programming, policy, governance, and volunteer management, all as a mean to prepare for the fact that jobs for MFAs don't always have to be in the academy, but can oftentimes be found in the creative economy.

And both emphases will teach students the limits and possibilities of words and the respect due them.

It is an uneasy lot at best to be what we call highly taught and yet not to enjoy: to be present at this great spectacle of life and never be liberated from a small hungry shivering self—never to be fully possessed by the glory we behold, never to have our consciousness rapturously transformed into the vividness of a thought, the ardour of a passion, the energy of an action, but always to be scholarly and uninspired, ambitious and timid, scrupulous and dimsighted.

—George Eliot, Middlemarch

MFA Program Course Descriptions

ENGL 564: MFA Workshop in Poetry (3 credits)
The core writing workshop for graduate students admitted to the MFA Creative Writing Program in poetry is devoted to imaginative work by class members. The course will explore the craft techniques and revision strategies for writing poetry.

ENGL 565: MFA Workshop in Fiction (3 credits)
The core writing workshop for graduate students admitted to the MFA Creative Writing Program in fiction is devoted to imaginative work by class members. The course will explore the craft techniques and revision strategies for writing the short story and novel.

ENGL 566: Elements of Form and Craft in Poetry (3 credits)
This MFA graduate course on the craft and form of poetry will explore the aesthetics, rhetorical tropes, theories, and generic conventions of poetry by way of contemporary works, form handbooks, scholarship, and poetics essays. The subject for each course will be announced.

ENGL 567: Elements of Form and Craft in Fiction (3 credits)
This MFA graduate course on the craft and form of fiction will explore the aesthetics, rhetorical tropes, theories, and generic conventions of fiction by way of contemporary works, form handbooks, scholarship, and essays. The subject for each course will be announced.

ENGL 568: Reading for Writers (3 credits)
A reading-intensive course with the aim of introducing students to twentieth- and twenty-first century texts. Students will study how the text works, why it is successful and will acquire new techniques for their writing. The subject for each course will be announced.

ENGL 706: Crazyhorse Publishing Practicum (3 credits)
A practicum in literary publishing in which students participate in experiential learning with Crazyhorse. Students learn editing skills and generate publishing credit by writing reviews or conducting author interviews. Students learn the basics, such as manuscript acquisition, magazine distribution, and other business practices.