The Thesis

If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.

—Toni Morrison


For completion of the MFA degree, all students are required to write and revise a creative thesis of “near publishable” quality. The MFA thesis is a sustained piece of imaginative writing of literary merit. The thesis may consist of a collection of poems, short stories, a novella, a novel or a novel excerpt. Typically, a thesis for poetry is 48-64 pages and for prose fiction is at least 100 pages.

MFA students enroll in thesis hours (6 credits) during the fall and spring semesters of their second year of study. Students work with a set MFA thesis advisor and select a second reader from the English / Creative Writing graduate faculty whose expertise aligns with the student’s creative work. The MFA student and the thesis advisor will meet as necessary during the academic year to discuss and evaluate the student’s ongoing writing and revising progress.

At the beginning of the academic year, the MFA Program Director determines an internal thesis deadline (typically around March 15th) for students to turn in their complete thesis manuscripts to their thesis committee and then to prepare for the oral defense, which are typically held in April.  After the thesis defense, MFA students must format their manuscript according to the Graduate School’s thesis guidelines and submit it to the Graduate School for approval.