Curriculum for the MFA in Creative Writing Program
Each student is required to complete 36 hours of
coursework and a successful thesis for the degree. This
equates to 12 three-hour courses.
- Four of those courses must be graduate-level workshops in the
student's home genre. These are offered every semester.
- Six must be electives.
- Two must be independent thesis courses with the student's
assigned thesis advisor.
- Students are admitted in a particular genre, and may
not take workshops in another without the approval
of the Director and/or instructor of the course.
- No student may take more than two workshops consecutively in
his or her primary genre without also taking an elective.
- MFA student may take one, but no more than one, 3 hour
independent study while matriculating in the program. Any request
for an independent study must be approved by the MFA Director, and
should not be submitted without a written 1-2 page proposal, and
the approval of a sponsoring faculty member.
The program will also offer graduate-level craft electives in
each genre, either annually or biannually. Each student is required
to take one of these courses in his or her primary genre, and may
More about Electives
Typically, students choose their electives from among
MFA-specific offerings or upper-level courses offered by the
English Department. Each semester, the department will highlight
and recommend several such courses for MFA students - for instance,
courses that focus on the Visiting Writers Series or on topics
especially relevant to students' work in poetry or
prose. However, an elective can be any 300-level or above
course in any department in the University, providing that the
student fulfills the course prerequisites and can justify the
relevance of the course to his or her course of MFA
How Long Will I Be in the Program?
Most students take either one or two courses per semester.
Students may also choose to progress through the program at a
different pace, with consent of the MFA director. It is
not recommended that any student complete the program in less than
two years. Students not completing the program within six
years may face expulsion.
Summer courses are also available.
What about the Thesis?
A student should take his or her thesis courses over the course
of one year. Thesis courses 710 and 711 cannot be
taken simultaneously. No student may enroll in a thesis course (710
or 711) without having completed four workshops in his or her
genre. For those who need to maintain eligibility for student loans
while writing his or her thesis, an elective may be taken
simultaneously with 710 or 711, as long as the focus of said
elective is primarily reading, and not writing.
A student is not required to undertake his/her thesis
immediately after the completion of course work (although a long
layoff is not recommended).
Each student will be provided two readers for his or her
thesis: an advisor, selected from the full-time faculty of the
program, and a reader, a qualified teacher of creative writing not
currently acting as full-time faculty in the program. Students
will be consulted regarding the choice of advisor and reader, but
cannot be guaranteed their first choices.
The successful thesis consists of a substantial sample of work
in the student's home genre, approved by both readers, successfully
defended (this defense will be scheduled at the end of the
student's second thesis course), and submitted in the format
mandated in University guidelines for graduate theses.
Download the MFA program Thesis
Download the MFA program
Thesis Advice & Guidelines document.
What about Service?
Each student will be required to undertake a service or
professional project in the field of creative writing. This
could range from being a reader or editor at Booth to participating in our
Writing in the Schools program, or can be an independent project. A
description of the project should be submitted to, and approved by,
the MFA Director no later than the student's completion of 18 hours
of course work (in other words, for full-time students, by the end
of their third semester).
A short reflective essay on the experience is a degree
requirement, and must be submitted no later than the thesis
And Public Reading?
Every MFA student is required to read his/her work in public at
least once during the course of their degree pursuit. The
program will make opportunities available.
What about Transfer Credit?
Students who have completed graduate level creative writing
courses (or appropriate upper-level literary study) at other
universities may apply for transfer credit for these courses, on
the condition that the courses were part of an incomplete degree
pursuit. These transfer credits will be limited to six hours per
And If I Have Other Questions?
The MFA Director is your administrative advisor - the person
with whom to consult about registration, degree requirements, et
al. But queries about curriculum, about what courses to take,
about what to write, etc., may be directed to any member of the
faculty you think most appropriate. For questions or
for further information, contact Hilene Flanzbaum at (800)
368-6852. ext. 9860.