Each student is required to complete 36 hours of coursework and a successful thesis for the degree. This equates to 12 three-hour courses. Please read our curriculum requirements guide for a complete breakdown and sample schedules.

NOTE: The information found on this website with respect to major/minor/program requirements is directed primarily at providing prospective students a general roadmap of the curriculum.  Current Butler students are expected to review their degree audit report at and speak with their advisor regularly for detailed information regarding their specific degree requirements and their progress toward degree completion. 

Students should plan to take all coursework in person on our Indianapolis campus, and should plan to reside nearby for at least two years. Thesis work may be completed remotely, with permisson.

Students choose to progress through the program at different paces, most in three years. Numerous students have opted to take more time, with the maximum of seven years. The program cannot be completed in less than 6 semesters.

Students choose their electives from among MFA-specific offerings and/or upper-level courses (300-level or above) offered by the English Department. Each semester, the department will highlight and recommend several such courses for MFA students.

After you have completed at least four workshops in your home genre, you may begin thesis work. You will be able to request your thesis advisor and an additional thesis reader from among our tenured and adjunct faculty. You should take your thesis courses over the course of one year. Thesis courses 710 and 711 cannot be taken simultaneously.

The successful thesis consists of a substantial sample of work in the student’s home genre, approved by the thesis advisor and a second faculty reader, successfully defended, and submitted online per University guidelines.

For more details on the thesis timeline, defense, and submission formatting, download the MFA program Thesis Advice & Guidelines document.

The MFA program holds service as one of its founding principles and integral components and requires that all MFA students complete a service project.  Students have a variety of options to fulfill this requirement: working as a reader for Booth or volunteering for Writers in the Schools or for the Wellness Initiative, as just a few examples.

All MFA students are required to read their work in public at least once during the course of their degree program. The reading does not need to be from thesis material, nor must it occur during the thesis year. The program will make several opportunities available, but these do not exclude other public community reading opportunities.

Students who have completed graduate level creative writing courses (or appropriate upper-level literary study) at other universities may apply for transfer credit. These transfer credits will be limited to 6 hours per student and must be approved by the Registrar.

The MFA Director is your academic advisor—the person with whom to consult about registration, degree requirements, et al. But queries about curriculum, what courses to take, what to write, etc., may be directed to any member of the faculty you think most appropriate. For questions or for further information, contact Mindy Dunn.