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Course Requirements

MFA students earn a total of 60 credits. These credits typically appear as follows:

  • Writing Workshops (27 credits)

  • Modern & Contemporary Requirement (9 credits)

  • Thesis Credits (6 credits)

  • Individualized Study (18 credits)

Writing Workshops (27 credits)

Writing workshops (English 780 & 781) comprise almost half of the required credits for the MFA degree and are the cornerstone of the MFA experience. Topics and structure vary. Students are encouraged to take workshops with different faculty in order to gain a variety of perspectives on one’s work and also to give basis for selecting one’s thesis committee. Typically these credits are comprised of four workshops in your genre and one workshop outside of your concentration.

Modern & Contemporary Literature Requirements (9 credits)

Students complete a minimum of 3 courses (9 credit hours) in Modern and Contemporary poetry and fiction; Contemporary and Modern in your genre; one or the other outside of your genre. In general, “Modern” is considered  poetry and fiction written prior to 1960; “contemporary” is 1960 to the present. These are suggested parameters. Ultimately whether or not a course fulfills a particular requirement is up to discretion of the program director in consultation with the MFA faculty.

Thesis Credits (6 credits)

Students typically enroll for thesis credits during their third year. These credits are designed to give you time for writing.  These credits can be used to fulfill full-time status, or for other requirements in consultation with the thesis director. A maximum of 6 thesis credits may be counted towards your degree. Credits may be taken all at once or split up by semester (3/Fall, 3/Spring).

Individualized Study (18 credits)

The remaining 18 credits can include graduate coursework in other departments or programs. Students may also pursue individualized concentrations. Some examples include, but are not limited to, literary history and aesthetics, interdisciplinary studies, translation, publishing, arts administration, and the practice of teaching. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of opportunities the University and the Five Colleges has to offer. You are encouraged to explore and propose internships that interest you and further your art or professional identity. The Program supports unique opportunities for writers to participate in accredited applied literary arts internships with literary journals and presses, community arts projects, local schools, libraries, and other organizations.