Professor Janice N. Harrington with an MFA student

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a three-year program combining professional training in creative writing with literary study. Students in this program specialize in fiction or poetry and complete at least 12 units (or 48 hours) of coursework as follows:

  • 5 Creative Writing units—Four workshops in the appropriate genre (poetry or fiction) over the first four semesters in the program and one craft class the first semester (also in the appropriate genre, poetry or fiction).
  • 2 Literature units—For courses that will satisfy the Category 1 literature requirement, consult our departmental course descriptions at the 400- and 500-level for a given semester. Any course listed there, including those cross-listed with other departments, will count for the first of the two literature requirements. (Literature courses at the 400- and 500-level in other departments on campus may be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in 210 English Building. Propose the course first to the Associate Director of Creative Writing). While the Category 2 literature requirement can be satisfied the same way the Category 1 is, Category 2 more broadly defines "literature."  If you would prefer to satisfy Category 2 by taking a 400- or 500-level course in a subject that will aid your study of writing, propose such a course to the Associate Director of Creative Writing, who will seek the Graduate Director's approval.  These two courses are typically taken after the first semester and before the third year.
  • 3 Elective units—Typically one of these Electives is the first-semester EN 593 Pro-Seminar in College Teaching (Composition or Business & Technical Writing), which all first-year students take to supplement their teaching. MFA students who want to work on Ninth Letter satisfy a second Elective requirement by taking CW 560 Literary Publishing & Promotion in the second semester. The third Elective is any 400- or 500-level course on campus. If you’re interested in a course that falls below the 400-level, you can often arrange a 400- or 500-level Independent Study version of it with the instructor.
  • 2 Final Project units—MFA students begin taking Final Project Hours (CW 595, minimum of two units) once an arrangement with a Final Project Advisor has been set up, usually after the third semester.