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MFA in Poetry
Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with an Emphasis in Poetry
(a minimum of 11 semester course credits)

The basic curricular components of this program consist of

  • four writing workshops (4)
  • two craft credits (2)
  • four elective credits (4)
  • thesis credit (1)

Writing Workshop Credits (4):
At least three of the four required writing workshops must be in poetry. Two of the required poetry workshops  must be taken consecutively during the first year. All workshop credits must be taken at the graduate level (200) to fulfill this requirement. The department recommends that students work with several different instructors, as exposure to varied perspectives is crucial to one's development as a writer. Registration for workshops is facilitated through the department. Students are welcome to take more than one workshop per semester on a space-available basis.

Craft Credits (2):
Students are required to take ENG 204 The Craft of Poetry in each of their first two semesters.

Electives (4):
The 4 elective credits can be any graduate-level (200) or upper-division undergraduate (100) course offered by the College for academic credit. Note: Only two upper division undergraduate courses may count towards graduate degree requirements.

It is assumed that the majority of electives will be literature courses or additional craft courses. The Department regularly offers literature courses in contemporary poetry such as Listening to Reading, Poets of Color, and Queer Poetics. Students are urged to consult with their advisor about which electives would be most useful for their course of study.

More specialized workshops in young adult fiction, writing for magazines, and writing for performance, which may also be taken for elective credit when offered. Note: No more than one workshop may be used to satisfy the elective credit requirement. Courses taken outside the department in Music, Intermedia Arts, Book Art, Ethnic Studies, and Literary and Cultural Studies may also be taken to fulfill elective credits.

Students interested in teaching in the future may want to take ENG 272 Theories and Strategies of Teaching Writing or ENG 271 Theories of Creativity and the Teaching of Creative Writing. Students who are awarded a graduate assistantship, either in the Writing Center or in the ENG 001 classroom, are required to take ENG 272.

Students may also gain teaching experience through a Mills classroom TA practicum (ENG 277). Off-campus teaching, publishing internships, or other professional experience can also be taken for practicum credit (ENG 297). Both courses may only be taken on a pass/no pass basis and may not be used to fulfill any degree requirements. However, these courses will appear on student transcripts as official record of valuable classroom and other professional experience, mentoring, and training.

Note: No more than one elective credit may be satisfied through Independent Study (ENG 295).

Thesis Credit (1):
ENG 250 is the two-semester course that is typically completed in the final year of study. The course does not have an assigned class period but requires regular meetings between the student and the thesis director. Students will submit their choices for thesis directors and readers and the department will finalize thesis committee assignments at the beginning of the final year of study. Please see the department's Blackboard site for full thesis schedule and guidelines.

*While students may apply to switch creative writing genres while they are in the MFA program, they should keep in mind that if their application is approved by the department, they are still required to take the three required workshop credits in the new genre of study which might extend their total number of semesters in the program. Students should contact the English Department Chair, MFA Programs for more information and procedures.

Last Updated: 2/10/15