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MFA in Prose

Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with an Emphasis in Prose
(a minimum of 44 semester course credits)

Students are admitted in either fiction or creative nonfiction.*

The basic curricular components of this program consist of

  • four graduate writing workshops (16)
  • two craft credits (8)
  • four elective credits (16)
  • thesis credit (4)

All courses must be taken for a grade. Courses taken on a pass/no pass basis may not be used to fulfill any degree requirements.

Writing Workshop Credits (16):
At least three of the four required writing workshops must be ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop. This workshop must be taken in consecutive semesters in 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 required workshops is facilitated through the department. Students are welcome to take more than one workshop per semester on a space-available basis.

Craft Credits (8):
Students are required to take ENG 203 The Craft of Prose in the first semester of study and then one additional semester before graduation. Other craft courses offered in the department may be taken for elective credit.

Electives (minimum of 16 credits):
The 16 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 (lower-division courses do not satisfy graduate degree requirements).

It is assumed that the majority of elective credits will be literature courses or additional craft courses. The Department regularly offers literature course in the novel, short story, young adult fiction, and creative nonfiction. Students are urged to consult their academic 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 (4):
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 department's Blackboard site for more information and procedures.

Suggested Course Sequence for Two-Year Program

Year One

Fall (minimum of 12 credits)

ENG 203 The Craft of Prose one (4)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop one (4)

Elective one (4)

Spring (minimum of 12 credits)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop two (4)

Elective two (4)

Elective three (4)

Year Two

Fall (minimum of 10 credits)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop three (4)

ENG 203 The Craft of Prose or Elective four (4)

ENG 250 Thesis for MFA Degree (2)

Spring (minimum of 10 credits)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop or ENG 270 Graduate Poetry Workshop (4)

ENG 203 The Craft of Prose or Elective four (4)

ENG 250 Thesis for MFA Degree (2)

Suggested course sequence for Three-Year Program

Year One

Fall (maximum of 8 credits)

ENG 203 The Craft of Prose one (4)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop one (4)

Spring (maximum of 8 credits)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop two  (4)

Elective one (4)

Year Two

Fall (maximum of 8 credits)

ENG 203 The Craft of Prose two or Elective two (4)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop three or ENG 270 Graduate Poetry Workshop (4)

Spring (maximum of 8 credits)

Elective two or ENG 203 The Craft of Prose two (4)

Elective three or ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop three or ENG 270 Graduate Poetry Workshop (4)

Year Three

Fall (maximum of 8 credits)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop four or ENG 270 Graduate Poetry Workshop (4)

ENG 250 Thesis for MFA Degree (2)

Spring (maximum of 8 credits)

Elective four (4)

ENG 250 Thesis for MFA Degree (2)

Last Updated: 3/1/16