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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.

Note: 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 workshops in the new genre of study which may extend their total number of semesters in the program. Students should check the department’s Blackboard site for more information and procedures.

Craft Credits (8):
Students are required to take ENG 203 The Craft of Prose consecutively during their first two semesters of study. 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. It is assumed that the majority of elective credits will be literature courses or additional craft courses. The Department regularly offers literature or craft courses in the novel, short story, young adult fiction, as well as more specialized workshops in young adult fiction, and writing for performance, which may also be taken for elective credit when offered. Students are urged to consult their academic advisor about which electives would be most useful for their course of study.

  • No more than two upper division undergraduate courses (100-level) may be used to satisfy the elective credit requirement (lower-division courses do not satisfy any graduate degree requirements).
  • No more than four elective credits may be satisfied through Independent Study (ENG 295).
  • No more than one workshop may be used to satisfy the elective credit requirement.

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.

Thesis Credit (4):
ENG 250 is the two-semester course that is typically completed in the final year of study and must be taken consecutively from fall to spring. 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.

Suggested Course Sequence for full-time study

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 203 The Craft of Prose two (4)

ENG 268 Graduate Prose Workshop two (4)

Elective two (4)

Year Two

Fall (minimum of 10 credits)

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

Elective three (4)

ENG 250 Thesis for MFA Degree (2)

Spring (minimum of 10 credits)

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

Elective four (4)

ENG 250 Thesis for MFA Degree (2)

Students attending part time (with Department approval) should discuss the best sequence of course work with their advisors.

Last Updated: 6/9/17