The Master of Arts in Creative Writing is an advanced program that offers degree tracks in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction with an optional thematic strand in war literature and writing for veterans. Students are admitted to the program in one of the three genres. The core requirements are the same for all students in the program. Students will have individualized reading lists and writing assignments in their semester course work. Students who complete the program will be eligible to pursue a terminal degree, such as a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing or a Doctorate of Philosophy in the humanities—for example, English or creative writing—or degrees in education, law, or journalism.
The program is designed to be completed in two calendar years and requires 36 credit hours of coursework. Students attend three eight-day summer residency courses (nine credit hours) at University campus; the fall and spring semester of year one, they take two online courses (six credit hours). Year two consists of two courses (six credit hours) in the fall; the spring semester consists of three courses (three credit hours each).
The M.A. curriculum requires completion of three separate eight-day residencies on the University campus during the summer. All other courses are 14-week online, mentored courses. Students are to maintain continuous enrollment in the program until the thesis authoring process is complete, until they withdraw from the program, or until five academic years have elapsed, beginning with enrollment in the first course of the program.
The low-residency M.A. expects to welcome students who are self-motivated, disciplined, and committed to the rigors of graduate-level study. The program is a blend of writing and literary studies, with an emphasis on individualized instruction. Semester study plans are determined collaboratively between students and faculty mentors and tailored according to the genre (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) of study. In literary studies courses, students will read canonical and contemporary pieces from the writer's perspective and write short critical essays; in creative writing courses students will generate original writing, workshop (peer and mentor review) various genres, and hone technique. Some graduates will enter the program with no expectation of pursuing further advanced degrees or traditional academic careers. Some will already be immersed in careers that may or may not be linked to the creative arts. Some will wish to wholeheartedly pursue the writing life. Therefore, when discussing outcomes for our students, we keep in mind that each will choose a different career and artistic path.
Program graduates will be able to:
- Produce a substantial body of original creative work that is of publishable quality.
- Demonstrate an understanding of various forms and structures of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
- Critically analyze literature, making connections between texts, authors, and historical periods of the works.
- Closely read and demonstrate an understanding of the historical context, literary influences, and traditions of canonical and modern/postmodern prose narratives and poems.
- Thoughtfully engage with the workshop process of peer critique.
- Demonstrate knowledge of editing and revision techniques.
- Articulate their understanding of literary/critical theory through informal discussion, examination, and performance in a series of formal written and oral projects.
- Generate original scholarship on the literary texts explored in this program.