The MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation is a 36-credit hour program that emphasizes literary craft and the integration of creative writing with literary studies. Course requirements include a class in literary theory and criticism, two craft classes, three literature electives and four writing workshops. Everyone must take one of the four workshops outside of their genre of focus.
Under the guidance of a faculty adviser, each student develops a thesis in the program’s final year: a collection of poetry, prose or the translation of a text. In addition, everyone has a capstone conference to speak about their process. This is arranged with the adviser and second reader of the thesis. Students and faculty alike find this conference a pivotal moment of closure and commencement.
Most students take three years to complete our program, taking two courses each semester and focusing on the thesis in the third year. Other students opt for the more conventional two-year structure, taking three courses a semester.
Our courses are offered in the late afternoons and evenings (primarily at 6:30pm with occasional electives at 4:30) and it is possible to work in the daytime and take classes at night.
The program has two tracks: creative writing and literary translation. Four genres are covered: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and literary translation. Fiction and creative non-fiction are sometimes referred to as “prose.” The course of study centers on writing workshops in which faculty facilitate comments on students’ drafts. Unique to our program: students take three workshops in their own genre and a crossover workshop in another genre; they take two craft classes (one can be in another genre). That stated, most of the craft classes are cross-genre in conception.
Students also take a course in critical theory as well as literature electives that deepen one’s critical vocabulary and expand one’s knowledge of various literary and cultural periods and subjects. The faculty is very available to provide supportive discussion and guidance. Our program is committed to the integration of creative writing and literary studies.
Advisement and the Reading List
Across the course of your study, you will meet with a faculty advisor to construct a reading list. The texts are those that have made an impact on your current work. This list of twenty books, across genres and periods of time, will be a section in your thesis and a topic of discussion during your orals.
You will begin to shape your thesis during your penultimate semester in the thesis workshop along with classmates from other genres. In addition to your creative work, the thesis will include a process paper that describes your creative development. Also, during this fall semester, you will reach out to one of our creative writing faculty members to work with you on your thesis in the spring semester.
At the end of the spring semester, your thesis advisor and a second reader (one of our professors from the creative writing or literature) will meet with you for an hour. This is a remarkable moment when you present your work and these two professors ask questions, comment on your achievements, and discuss what the future holds.