MFA Degree Structure

UAA's Creative Writing & Literary Arts MFA program always begins in with the summer semester and requires nine courses (45 credits) over a three-year period. Each course is five credits and one course per semester is considered a full-load. It is estimated that the student's academic work will amount to 15-20 hours of work weekly.

Students are required to attend the entire duration of three Residencies. At the fourth Residency, students are only expected to attend on the day they deliver their colloquium.

  • MFA Schedule

    First Year

    Summer
    Fall
    Spring

    Second Year

    Summer
    Fall
    Spring

    Third Year

    Summer
    Fall
    Spring

    Fourth Year

    Final Summer

     

    Total Credits 

    Course Title

    The Graduate Writer's Workshop 
    Studies in Form & Theory
    Studies in Form & Theory

    Course Title

    The Graduate Writer's Workshop 
    Thesis
    Thesis

    Course Title

    The Graduate Writer's Workshop 
    Thesis
    Thesis

    Course Title

    Thesis Defense and Colloquium

    Credits

    5.0
    5.0
    5.0

    Credits

    5.0
    5.0
    5.0

    Credits

    5.0
    5.0
    5.0

    Credits

    0.0

     

    45.0

  • Literary Practicum

    We want students to use their talents in a way that engages the world beyond the written page.  In the spring semester of their second year, students undertake their Literary Practicum.  The Practicum offers students practical experience in writing, publishing, teaching, arts administration, or any pursuit that encourages creativity and initiative. 

    Reading (2)

    Possible projects could include:

    • working on literary magazines;
    • attending or presenting at literary writing conferences;
    • collaborating with other artists or scholars on projects;
    • producing or editing a publication;
    • teaching writing workshops or courses;
    • developing curricula for classroom use;
    • undertaking extensive research projects related to their creative work.

    The practicum is flexible enough to allow students to parcel the five credit requirement among different options, including attendance at the annual Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference held in Homer, Alaska each June.

  • MFA Handbook
    For more detailed information about how the MFA is structured, please review the MFA Handbook.
  • Catalog Information
    Catalog Information

    The Creative Writing and Literary Arts program housed in the Department of English offers a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Literary Arts through a low-residency program. The MFA is a professional degree that prepares students for various careers, including those involving professional writing, teaching and editing. The MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Arts combines mentorships with a residency period of approximately 12 days held on campus each summer. The residency session includes all faculty and students in an intensive schedule of workshops, classes, presentations and readings. Students and mentors then conduct coursework at a distance during fall and spring semesters. Mentors include core faculty members and associate faculty who are established teachers and writers. Residency sessions also feature annual guests from other disciplines, including scientists, artists, musicians, cultural leaders and scholars. Students participate in three residency sessions as part of their workshop credits. During a fourth residency, they present a colloquium and give a public reading.

    The program offers a studio model that balances the study and practice of craft, and the study of form and theory. Students are accepted into a particular genre: fiction, literary nonfiction or poetry and will concentrate their studies in that genre. During mentorships, students produce original works of literature as well as critical analyses of books chosen in collaboration with the mentor. The program offers — but is not limited to — special emphasis on writing about the relationships between people and place, landscape, nature, science, and the arts, regardless of where these relationships exist or how they are expressed. In their final year, students prepare and present a thesis that includes a book-length work of original creative writing, a thesis essay and an annotated bibliography. Through completion of the coursework and the thesis, students develop and demonstrate an understanding of the history, traditions, theory and contemporary issues in their genre and are able to situate their own work within that genre; articulate and demonstrate craft elements in their creative work; and develop and demonstrate the skills necessary for professional employment in literary fields such as writing, teaching and editing.

    Admission Requirements

    Satisfy the Admission Requirements for Graduate Degrees.

    In addition, at the time of application, students must submit the following to the Creative Writing and Literary Arts Program through UAOnline.

    • Personal essay (see the department website for topic and detailed instructions).
    • List of references, including email addresses; no need to send reference letter.
    • Creative work: your best work

      Fiction — One story (15 pages or less) or a chapter of a novel accompanied by a brief synopsis
      Poetry — Ten pages of poetry, no more than one poem to a page
      Literary nonfiction — Fifteen pages or less of an essay, memoir or other creative work of nonfiction.

    Please see the CWLA website for the most current and detailed application instructions.

    All materials must be received by January 15 for earliest consideration for admission into the program. Summer admission only.

    Admission will depend upon the evaluation of the entire application packet, with emphasis placed on the creative work.

    Graduation Requirements

    Program Requirements

    Complete 15 credits in the student’s chosen genre from the following:15
    Graduate Writer's Workshop: Poetry
    Graduate Writer's Workshop: Fiction
    Graduate Writer's Workshop: Literary Nonfiction
    Complete a minimum of 15 credits:15
    Studies in Form and Theory *
    Complete 5 credits of:5
    Literary Practicum
    Complete 10 additional course credits (CWLA A690 or CWLA A699) to produce a book-length creative work, annotated bibliography, and thesis essay.:10
    Total45

    Successful presentation of thesis in colloquium is also required.

    A total of 45 credits is required for the degree.

 

For information on your thesis, graduation, graduate forms, and more, please visit the Graduate School website.

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