Prose and Poetry, MFA Poetry Specialization

Students enrolled in the poetry specialization will take workshops solely in poetry and continue to develop their creative and technical skills as both writers and readers. By the end of their coursework, students will have produced a strong body of new work or comprehensively revised a preexisting body of work.


Course Title
Poetry Writing Workshops (7 units)
Poetry Workshop
Teaching Writing (1 unit)
Seminar on Teaching Creative Writing (one unit)
Graduate-level literature courses taken from LIT, ENGLISH, COMP_LIT, or other departments of literary study (3 units)
Electives (2 units)
Special Topics in Creative Writing
Independent Study
Seminar on Journal Publishing
Practicum in Teaching Creative Writing
Practicum in Publishing
Students may take one cross genre course as one of their two electives. Options include:
Fiction Workshop
Popular Fiction Workshop
Creative Non-Fiction Workshop
Poetry for Prose Writers
Prose for Poets
Students may take graduate-level literature courses as electives
Capstone Writing (2 units)
Capstone Preparation and Writing
Capstone Writing & Revision

About the Thesis

The final project of the MFA program is a creative thesis, an original work of high literary merit (judged on the basis of art as well as craft). Prose work should be at least 140 double-spaced pages and no more than 170 pages. Poetic work should be between 35-50 single-spaced pages, with each poem on separate pages. The creative thesis is structured and revised under the supervision of a faculty member (or faculty mentor) and a second reader. The project may be one long piece or a series of shorter pieces. It may include or be an expansion of work written during the student's course of study as long as it represents a culminating effort to shape stories, prose pieces, a long piece, or a group of poems into a coherent, self-sufficient work. This large-scale project supplements the smaller-scale study of craft with the invaluable experience of creating a larger work. And for students who plan to pursue book-length publication after graduation, the master's creative thesis may be the first version of a work in progress. (Note: Students may not take writing workshops alongside thesis.)