Writing, MA

Northwestern’s part-time Master of Arts in Writing program requires the completion of 10 courses. Students complete writing workshops, graduate-level literature courses, electives, and a capstone writing course. Students will choose writing workshops and electives depending on the specialization they declare. The Master of Arts in Writing program provides students the opportunity to grow as artists within the specializations of fictionnonfictionpoetry, and popular fiction. A dual-genre specialization is also offered, as well as a publishing and professional development track that combines publishing industry-related instruction with the creative coursework of the writing workshops. 


Course Title
Writing Workshops (3-4 units depending on specialization)
Poetry Workshop
Fiction Workshop
Popular Fiction Workshop
Creative Non-Fiction Workshop
Poetry for Prose Writers
Prose for Poets
Graduate-level literature course taken from LIT, ENGLISH, COMP_LIT, or other departments of literary study (2 units)
Electives (1-4 units depending on specialization)
Special Topics in Creative Writing
Seminar on Teaching Creative Writing
Seminar on Journal Publishing
Practicum in Teaching Creative Writing
Practicum in Publishing
Capstone Writing (1 unit)
Capstone Writing & Revision

About the Thesis

The final project for the MA in Writing 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 75 double-spaced pages and no more than 100 pages. Poetry should be 25 single-spaced pages and no more than 35 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.)