Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

About

Our MFA graduate curriculum provides an intensive, two-year, pre-professional course of study with an emphasis on the practice of literature as a fine art.

While it follows a studio-based model, the program is also intellectually rigorous, and includes course work in the study of literature from the vantage point of its composition and history. The student’s principal work is done in advanced workshops and in the writing of a book-length thesis of publishable quality in fiction or poetry.

Curriculum & Requirements

Creative Writing, Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

As of Fall 2021, we are no longer admitting students wishing to pursue an MFA degree with a focus in creative nonfiction. We will, however, continue offering graduate workshops and form and theory classes in creative nonfiction.

Required Courses20
GRADUATE WRITING WORKSHOP: FICTION, POETRY, LITERARY NONFICTION, DRAMA, SCRIPTWRITING OR TRANSLATION (Note: this course may be repeated for credit; students are encouraged to take one workshop from outside the major.)
Literary Form and Theory Courses
Choose one Literature course from outside the major area5
Choose one series–in student’s major area of study 15
Fiction
FICTION I-THE NOVEL
FICTION II-THE SHORT FORM
SELECTED TOPICS IN CRAFT
Poetry
POETRY I-BACKGROUND AND THEORY
POETRY II-THE MODERNS AND MODERNISM
POETRY III-CONTEMPORARY WORLD POETRY AND POETICS
Electives in creative writing, literature and/or a secondary emphasis 20-25
Note: Elective credits are typically taken in the following classes but may include additional CRWR 517 workshop and form and theory classes as well as repeat sections of CRWR 539 or CRWR 596, or any class above the 400-level offered at the university, with approval.
LITERARY EDITING AND DESIGN
PRACTICUM: WILLOW SPRINGS MAGAZINE, LITERARY EDITING AND DESIGN
PRACTICUM: WILLOW SPRINGS BOOKS, LITERARY EDITING AND DESIGN
SPECIAL TOPICS
LITERATURE OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
EXPERIMENTAL COURSE
PRACTICUM IN INSTRUCTION: WRITERS IN THE COMMUNITY
COMPOSITION PEDAGOGIES: THEORIES AND PRACTICES
PRACTICUM: TEACHING FIRST-YEAR COMPOSITION
Thesis–minimum is 10 credits for graduation10-15
THESIS
Minimum Credits Required For Graduation72

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Professional Practicum

As a student in the MFA at EWU, you’ll have the opportunity to serve in professional practica throughout the community. Whether you’re interested in writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, we have something for you. Programs include:

  • Writers In The Community, in which students teach creative writing in schools, retirement communities, children’s hospitals, homeless centers, correctional facilities, etc.;
  • Willow Springs, in which students edit and publish our nationally-acclaimed literary journal;
  • Willow Springs Books, in which students work for our literary press to publish the winning volume of a national fiction competition; and
  • Get Lit!, in which students learn arts administration through work on Eastern Washington University’s annual literary festival.

Learn more about Professional Practicum Opportunities

MFA Workshops

MFA workshops in each genre are small (generally between ten and fifteen students) and are offered every term. The literature requirement consists of three Form & Theory courses (per genre) focusing on historical and contemporary works. These graduate courses are taught by Creative Writing faculty and are designed to make the study of literature of maximum value to the aspiring writer (rather than scholar or critic).

In order for MFA students to broaden their skills and benefit from exposure to a wider variety of perspectives, all are required to take one workshop and one literature class outside their genre. Additional Creative Writing elective courses are offered each year and have recently included Literature of the Northwest, Surrealism in Poetry, Beyond Realism in Fiction, Imagination and Wilderness, and Studies in the Novella.

Typically, students complete the MFA degree in two years, working one-on-one with a faculty member in their second year to produce a thesis of publishable quality work.

Sample Courses

CRWR 517. GRADUATE WRITING WORKSHOP: FICTION, POETRY, LITERARY NONFICTION, DRAMA, SCRIPTWRITING OR TRANSLATION. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: MFA students; or permission of instructor.
Classroom discussion of student writing, concentrating on editing and revision with a view to attaining publishable quality.

Catalog Listing

CRWR 583. FICTION I-THE NOVEL. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: MFA or English MA students or permission of instructor.
A study of the novel, considering periods and stylistic approaches to the form. Works to be considered might include novels by Cervantes, Austen, Tolstoy, Faulkner, Nabokov, Baldwin, Cather, Coetzee, Hurston, Fowles, Morrison, Fitzgerald, Bellow, Calvino, Rulfo, Woolf, Robinson, and DeLillo, among others. Through a study of style and structure, the course concerns itself with the many shapes the novel takes, has taken, or might take, while also examining elements that link examples of the form.

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CRWR 584. FICTION II-THE SHORT FORM. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: MFA or English MA students or permission of instructor.
A study of the short form, considering roots, periods, and stylistic approaches. Works to be considered might include texts by Chekhov, Tolstoy, Kafka, Mansfield, Joyce, Porter, Toomer, Murakami, Carver, Munro, Dubus, Lahiri, Dybek, and Davis, among others. Through a study of style, structure, and historical development, the course will concern itself with the many shapes the short form takes, has taken, or might take, while also examining elements that link various examples of the form.

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CRWR 592. POETRY III-CONTEMPORARY WORLD POETRY AND POETICS. 5 Credits.

Pre-requisites: MFA or English MA students or permission of instructor.
An intensive study of selected authors and literary developments, both national and international, since 1960.

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