Springtime at the UW Arboretum, a 1,260 acre National Historic Landmark recognized as a pioneer in ecological restoration.

MFA in Creative Writing

MFA Course of Study

The two-year MFA course of study is designed to provide as much time as possible for independent writing and reading. The degree requires 42 credits as follows:

  • 9 credits of writing workshops in the student’s primary genre (fiction or poetry). These workshops are held in the first, second, and third semesters.
  • 3 credits of pedagogy, during the first semester.
  • 15 thesis credits. Students take 3 credits in each of the first, second and third semesters, then 6 thesis credits in the fourth semester. These are not courses—rather, they’re the means by which the University gives MFAs credit for their independent writing.
  • 15 credits of electives drawn from appropriate courses across the curriculum. While students are expected to focus on and produce book-length theses by the end of their two years here, they are also encouraged to pursue other intellectual interests via these electives. In the past, MFA students have fulfilled their elective requirements by enrolling in literature courses, studying foreign languages, pursuing other artistic interests such as dance, book-making, and classical guitar, augmenting research for historical novels by taking appropriate history classes. MFA students may also hone their writing skills in other genres by taking intermediate and advanced undergraduate workshops and graduate level workshops in genres outside the one for which they were admitted, as electives with the permission of the instructor. Students may also take up to 6 elective credits in the form of additional thesis hours in the second and third semesters.