MFA Courses

Core Coursework

MFA students must take 45 hours from the list below. Some of the 5000-level courses listed below already exist or will be cross-listed with existing 4000-level courses. Some 6000-level courses listed below already exist and others are currently being developed. New courses are marked with an asterisk. Generally, each course listed below is 3 credits.

    Advanced Forms and Theory Courses – 6 hours

WRTG 6325  Advanced Forms and Theory of Poetry*
WRTG 6335  Advanced Forms and Theory of Fiction*
WRTG 6345  Advanced Forms and Theory of Creative Nonfiction*

    Advanced Workshop Courses – 9 hours

WRTG 6370  Advanced Poetry Workshop*
WRTG 6371  Advanced Fiction Workshop*
WRTG 6372  Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop*

    Advanced Special Topics Courses – 6 hours
WRTG 5324  Advanced Special Topics in Creative Writing*
These courses will vary according to the expertise of the professor. Possible topics may include
environmental writing, screenplay writing, literary translation, the illustrated narrative, genre
writing, writing for children, travel writing, writing for new media, etc.

Advanced Internship or Advanced Directed Study – 3 hours
WRTG 6180/6280/6380  Advanced Directed Study in Creative Writing*
WRTG 6185/6285/6385  Advanced Internship in Creative Writing*

    Required Courses – 12 hours

WRTG 5320  Teaching Creative Writing: History, Theory and Practice
WRTG 5330  Contemporary Composition: Theory and Practice
WRTG 6300  The MFA Experience: A Professional Development Seminar*
WRTG 6390  Editing and Publishing*

Thesis Hours – 9 hours
    WRTG 7180/7280/7380/7480/7580/7680/7780/7980  Thesis Research*

__________________________________________________________________________________

Elective Coursework – 15 hours
Students must take at least 15 hours from the list below.

WRTG 5310  Advanced Creative Writing with Hypertexts*
LING 5310  Linguistics for Educators

LING 5320 Grammatical Structures
LING 5345  Advanced Analytical Methods of Morphology and Syntax*
LING 5350  Advanced Phonology*
LING 5355  Advanced Special Topics in Linguistics*
WRTG 6310 Advanced Topics in Discourse Analysis*
WRTG 6610 Great Bear Writing Project Summer Institute

Curriculum Outline by Semester/Year
In general, students will have the freedom to schedule and structure individualized programs that suit their needs. Electives and special topic courses may be taken any time they are offered. Thesis research is to be completed during the last year of a student’s program.

Courses that must be taken at specified points in the curriculum are:
• WRTG 6300 to be taken during the fall semester of a student’s first year.
• WRTG 6180/6280/6380 and/or 6185/6285/6385 to be taken during second or third year.
• WRTG 6390 and 7380/7680/7980 to be taken during third year.

Semesters for class offerings are noted in the New Course Descriptions with Specified Learning Outcomes, below.

Sample Course Sequence
Individual students will have individual needs, their preferred genres will differ, and students with prior graduate courses may be able to opt out of taking classes. The following table, however, can serve as an example of a possible sequence:

First Semester Second Semester  
WRTG 6300 (MFA Exper) WRTG 6370 (workshop)  
WRTG 6325 (forms/theory) LING 5345 (elective)  
WRTG 5330 (teaching sem) WRTG 5320 (teaching sem)  
     
Third Semester Fourth Semester Summer Semester
WRTG 6335 (forms/theory) WRTG 6371 (workshop) WRTG 6610 (elective)
WRTG 5324 (topics) WRTG 6385 (internship)  
WRTG 5310 (elective) 63XX (elective course in another dept.)  
     
Fifth Semester Sixth Semester  
WRTG 6390 (ed and pub) WRTG 5324 (topics)  
WRTG 63XX (elective) WRTG 6372 (workshop)  
WRTG 7380 (thesis) WRTG 7680 (thesis)  

New Course Descriptions

WRTG 5310 Advanced Creative Writing with Hypertexts This elective for the MFA in Creative Writing blends theory and practice in an exploration of hypertext literature and the possibilities of Creative Writing within the hypertext environment. Students will examine various cutting-edge narrative technologies, and then work critically and creatively with linear and nonlinear applications in a digital environment. Students will be exposed to current criticism in the field and their projects will be evaluated using emerging aesthetics. Ultimately, students will learn and creatively apply the fundamental principles of multimedia innovations and be able to analytically incorporate the rhetoric and philosophy of this discipline into dialogues that provoke and challenge the imagination. Lecture, discussion, workshop. On demand.

LING 5320 Grammatical Structures of English This course is required for the emphasis in Writing in the Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning Master's degree.  The course focuses on the scientific study of grammar, including lexical categories, phrases, relative clauses, participles, grammatical relations and noncanonical sentences.  Students will analyze the intricates set of principles and rules of English that determine possible sentences and disallow impossible sentences.  Prerequisite:  Graduate status.  Lecture discussion.  Fall.

WRTG 5324 Advanced Special Topics in Creative Writing This required course for the MFA in Creative Writing offers an in-depth investigation of a significant figure, historical period, issue, trend, group, school, movement, genre or subgenre of Creative Writing. Possible topics include: eco-writing, screenplay writing, literary translation, illustrated narrative, genre writing, writing for children, travel writing, writing for new media, etc. Content varies. Course may be repeated for credit. Lecture, discussion, research, with a possible workshop component. Students gain an advanced knowledge of subject matter, including key criticism. Offered annually.

LING 5345 Advanced Analytical Methods of Morphology and Syntax This elective for MFA candidates in Creative Writing is also open to graduate students in other areas interested in the major aspects of morphological and syntactic analysis, the history of grammatical study, and both formal and functional theoretical approaches to grammatical analysis. Students will learn key concepts and terminology associated with grammatical description and apply them to the analysis of problem sets presented from a wide range of the world’s languages. Lecture, discussion. Prerequisite: LING 2320, the equivalent, or permission of instructor. Spring, on demand.

LING 5350 Advanced Phonology This elective for MFA candidates in Creative Writing is also open to graduate students in other areas interested in phonological analysis, including the theoretical basics of phonetics and the skills needed to analyze phonological data. Students will become adept at detailing phonetic transcriptions from oral data, deducing and ordering phonological rules from problem sets, writing those rules in linguistic notation using feature theory, and determining underlying representations. Discussion, lecture, workshop. Prerequisite: LING 2320, the equivalent, or permission of instructor. Fall, on demand.

LING 5355 Advanced Special Topics in Linguistics This elective for MFA candidates in Creative Writing is also open to graduate students in other areas interested in a more concentrated theoretical focus on a specific linguistics area. Students will explore existing research within particular theoretical domains and integrate that research with their own findings in the form of both oral and written reports that allow them to better understand the operations and outcomes of linguistic phenomena. Content varies according to interest and expertise of instructor. Course may be repeated once for credit. Lecture, discussion. Prerequisite: LING 2320, the equivalent, or permission of instructor. On demand.

WRTG 6180/6280/6380 Advanced Directed Study in Creative Writing This course provides opportunities for advanced study of specific topics in Creative Writing. It is designed for students who have completed 18 hours of graduate courses in the MFA program wanting to study specific topics not offered in the curriculum. The student and professor design the course of study together, establish goals and a timeline, and agree on a reading list and guidelines for research and the final project. Students gain an advanced knowledge of an approach, school, method of research, specific writer, or subject matter. Offered every semester for 1 to 3 credits.

WRTG 6185/6285/6385 Advanced Internship in Creative Writing This course emphasizes professional writing experience from work sites either within or outside the university. Interns are supervised by Writing Department graduate faculty and/or work site managers. The internship is designed for students seeking on-the-job experience and college credit, but students may also work for pay if the position offers compensation. The student and advisor establish goals and a timeline and create a learning contract. Research and a reading list may be required. Students gain practical experience, master technical aspects of various positions, and become familiar with career opportunities. Offered every semester for 1 to 3 credits with consent of Department Chair and in collaboration with the Department Internship Coordinator.

WRTG 6300 The MFA Experience: A Professional Development Seminar This foundational required course in the MFA program in Creative Writing provides insight into how MFA candidates can best develop professionally. Taught through a series of discussions and in-depth analyses of relevant issues and texts, it introduces students to resources that will augment research and increase productivity. The course will cover approaches to building a career as a literary artist, and will include discussions of ethics, invention techniques and creativity theory. The professional development elements of the course will include: networking, exploring arts opportunities and grants, submitting for publication, preparing CVs and cover letters, and exploring other dynamics in the job search. Discussion, lecture, workshop. Fall.

WRTG 6310 Advanced Topics in Discourse Analysis An elective for students in the MA in English Language Arts and the MFA in Creative Writing.  Emphasis is placed on the application of discourse analysis to education, and, in particular, to English language teaching. Discourse analytic methods and techniques will be discussed and illustrated in detail. Students will be able to analyze both print and web-based discourses using both quantitative and qualitative methods in essays. Discussion, workshop. Summer and Fall.

WRTG 6325 Advanced Forms and Theory of Poetry This is a comprehensive examination of formal, contemporary and emerging elements of the literary art of writing poetry, with an emphasis on the study of poetics and theory, prosody, traditional and contemporary styles and techniques, cross-genre applications, craft, and other technical aspects of the art. Upon completion of the course, students will be familiar with and adept at composing verse in multiple forms and generating hybrid styles of poetic articulation. Students will also be prepared to authoritatively evaluate and engage in sophisticated discussions on contemporary authors and issues in the genre. Discussion, lecture, with a workshop component. Fall and on demand.

WRTG 6335 Advanced Forms and Theory of Fiction This course will provide an in-depth consideration of the theory and practice of the many forms of fiction writing, including but not limited to the novella, the short story, flash fiction, magical realism, episodic fiction, experimental fiction, metafiction, and genre writing. Subjects will be determined by instructor interest and expertise. Upon completion of the course, students will be familiar with and adept at composing and analyzing various forms of fiction. Students will also be prepared to engage in sophisticated discussions on contemporary authors and issues in the genre. Discussion, lecture, with a workshop component. Fall and on demand.

WRTG 6345 Advanced Forms and Theory of Nonfiction This course will provide an in-depth consideration of the theory and practice of various forms of creative nonfiction, including but not limited to memoir, reviews, travel writing, the lyric essay, literary journalism, social and political writing, sports writing, environmental writing, and literary hybridization. Subjects will be determined by instructor interest and expertise. Upon completion of the course, students will be familiar with and adept at composing literary nonfiction in multiple forms. Students will also be prepared to authoritatively evaluate and engage in sophisticated discussions on contemporary authors and issues in the genre. Discussion, lecture, with a workshop component. Fall and on demand.

WRTG 6370 Advanced Poetry Workshop This is a graduate workshop course focusing on the writing of original poetry. Students will present drafts of work for peer review and discussion and will submit a portfolio of rigorously revised material at the end of the course. Class time will be devoted to critical analysis, discussion of poetics and technique, innovative exercises, and publishing strategies. Students will gain extensive experience in the workshop process and arrive at a voice, style and/or artistic approach that employs creative and critical faculties to create unique works of literature. Spring and on demand.

WRTG 6371 Advanced Fiction Workshop This is a graduate workshop course focusing on the writing of original fiction. Students will present drafts for peer review and discussion and submit a portfolio of rigorously revised material at the end of the course. Class time will be devoted to critical analysis, innovative exercises, and publishing strategies. Students may workshop novels, novellas, short stories, and literary hybrids. Students will gain extensive experience in the workshop process and arrive at a voice, style and/or artistic approach that employs creative and critical faculties to create unique works of literature. Spring and on demand.

WRTG 6372 Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop This is a graduate workshop course focusing on the writing of original creative nonfiction. Students will present drafts for peer review and discussion and will submit a portfolio of rigorously revised material at the end of the course. Class time will be devoted to critical analysis, innovative exercises, ethics and trends in the discipline, and publishing strategies. Students will gain extensive experience in the workshop process and arrive at a voice, style and/or artistic approach that employs creative and critical faculties to create unique works of literature. Spring and on demand.

WRTG 6390 Editing and Publishing This required course for the MFA in Creative Writing is designed to provide practical and applicable experience in editing and publishing for creative writers in the MFA program. Students will work with innovative technology and state-of-the-art design software to edit, lay out, and ultimately publish a professionally produced anthology of their own work in order to promote themselves, their peers, and the program. Students will study the dynamics and trends of the publishing world as well as marketing and submission strategies and meet with experienced editors and publishers. Learning outcomes include becoming adept at the collaborative process of publishing a book and arriving at a sophisticated knowledge of the publishing industry from the perspective of both editor and writer. Lecture, discussion, workshop. Fall.

WRTG 7180-7980 Thesis Research This is the culminating required course for candidates for the Creative Writing MFA degree. Each student will be responsible for researching, writing and ultimately creating a creative book-length manuscript appropriate to the genre of choice, with a critical introduction. Students will work independently while periodically seeking the assistance and approval of members of their thesis committee. Enrollment is contingent upon the successful completion of 36 credits of course work and preapproval of the thesis committee. MFA candidates are expected to enroll for a total of 9 hours minimum and must enroll for thesis research credit each term until they successfully defend their theses, typically in their final semester. If the thesis committee does not approve the thesis, a student may register for this course again, provided he or she does not receive a D or less in the course. The learning outcome of thesis research is naturally and literally a mastery of the fine arts in Creative Writing. Offered every semester for variable credit.