Creative Writing

Program Contacts

Shauna Meador, MFA: Department Chair
Telephone: (501) 450-3162 | Email:

Stephanie Vanderslice, MFA, PhD: Graduate Program Coordinator
Telephone: (501) 450-3340 | Email:

[1] Objectives

The MFA degree is recognized as a terminal degree in the area of creative writing. This program emphasizes full-time, professionally oriented study that will uniquely prepare graduates for careers in writing pedagogy and publishing.

[2] Program Admission Requirements

In addition to the graduate school application and fee and transcripts, a student applying to the MFA program in Creative Writing must also submit the following:

  • a brief statement on why he/she desires an MFA in Creative Writing
  • a 10- to 30-page portfolio for review in any of the following four areas: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or other
  • at least two upper-level undergraduate courses in Creative Writing on his/her transcript
  • two letters of recommendation

Up to 9 credits of graduate work from other accredited institutions may be transferable, pending approval of the chair of the Department of Writing and the dean of the Graduate School. Students admitted with a master’s degree in Creative Writing (or a closely related area) may transfer up to 15 hours of graduate coursework, subject to the approval of the dean of the Graduate School and chair of the Department of Writing. All transfer hours must be in courses for which an equivalent graduate course exists at UCA. Students may be requested to provide support materials, including relevant course syllabi. Thesis hours may not be transferred.

In accordance with the Graduate Bulletin, a minimum of 24 hours credit in residence at UCA is required.

[3] Degree Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a three-year, 60-credit-hour terminal degree. It includes 45 hours of core coursework (including 9 credits of thesis work) and 15 hours of electives from the list below. Full time students are expected to take nine credits a semester.

[3.1] Curriculum

[3.1.1] MFA Core Courses

MFA students must take 45 hours from the lists below. Generally, each course listed below is 3 credits.

Advanced Forms and Theory Courses – 6 hours

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

Advanced Workshop Courses – 9 hours

Students must take nine (9) hours from at least two of the following areas:

CRWR 5371 Advanced Novel Writing Workshop
CRWR 5372 Advanced Novel Revision Workshop
CRWR 6370 Advanced Poetry Workshop
CRWR 6371 Advanced Fiction Workshop
CRWR 6372 Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop
CRWR 6373 Novella Workshop

Advanced Special Topics Courses – 6 hours

CRWR 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.

Required Courses – 12 hours

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

Thesis Hours – 9 hours

CRWR 7V80 Thesis Research (variable credit: 1-9 credit hours; 9 total hours required)

[3.1.2] MFA Electives

MFA students must take at least 18 hours from the courses below.

WRTG 6610 Great Bear Writing Project Summer Institute
CRWR 6395 Advanced Practicum in Editing and Publishing
CRWR 6V80 Advanced Directed Study in Creative Writing
CRWR 6V85 Advanced Internship in Creative Writing

Once the core requirements have been met, additional Workshop or Forms and Theory courses may also be used to satisfy the elective requirement. A maximum of 12 hours may be taken for degree credit in any workshop course or the special topics course. One 5000- or 6000-level course offered in another department will be allowed with approval by the chair of the Department of Film, Theatre, and Creative Writing.

[3.2] Thesis Project

This is the culminating required project 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.

[4]Graduate Course Links

Follow this link for CRWR course descriptions: course link.
Follow this link for WRTG course descriptions: course link.