Dec 06, 2021  
Current 2021-2022 Graduate Catalogue 
    
Current 2021-2022 Graduate Catalogue

Creative Writing, M.F.A.


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Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Melissa Crowe

The Department of Creative Writing offers an intensive studio-academic apprenticeship in the writing of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. Courses include workshops in the three genres, special topics and forms courses, as well as a range of courses in literature. While students are accepted in, and expected to demonstrate mastery of one genre, they are encouraged to study, and must show proficiency in, a second genre. Students, in consultation with their advisors, tailor their course schedules to their own professional and educational interests, selecting a variety of courses in creative writing, literature, criticism, rhetoric and composition, film studies, and applicable cultural studies. Though the M.F.A. is a terminal degree designed for writers wishing to pursue various career paths in teaching, writing, publishing, and community arts organization, students are urged to pursue the degree primarily as a way of mastering their art by rigorous study and practice among a community of other dedicated writers. The M.F.A. degree without supporting publication credentials does not guarantee employment.

Admission Requirements


Applicants seeking admission to the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing are required to submit the following five items to the Graduate School before the application can be processed.

  1. A typed manuscript in the applicant’s primary genre, labeled “poetry,” “fiction,” or “creative nonfiction”: 10 pages of poetry, 30 pages of fiction, or 30 pages of creative nonfiction (double-space prose, single-space poetry). The manuscript should demonstrate mastery of basic craft and unmistakable literary promise. Applicants are advised not to apply with a mixed-genre manuscript.
  2. An application for graduate admission.
  3. Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate).
  4. At least three recommendations from individuals in professionally relevant fields addressing the applicant’s achievement and promise as a writer, and ability to successfully complete graduate study.
  5. An essay (300-500 words) on the applicant’s goals in pursuing the M.F.A., including previous educational experience.

An applicant must have successfully completed an appropriate undergraduate degree (usually, but not necessarily, a B.A. in English or a B.F.A in creative writing), with at least a “B” average in the major field of study. Acceptable fulfillment of all the above constitutes the minimum requirements for, but does not guarantee, admission to the M.F.A. program.

In general, we are seeking candidates who show artistic commitment and literary promise in their writing, and whose academic background indicates they are likely to succeed not only in graduate study but as publishing professional writers. Therefore, in evaluating candidates, the admissions committee places great emphasis on the quality of the manuscript.

Applications must be received by the published deadline. All interested applicants will be considered for graduate assistantships, which will be awarded on a competitive basis as they become available.

Degree Requirements (48 total credit hours)


  1. An M.F.A. candidate must successfully complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of graduate study: 21 credit hours in writing (CRW 530 CRW 540 CRW 542 , CRW 544 , CRW 546 , CRW 548 , CRW 550 ); six credit hours of thesis (CRW 599 ); and 21 credit hours in other graduate literature courses, (CRW 501 , CRW 503 , CRW 523 , CRW 524 , CRW 525 , CRW 543 , CRW 545 , CRW 547 , CRW 560 , CRW 580 , CRW 581 , CRW 591 , CRW 594 , CRW 598 ; ENG 502 , ENG 504 , ENG 505 , ENG 506 , ENG 507 , ENG 508 , ENG 509 , ENG 511 , ENG 513 , ENG 514 , ENG 560 , ENG 561 , ENG 564 , ENG 565 , ENG 566 , ENG 572 , ENG 580 ) with an option of substituting up to six of those credit hours of study in a related discipline, as determined by the student’s advisor, the M.F.A. coordinator, and the chair of the Department of Creative Writing.
  2. An M.F.A. candidate is required to complete at least 12 credit hours of writing workshop courses in a primary genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction).
  3. An M.F.A. candidate is required to complete a minimum of six credit hours in a secondary genre, which must include at least one 3-hour writing workshop (CRW 530 , CRW 542 , CRW 544 , CRW 546 , CRW 548 , CRW 550 ). Forms courses (CRW 543 , CRW 545 , CRW 547 ) may be used to fulfill the remaining hours.
  4. A maximum of 9 credit hours in secondary genre(s) workshop courses will count toward fulfilling the 21 hour writing requirement.
  5. A minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) must be maintained in all graduate course work; a “B” average is required for graduation.
  6. An M.F.A. candidate must complete a substantial book-length thesis manuscript of literary merit and publishable quality acceptable to the thesis committee: this ordinarily will be a novel; a novella; a collection of short stories, poems, or essays; a single long poem; a long nonfiction narrative; or some combination of the foregoing within the primary genre.
  7. An M.F.A. candidate must pass the Master of Fine Arts examination.
  8. A maximum of six credit hours of graduate course credit may be transferred from another regionally accredited institution in partial fulfillment of the M.F.A. UNCW regulations will be applied in determining the transferability of course credits, and requests for transfer credit must be approved by the M.F.A. coordinator, the chair of the Department of Creative Writing, and the Graduate School.
  9. The M.F.A. program is designed to be completed in three calendar years. All requirements must be completed within five calendar years.

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