Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Not offered in the 2017-18 Academic Year

Requirements (72 units)

The Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing is a two-year program offered to writers of considerable promise and commitment in the genres of poetry and fiction writing. A terminal studio arts degree, the M.F.A. assumes that the best education for the artist includes training in literature and extensive practice in the craft of poetry, or the short story and novel. For most college-level teaching positions in Creative Writing, the M.F.A. is the preferred terminal degree. The degree prepares students for career opportunities in editing at publishing firms, newspapers and magazines, professional writing, and working at foundation and arts organizations. The second year of this 72-unit program is heavily concentrated on the final development of a book-length manuscript of publishable quality.

The M.F.A. program has two concentrations: Poetry and Fiction. Students in either concentration must choose the Teaching Focus or the Literature Focus. The Teaching Focus allows students to study instructional approaches in the areas of creative writing and composition for community college and university settings. The Literature Focus allows students to take courses in the study of fiction, poetry, drama and creative nonfiction. Note: Effective Fall 2010, students may not be concurrently enrolled in the M.A. in English Composition and the M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

Admission to the Program

To apply for admission to the M.F.A. Program, applicants must have all of their transcripts and the Postbaccalaureate Graduate Application form forwarded to the Office of Admissions and Student Recruitment. In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to the university, a student must satisfy the following requirements in order to be admitted with classified graduate standing:

  1. Admission to the M.F.A. Program is based largely on the quality of the writing sample(s) submitted with the application. Students must choose a concentration in Fiction or Poetry. Applicants must apply via CSUMentor. For additional information go to english.csusb. Students who are admitted must begin the program in the following Fall quarter;
  2. The applicant must submit the following:
    1. A sample of creative work consisting of ten poems or two short stories or a short story and a novel chapter. The poetry submissions should not exceed twenty pages; the prose submissions should not exceed thirty pages;
    2. An autobiographical statement in which the applicant states his or her literary and academic goals;
    3. Three letters of recommendation which describe the applicant's maturity as a student writer who can receive and give constructive criticism, and his or her ability to be academically successful in the M.F.A. program.
      The sample of creative writing, the autobiographical statement, and the letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the coordinator of the M.F.A. Program, English Department, CSUSB;
  3. The following undergraduate courses or their equivalents with a minimum grade of "B" in each, taken in conjunction with a major in English or some other major:
    ENG 311The English Language4
    ENG 385Literary Theory and Criticism4
    One of the following:4
    Analysis of Poetry
    Analysis and Writing of Poetry
    Analysis of Drama
    Analysis and Writing of Drama
    Analysis of Prose Ficition
    Analysis and Writing of Prose Fiction
    Analysis of Nonfiction Prose
    Analysis and Writing of Nonfiction Prose
    Two upper-division courses in literature;8
    ENG 317Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry4
    or ENG 318 Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction
    A student who has not met one or more of the course prerequisites above or the minimum grade requirements may be admitted to the program as a conditionally classified graduate student. Conditionally classified students must fulfill certain conditions before beginning the M.F.A. program with their cohort in the Fall quarter. If conditionally classified students do not meet the conditions, they cannot begin taking the M.F.A. sequence of courses, which start each Fall quarter, and they must reapply to the program;
  4. The Graduate Record Examination is not required;
  5. The graduate entrance writing requirement if fulfilled by passing, with a "B" (3.0) or better, ENG 306 (or an equivalent course) or the Writing Requirement Equivalency Exam (WREE), within seven years prior to acceptance into the program. Students who do not satisfy this requirement may be conditionally classified and required to take or repeat the course or exam;
  6. Applicants who do not possess a bachelor's degree from a post-secondary institution in a country where English is the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum score of 575 (computer-based score of 233) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Advancement to Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy, the student must have:

  1. Completed at least 36 units of coursework required by the program, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and no grade lower than "B-" in any course in the program; (Students will be permitted to repeat and discount only one course to achieve these results.)
  2. Completed at least half of the master's project, verified by the M.F.A. coordinator;
  3. Filed a program plan approved by the M.F.A. coordinator.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. Students must have a minimum of 72 quarter units of graduate-level work in the M.F.A. program with a minimum of 60 units completed in residence at this university;
  2. Students must gain approval in advance from the M.F.A. Coordinator to count 400- or 500-level courses as electives;
  3. Students must be advanced to candidacy;
  4. Students must have a grade point of average of at least 3.0 ("B") in the program's coursework;
  5. Students meet the graduation writing requirement with the successful completion of the master's project;
  6. Students must file a Leave of Absence to preserve their current catalog rights if they are going to be absent from the program one or more quarters;
  7. The program must be completed within a seven-year period. No more than seven years may elapse between the time of registration for the earliest course listed on the program and the completion of all requirements for the degree. Students who have taken any required or elective course that expires because it exceeds this seven-year limitation will be required to retake the course or its equivalent as designated by the M.F.A. coordinators, regardless of the grade originally earned. Petitions to waive this requirement will not be approved.

Degree Requirements (72 units)

Fiction Concentration (72 units)

ENG 507Advanced Creative Writing: Poetry4
ENG 513Advanced Creative Writing in Specialized Genres (may be repeated as topics change)4
ENG 608M.F.A. Workshop in Fiction (Must be completed in each of the six quarters of the program, for a total of 24)24
ENG 621Approaches to Imaginative Writing4
ENG 622Creative Writers on Writing4
ENG 688Master's Project Seminar in Fiction (Must be completed Fall and Winter quarters of the second year of the program, for a total of 8)8
Students must complete either the following Teaching Focus or the Literature Focus for a total of twenty-four units. 24
Total Units72

Courses completed for the B.A. degree may not be counted towards the M.F.A. Students must take additional courses, in consultation with their advisor, toward their M.F.A. degree for a total of 72 units.

Teaching Focus

ENG 612Contemporary Composition and Discourse Theory4
Twelve units chosen from:12
English in the Secondary Classroom
Creative Writing in the Secondary Classroom
TESL Methods and Materials for Reading and Writing
Writing Center Studies
Sites of Praxis
Computers and Writing: Literacy and Technology
Issues in Teaching College Composition
Creative Writing Internship
Electives. Electives must be approved in advance by the M.F.A. coordinators. Four units of electives can be outside of the English Department. 8
Total Units24

Literature Focus

ENG 600Critical Approaches to Literature4
Twelve units chosen from:12
Senior Seminar in Literature
Seminar in Poetry
Seminar in Dramatic Literature for Stage and Film
Seminar in Fiction
Seminar in Nonfiction Prose
Seminar in a Literary Topic
Creative Writing Internship
Electives. Four units of electives can be outside of the English Department. Electives must be approved in advance by the M.F.A. coordinators.8
Total Units24

Poetry Concentration (72 units)

ENG 508Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction4
ENG 513Advanced Creative Writing in Specialized Genres (may be repeated as topics change)4
ENG 607M.F.A. Workshop in Poetry (Must be completed in each of the six quarters of the program, for a total of 24)24
ENG 621Approaches to Imaginative Writing4
ENG 622Creative Writers on Writing4
ENG 687Master's Project Seminar in Poetry (Must be completed Fall and Winter quarters of the second year of the program, for a total of 8)8
Students must complete either the following Teaching Focus or the Literature Focus for a total of twenty-four units24
Total Units72

Courses completed for the B.A. degree may not be counted towards the M.F.A. Students must take additional courses, in consultation with their advisor, toward their M.F.A. degree for a total of 72 units.

Teaching Focus

ENG 612Contemporary Composition and Discourse Theory4
Twelve units chosen from:12
English in the Secondary Classroom
Creative Writing in the Secondary Classroom
TESL Methods and Materials for Reading and Writing
Writing Center Studies
Sites of Praxis
Computers and Writing: Literacy and Technology
Issues in Teaching College Composition
Creative Writing Internship
Electives. Electives must be approved in advance by the M.F.A. coordinators. Four units of electives can be outside of the English Department. 8
Total Units24

Literature Focus

ENG 600Critical Approaches to Literature4
Twelve units chosen from: 12
Senior Seminar in Literature
Literary Publication: Solicitiation of Submissions
Literary Publication: Production
Literary Publication: Publicaiton Process
Seminar in Poetry
Seminar in Dramatic Literature for Stage and Film
Seminar in Fiction
Seminar in Nonfiction Prose
Seminar in a Literary Topic
Creative Writing Internship
Electives. Four units of electives can be outside of the English Department. Electives must be approved in advance by the M.F.A. coordinators.8
Total Units24