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  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
  • Graduate Studies

  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing

    Program Coordinator: Alan Davis, PhD
    Weld 202, (218) 477-4681

    Program Description

    The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing and Publishing is a degree for students who wish to improve their creative writing abilities on the graduate level and prepare professionally to work in publishing (or allied professions) or to teach college composition or creative writing. The program is designed to be completed on either a full-time or a part-time basis. Students usually complete the program in two and a half to five years. The MFA is a terminal degree. Most of the student’s work will be in actual writing courses, in required courses or tutorials, and in thesis preparation.

    Student Learning Outcomes

    • All students will demonstrate an ability to create work of publishable quality in a specific genre, either fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.
    • They will also demonstrate an ability to analyze creative work and prepare oral and written critiques of such work.
    • Students will demonstrate advanced comprehension of the history and conventions of their chosen genre.
    • Those students chosen as Teaching Assistants will develop teaching skills.
    • All students will take MFA 674: Teaching in order to understand what's required of college-level instructors and to develop professional expertise
    • All students will work with New Rivers Press to develop knowledge of the publishing process and to demonstrate capability in editing manuscripts, preparing them for publication, and assisting with marketing and publicity.

    Detailed information on these requirements and department policies and procedures may be obtained from the MFA Graduate Program Coordinator.

    Admission Requirements

    The items listed below are required for admission to this program; only complete files are reviewed. Send all materials to:

    Graduate Studies Office
    MSU Moorhead
    1104 7th Ave. S.
    Moorhead, MN 56563

    Application Deadines: February 1 for Fall Semester and October 15 for Spring Semester

    1. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
    2. GPA of 2.75, or at least 3.25 for the last 30 semester credits of graded course work.
    3. Completed “Application for Admission to Graduate Study” form.
    4. Undergraduate and other transcripts sent directly from the institution to the Graduate Studies Office.
    5. Non-refundable $20.00 fee for first-time applicants to Minnesota State University Moorhead.
    6. Submission of a representative manuscript sample of creative work: 20-25 pages of original writing in fiction, 15-20 pages of poetry, or a similar amount of material in the student’s preferred genre.
    7. Submission of three letters of reference from those who can speak to the student's potential and/or experience as a creative writer, and a cover letter summarizing the student's background, primary interests in the program, and hoped-for plan of study.
    8. Gifted writers may study in the program as special students without declaring specific degree intentions.
    9. Applicants who earned their undergraduate degrees more than 10 years before the time of application must be interviewed by the MFA Program Coordinator or his/her designee before admission.
    10. The Graduate Record Examination is not required for admission.


    Degree Requirements

    1. Minimum of 42 semester credits.
    2. At least half of the total 42 semester credits required for the degree must be taken at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Transferred credit must have received a grade no lower than a B-, and must have been completed within seven years previous to admission.
    3. A 3.0 grade point average required for courses submitted for the degree. No grade lower than a B- is acceptable in the program.
    4. Thesis.
    5. Oral discourse presented to the student’s thesis committee following completion of the thesis and based on the thesis and on the student’s program, and a public reading by the student from his or her thesis work.

    Course Requirements

    Core Requirements (34-37 credits)
    ENGL 502 Introduction to Publishing (3)
    ENGL 552 Craft (3)
    ENGL 562 Practicum in Publishing (3)
    MFA 674 Teaching (3) 
    MFA 688 Workshop (18-21 credits).  Students must earn a minimum of 18 workshop credits in MFA 688. 
    MFA 699 Thesis (4 credits).  Students must complete a thesis. Students must also present an oral discourse to the thesis committee following completion of the thesis, based on the thesis and the student's program of study. Students must complete a public reading of his or her thesis work.

    Electives (5-8 credits)

    Students need to earn at least 5-8 credits in graduate-level courses. These courses are to be chosen in close consultation with a faculty advisor. Graduate level courses in MFA, English, or other multi-disciplinary or professional graduate courses may be used to satisfy this requirement with the permission of the Coordinator of the Creative Writing program and the student's MFA advisor. With the approval of the Coordinator and instructors, candidates may substitute MFA 669 Internship (1-6 credits) for part for all of the above elective credits.

    With the approval of instructors and graduate coordinator, up to six credits of MFA 669 and MFA 688 may be taken on a pass/fail basis.


    Additional Information

    Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing Website

    Graduate Application Form

    MFA Reference Form



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