The English Department offers a master of fine arts degree in creative writing. The program offers three areas of specialization or tracks: fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. The master of fine arts is a terminal degree that will serve students seeking careers in writing, higher education teaching, publishing and related fields.
Candidates design, in consultation with the director of the MFA program and their adviser, a plan of study including workshops, courses and seminars at the 500 and 600 levels.
The English Department seeks the most promising candidates for its Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Candidates who already possess the MA will receive preference in admission; however, we also encourage exceptional candidates who hold the bachelor’s degree. Applicants with an undergraduate degree in fields other than literature or writing maybe be admitted conditionally, pending additional course work.
In addition to meeting all admission requirements of the College of Graduate Studies, MFA candidates must comply with requirements specific to the MFA program: departmental MFA application form, a resume, three letters of recommendation, a statement of professional purpose, a critical paper, and a writing portfolio (see below). Candidates who wish to apply for a Teaching Fellowship or Teaching Assistantship (see below) should address their interest in and qualifications for teaching in the statement of professional purpose. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree only may apply simultaneously to the MA Program. The application forms and checklist can be found at http://www.nmu.edu/english/gradchecklist
MFA Applicants’ Writing Portfolio
Admission to the program is highly competitive and is determined primarily by the quality and promise of the applicant’s writing. All applicants must submit a writing portfolio in the genre in which they apply. Applicants may apply in one genre only. Three (3) copies of the portfolio, typed and double-spaced, must be submitted by the application deadline, February 1. These copies are non-returnable. Page requirements are as follows:
Poetry: 10 pages
Fiction: 20-30 pages
Nonfiction: 20-30 pages
The University offers three types of funding. Teaching Fellowships, Teaching Assistantships, and Graduate Assistantships. Fellows teach three (3) writing courses per academic year, and Assistants, two (2) writing courses per academic year. These courses are at the freshman and sophomore levels. Fellows also usually have the opportunity to teach an entry-level creative writing course. Graduate Assistantships are offered throughout the University for work other than teaching. Applicants for Teaching Fellowships and Teaching Assistantships should address their qualifications for teaching in their statement of professional purpose. Additionally, applicants should ask their recommenders to speak to the candidate’s promise as a teacher.
During Winter Semester, active MFA students may apply for a summer Excellence in Education grant. These grants, in the amount of $1,500, are offered by the College of Graduate Studies to fund research and professional travel and to encourage and expand educational opportunities outside the traditional classroom.
The director of the MFA program will advise all graduate students in the MFA program. Students should meet periodically with the director to ensure their plan of study is appropriate to their needs and acceptable to the College of Graduate Studies. Students are individually responsible for carefully reading and selecting courses in accordance with the requirements of this bulletin.
For department information or additional degree requirements, click here
For course description, click on the course.
*Students must meet all requirements stated in the Graduate Bulletin. Master of fine arts thesis requirements are as follows:
Poetry: a minimum of 50 pages of poetry and at least one critical paper of 10 to 20 pages.
Creative nonfiction and fiction: a minimum of 180 manuscript pages of the candidate’s prose and at least one critical paper of 10 to 20 pages.
All thesis credits are devoted to a single project.
Prior to graduation, master of fine arts candidates will read from their theses in a celebration event before faculty and invited guests.
All MFA students are expected to complete EN 504 Principles of Critical Investigation or demonstrate equivalency or proficiency.