Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Admission to the Program

Students interested in this program must submit a meaningful sample of their writing (15 to 20 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction, or 15 to 20 pages of literary translation, or a full-length stage play or two short plays, or 15 to 20 poems), two letters of recommendation, and transcripts, along with the Creative Writing Department application form. Submissions should be sent to the Creative Writing Office by January 15 for the fall semester.

Applicants from creative writing programs at other colleges or universities may transfer nine units to the M.F.A. program, on review and recommendation of the Creative Writing Admissions Committee and approval of the Division of Graduate Studies. For further clarification, contact the Creative Writing Department.

Students in the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Creative Writing at SF State who wish to enter the M.F.A. program are required to apply for admission and are subject to the same admission standards as are all other applicants. For students entering with an earned M.A. in English: Creative Writing from SF State, the M.F.A. is a 30 unit degree as described below.

Enrollment priority in M.F.A. classes is given to classified M.F.A. students accepted in the genre of the course.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

Statement of purpose (500–1500 words) and writing sample (15 to 20 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction, or 15 to 20 pages of literary translation, or a full-length stage play or two short plays, or 15 to 20 poems) scored 8.0 or higher on a scale of one to 10 based on the following criteria:

  1. fluency and precision of expression;
  2. ability to embody and illustrate ideas creatively; and
  3. appropriateness of the applicant’s interests, life experiences and goals to the program.

Level Two

Satisfactory completion of C W 893MFA on the following criteria: work deemed by two faculty readers to be publishable as a book and evaluated along the following criteria:

  1. ability to use the craft of the art form to illustrate ideas, vision, and imagination creatively, using fresh, precise language;
  2. ability to suggest, via the craft to the art form, a subtext and themes that display the writers’ complex relationship with her/his ideas, vision, imagination, and form (story, poem, dramatic monologue and/or play); and
  3. mastery of at least one genre form per the above.

Selected upper division courses offered by the department may be used for the degree upon approval of a department advisor. Enrollment is not required in the semester of graduation.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing — Minimum 54 Units

Writing Workshops at the M.F.A. Level (6 Units)

Select a minimum of 6 units in the genre of admission selected from the following:
C W 852MFA Workshop in Creative Nonfiction 43
C W 853M.F.A. Workshop in Fiction 43
C W 854M.F.A. Workshop in Poetry 43
C W 855M.F.A. Workshop in Playwriting 43
C W 856M.F.A. Workshop in Short Plays 33

M.A./M.F.A. Level Creative Process Directed Writing/Special Study/Writing Workshops (12 Units)

Select 12 units from the following:
C W 785Graduate Projects in the Teaching of Creative Writing3
C W 803Advanced Short Story Writing 33
C W 804Advanced Poetry Writing 33
C W 806The Business of Creative Writing3
C W 807Developing the Novel3
C W 808Novel Writing 33
C W 809Directed Writing for Graduate Students 33
C W 810Seminar in the Creative Process 13
C W 814Contemporary World Poetry3
C W 820Writers on Writing3
C W 825Playwright's Theatre Workshop 33
C W 840Fourteen Hills Literary Magazine 23
C W 850Poetry Center Workshop3
C W 852MFA Workshop in Creative Nonfiction 43
C W 853M.F.A. Workshop in Fiction 43
C W 854M.F.A. Workshop in Poetry 43
C W 855M.F.A. Workshop in Playwriting 43
C W 856M.F.A. Workshop in Short Plays 33
C W 859Practicum in Teaching3
C W 860Teaching Creative Writing3
C W 866Craft of Translation 43
C W 867Theory of Translation3
C W 875Community Projects in Literature 23
C W 899Independent Study1-3

Creative Process Courses at the M.F.A. Level. (6 Units)

Select 6 units in the genre of admission from the following:
C W 880M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Fiction 1,43
C W 881M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Poetry 1,43
C W 882M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Playwriting 1,43

Literature or Theatre Arts Courses or Graduate Creative Process Courses (12 Units)

Upper division/graduate (300 level and above) literature courses in the English or Comparative and World Literature or Theater Arts Departments, to be taken on advisement, with the consent of an M.F.A. advisor.

Theater Arts courses include:

TH A 401Theatre Backgrounds: 500 B.C. - 16423
TH A 660Advanced Play Development Workshop3
TH A 705Playcrafting and Dramaturgy3

Graduate Creative Writing process courses include:

C W 785Graduate Projects in the Teaching of Creative Writing3
C W 806The Business of Creative Writing3
C W 810Seminar in the Creative Process3
C W 814Contemporary World Poetry3
C W 820Writers on Writing3
C W 825Playwright's Theatre Workshop3
C W 840Fourteen Hills Literary Magazine3
C W 850Poetry Center Workshop3
C W 859Practicum in Teaching3
C W 860Teaching Creative Writing3
C W 866Craft of Translation 43
C W 867Theory of Translation3
C W 875Community Projects in Literature3
C W 880M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Fiction 43
C W 881M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Poetry 43
C W 882M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Playwriting 43
C W 899Independent Study3

Correlative courses related to the candidate's interests (12 Units)

To be taken upon advisement from an M.F.A. advisor. Sequences and patterns are especially appropriate. The English Department's certificate in the teaching of reading and composition is an option in this sequence. For students planning a culminating project in playwriting, the following courses in Theatre Arts are acceptable:

TH A 401Theatre Backgrounds: 500 B.C. - 16423
TH A 660Advanced Play Development Workshop3
TH A 705Playcrafting and Dramaturgy3

Other correlative tracks include careers in Creative Writing:

Creative Writing
C W 785Graduate Projects in the Teaching of Creative Writing3
C W 806The Business of Creative Writing3
C W 840Fourteen Hills Literary Magazine3
C W 875Community Projects in Literature3
Teaching Creative Writing
C W 785Graduate Projects in the Teaching of Creative Writing3
C W 859Practicum in Teaching3
C W 860Teaching Creative Writing3
C W 875Community Projects in Literature3

Book Arts (under development with the Art Department), and a different genre than the student’s own within the department. A poet, for instance, can have a fiction correlative. More specialized correlatives in other areas of study pertaining to the student’s interests as a writer can also be taken in consultation with an advisor.

Culminating Experience (6 units)

C W 893MFAWritten M.F.A. Creative Work6

Priority in M.F.A. classes is given to classified M.F.A. students accepted in the genre of the course, with the exceptions of C W 854, which is open to both M.A. and M.F.A. students whose emphasis is Poetry, as well as C W 855 and C W 856, which are open to both M.A. and M.F.A. students whose emphasis is Playwriting.

For students with a B.A. degree, the M.F.A. degree is 54 units as stated above.

For students with an earned M.A. in English: Concentration in Creative Writing from SF State, the M.F.A. degree requires an additional 30 units composed of the following elements:

M.F.A.-level workshops
Select 6 units in the genre of admission from the following:
C W 853M.F.A. Workshop in Fiction3
C W 854M.F.A. Workshop in Poetry3
C W 855M.F.A. Workshop in Playwriting3
C W 856M.F.A. Workshop in Short Plays3
M.F.A.-level Creative Processes Classes
Select 6 units in the genre of admission from the following:
C W 880M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Fiction 1,43
C W 881M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Poetry 1,43
C W 882M.F.A. Craft and Process Tutorial in Playwriting 1,43
Select 12 units from the Correlative Area listed above
1

 May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

2

 May be taken for two semesters of credit.

3

 May be taken for three semesters of credit.

4

 May be taken for six semesters of credit.