MFA in Creative Writing

General Information

Portland State University's MFA in Creative Writing offers an intensive program of small core workshops and seminars taught by established writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. In workshop, students engage in close readings and critiques of their peers' work, while seminars may focus, for example, on an element of craft, historical period, literary movement, or the works of seminal writers. Seminars differ from workshops in that they may include writing critical papers, and there is less emphasis on student writing and the critical discussion of student work. Students work with an accomplished faculty in literature, critical theory, and rhetoric and composition. The degree emphasizes faculty mentorship throughout each student's coursework and thesis completion.

When you are accepted into the program you will be assigned a faculty advisor, whom you should contact as early as possible. Your advisor will help you plan your preliminary program of study, and answer questions you have about the program and the process. If you have questions that your advisor cannot answer, contact the Graduate Administrator, Eileen Mitchell-Babbitt, 503-725-3623, or the MFA Director, A.B. Paulson. This guide, the MFA website, and the English Department website may also provide answers to many of your questions. Also, please download the MFA in Creative Writing Handbook, which provides a detailed explanation of the program.

Early on you should establish a university ODIN account and email address, and sign up to our graduate student listserv. This and the MFA listserv, which you will be signed up for with your PSU ODIN account, are the primary ways that we communicate important information. You are also responsible for seeing that the Graduate Administrator has your current phone number, email, and mail addresses.

All first-year students must take the MFA Core Workshop in their strand in Fall and Winter terms. When there is more than one core workshop in a strand offered in a term, faculty will assign students to a workshop. MFA core workshops meet Tuesdays at 5:30; all 507 seminars meet Wednesdays at 5:30.

You are strongly encouraged to attend the orientation for graduate students in the English Department, usually held the Friday before classes begin in September. You will meet other students in the MFA Program, as well as MFA and English Department faculty and other graduate students. You will learn more about the program and its requirements, and become acquainted with resources available at the University and in the city of Portland.

Other important campus resources include the Graduate Studies Office, which provides information on University requirements, the Career Center, which offers valuable guidance on graduate education and professional development, and the Writing Center, which can help you with any stage of your writing process (from coming up with an idea for a paper to proofreading).

I. Applying to the MFA in Creative Writing Program

Students apply to the genre in which they wish to work: fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. In compiling your application, consider that the most important part of it is your writing sample. We are looking for promise, which may take many forms, and varies according to the genre, but in all cases includes an engagement with language. While many students enter the MFA program with a background in English literature, writing, or journalism, it is not required, and many of our strongest students come from backgrounds in the sciences, social sciences, and other areas in the humanities. For details see section 16, Admission and Application.

II. Degree Requirements

The degree requirements are 48 credit hours of coursework, as listed below, a creative thesis of high literary merit (students may work in long or short form, and the thesis may be a collection of short pieces or a full-length work), a written examination based on the thesis and an advisor-approved list of 30-40 texts, and an oral examination in defense of the written examination and creative thesis. In addition to the required four core workshops in your primary genre, students are encouraged to use at least one of their writing electives to explore another genre. The MFA program can be completed in two years of full-time coursework; however, many students take additional courses or attend part-time. You have a maximum of four years to complete the degree.

Requirements for the MFA:

  • 4 Core Workshops in your genre [WR 521 (Fiction), 522 (Poetry), and 523 (Nonfiction)]
  • 2 writing seminars in your genre
  • 2 courses in literature, one of which may be in critical theory or rhetoric and composition
  • 2 electives in Writing, one of which must be a workshop or seminar in the MFA. While you may take the Core Workshop as many as six times (one each term, if you are a full-time student), you are encouraged to take at least one of your writing electives outside of your primary genre.
  • 8 credits of Thesis
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 (Consult the University Bulletin on academic probation if GPA requirements are not met).

III. Course of Study

The heart of the MFA curriculum is the Core Workshop. These are restricted to MFA students in the genre, with rare exceptions. Through writing, reading, and critical discussion, students gain mastery of techniques and intimacy with conventions and issues specific to the genre. The small-group format also helps students develop a strong cohort. Seminars often focus on aspects of craft, and the literature coursework helps students understand their own work in the context of literary history and to develop a scholarly perspective on a range of relevant work.

Students are required to take the Core Workshop in their first and second terms of the program.

IV. Coursework Outside the MFA Program

Students may take one of their required literature courses in the Department of Foreign Languages, with their advisor's approval. If you have questions about whether other classes meet the requirements, contact your advisor or the MFA director.

V. The Bibliography

The scholarly aspect of your coursework is reflected in the bibliography. With your advisor, you'll develop a list of 30 to 40 titles, including works required by your strand as well as books you read in classes, books suggested by your advisor or other faculty or peers, and books you discover on your own that are important in your development as a writer. You are not expected to cram these texts before your examinations; you are, however, expected to be able to knowledgeably refer to them in your written exam and oral defense.

VI. Degree Completion Requirements

Each student completes a creative thesis, a written exam, and finally an oral defense.

The Thesis

Towards the end of your first year, you will select a thesis advisor with whom, in your second year, you will work on developing and writing your thesis—a substantial and cohesive body of creative work of high literary merit. The form it takes may include, for fiction, a novel, a collection of stories, or a novella-length work (approximate 80-page minimum); for nonfiction a long piece or a collection of essays (approximate 100-page minimum): for poetry a book-length collection of poems (48-page minimum). Shorter projects may sometimes be appropriate; this would be determined in consultation with your advisor, who must approve it. The thesis adheres to format requirements described by the Graduate Office. (For poetry, there are no format requirements as to indentation and spacing.)

During your first year you will develop a sense of which faculty member you would like to have work with you as your thesis advisor. Faculty will be as accommodating as possible so that students can work most closely with the faculty member of their choice, but keep in mind that you may not get your first choice, and that the student' selections are balanced against the necessity for a shared and equitable workload. When you ask a faculty member towards the end of your first year to be your thesis advisor, you must complete the Graduate Thesis Advisor form and return it to the Graduate Administrator.

Thesis Credits

Students must be taking WR 503 (Writing Thesis) credits in each term that they are working on their thesis and for at least one credit in the term in which they will do their oral defense and graduate. Students must take a total of at least 8 credits over at least two terms.

If a leave of absence is taken while a student is working on a thesis, the student may not consult his thesis advisor or committee, and no paperwork will be processed by the Graduate Studies Office until the student is registered again.

Assembling a Thesis Committee and Defending Your Thesis

In your final term you will submit and defend your thesis to your thesis committee. The committee includes a minimum of three PSU faculty members, including your thesis chair, who is also your thesis advisor. Only the committee chair must be a full-time tenure-track PSU faculty, Assistant Professor or higher in rank with a Master's or Doctoral degree. Other members may be fixed-term or adjunct, but keep in mind that part-time faculty are not compensated for committee work and thus may be hesitant to serve.

Students may have up to five committee members; if a fourth or fifth member who is not on the PSU faculty is requested, a CV for that member should be attached to the GO-16M form when it is submitted to the English Department Chair for approval and forwarding to the Graduate Studies Office.

The thesis committee must be approved with a GO-16M form that is filled out by the student, signed by the advisor. The deadline for submitting this form is in the term prior to that in which you plan to graduate. Check for deadlines.

Submitting the Final Thesis

Beginning with Summer term 2011 (including Early Summer graduation), PSU has now fully transitioned to electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). Paper submissions will no longer be accepted. Additional information can be found at the Office of Graduate Studies' Electronic Thesis Overview.

MFA students in Creative Writing who choose to file an Electronic Thesis will be asked on the ETD Publication Form to choose one of three access options:

  • Open Access. This grants full public access to the text via the Internet.
  • Open Access with Delayed Release. This grants full public access via the Internet after an initial embargo period of either one or two years.
  • Campus Restriction. This provides access online only via an ODIN password login.

While MFA students may select any access option, the MFA faculty strongly recommends that students select Campus Restriction. For more information visit the Office of Graduate Studies' FAQs about ETDs or contact a representative directly at etdinfo@pdx.edu or 503-725-8410.

Please note that while the Campus Restriction option normally requires permission from the Office of Graduate Studies, MFA students are exempt from this requirement. Creative writing theses are often written with an expectation of eventual commercial publication, and the open availability of a complete text online has been viewed by many publishers as damaging to the acquisition of such manuscripts. There are also concerns, particularly in nonfiction, of possible liabilities incurred by texts that have not had the customary legal vetting process of periodical and book publishers.

The Written Exam

The written exam typically consists of one or two questions, and requires the student to consider formal, structural, aesthetic and thematic aspects of his or her own work, as well as consider the work of published writers.

The Oral

The oral exam lasts approximately one hour, and must be scheduled to take place at least six weeks prior to the end of the term in which you will graduate. Committee members must receive a complete copy of the thesis at least two weeks prior to the oral defense and receive your written exam at least one week prior to the date of your oral. All members of the thesis committee appointed on the GO-16M must participate in the oral exam.

After the oral exam, the committee may request some revisions, which you will have two to three weeks to make, depending on the date of your oral. The written exam and theoral defense are based on the student's text list, and include literary history, theory, craft, and technique. A successful exam requires both original thinking and some research. At the defense, students may be asked questions both about the exam and the thesis.

VII. Early Term Graduation

A student who misses the listed thesis submission deadline may graduate in the following term without registering in that term if she/he submits the completed, defended, approved and formatted thesis no later than 5:00 p.m. on the GO-17 (Recommendation for the Degree form) deadline.

VIII. Pre-admission Credit and Transfer Credit

A maximum of 16 approved credits earned before admission to the program may be applied to the MFA degree. This “pre-admission credit” limit applies to both transfer credits earned outside PSU and at PSU prior to admission to the program.

A separate 16-credit allotment of transfer credit may be approved for coursework taken after admission to the MFA program (courses taken elsewhere over the summer, for example).

However, a maximum of one-third of your 48 credits may be taken outside PSU, so only 16 of the possible combined 32 transferred credits (pre-admission and post-admission) may be from outside PSU. (The one-third limit is actually 15 credits but we are allowed an extra credit because of our four-credit course structure).

Students must download a Transfer and Pre-approved Credit form (GO-21), and meet with their advisor and the Director of the MFA for credit evaluation and approval.

All Pre-admission and Transfer credits must be graduate level and must: 1) be letter graded B- or higher; 2) not be used for any other degree at any institution, 3) be no more than seven years old at the time the Master's degree is awarded; 4) be applicable to an MFA degree at the originating institution without qualification.

If you have questions, see your advisor and the program director.

IX. Advising

After you are admitted into the program and you accept the offer to come, you will be assigned an advisor. You should contact your faculty advisor and plan to meet (preferably before the beginning of fall term) if you have questions about your plan of study. New students who do not have access to their assigned advisor during the summer prior to their first enrollment, or students whose advisor is on leave or otherwise unavailable should consult the Director of the MFA and/or the Graduate Administrator in the English Department.

You are required to take the core workshop in your strand in the fall and winter terms of your first year. You must take the core workshop in your strand a minimum of four times, and you may take it as many as six times.

If there is only one core workshop offered in your strand, you would register for that. If there is more than one, you will be assigned to one. Students are also encouraged to take the seminar in their strand in the fall term of their first year.

X. Independent Study

Independent study, practicum or internship credits may be arranged (1 to 4 credits per term) under several course titles (see below). There is no single CRN for these course numbers; to register, fill out a By Arrangement Request, available in the Department or on the PSU website, have it signed by the instructor, and leave it with Department staff to be signed by the Chair and forwarded to Registration. Please keep in mind that faculty choose to take on these courses on top of their regular workload. The options for independent study include:

  • WR 501: Research: This can be used for special research projects in which the student has arranged to work with a faculty supervisor. If the research will lead to a writing project, students may also want to consider WR 505.
  • WR 504: Cooperative Education/Internship: For students doing an internship or engaged in a community-based project.
  • WR 505: Reading and Conference: one-on-one work with a faculty advisor or mentor on astudent writing project; this may also include reading and discussion. If a group of students wants to gather together and propose a topic to a faculty member who would sponsor such a group, it is better to use WR 508: Workshop.
  • WR 509: Practicum: Students may assist a professor in teaching an undergraduate course. You should work out your duties with the professor in advance of the course.

Students wishing to pursue independent study should seek the approval of a faculty member willing to undertake the arrangement. Faculty time to supervise independent study during any given term is limited. By University policy, a maximum of 12 hours of WR 501 and WR 505 coursework may be applied toward the degree. Independent study credits may not be used to substitute for required MFA coursework.

XI. One-credit Courses

Graduate Assistantships, some student loans, scholarships, and grants require full-time status. At PSU, a full time course load is 9 credits or more, part time is 8 credits or fewer. Thus, if you enroll for two 4-credit courses you will not have full-time status. However, in addition to Independent Study (explained above), the department offers a range of 1-credit graduate course options.

Discussion/Reading Groups Attached to an Existing Course

Some of our literature courses are offered at the 400/500 level, and thus include both advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Graduate students often want a separate discussion, reading, or workgroup to augment their work in the course. Some of these 1-credit groups may be listed in the Schedule of Classes; otherwise, you will probably need to have the professor fill out a By Arrangement Request, likely for WR 508: Workshop. For details on the nature of the group and how to register, contact the professor directly.

Freestanding Discussion/Reading Groups

These are groups organized around a shared area of interest between a professor and a group of students (and sometimes additional faculty). The aim is for an enriching, pedagogically and academically sound experience that challenges graduate students without generating substantial extra work for faculty. These groups need supervision, but are expected to produce their own discussions, with faculty members as guides. Some of these courses may be listed in the Schedule of Classes; otherwise, you may ask the professor to fill out a By Arrangement Request, likely for WR 508: Workshop. For more details on the nature of the group and how to register, contact the professor directly.

Portland State University considers full-time graduate work to be 9 credits per term. Since most graduate courses are 4 credits, many students who want to be full time need 1-credit options. Each term the department will generate a list of one-credit courses faculty will offer. The list will be emailed and posted outside the English Department. Some classes may also be listed in the Schedule of Classes. Except for those options already listed in the online Schedule of Classes, you will need to fill out special registration forms and obtain the professor's signature in order to take these courses. Individual professors will let you know which course number and title is the most appropriate. Please be aware that professors teach these extra credits voluntarily, simply in order to meet student needs.

One credit of graduate work should equal no more than an average of 5 hours of work per week for the student. If you think that your workload exceeds this, please inform your supervising professor. You may also negotiate with the professor to take any of these options for more than 1 credit, with workload adjusted accordingly. Keep in mind that according to University policy, you can apply a maximum of 12 hours of WR 501 and WR505 coursework towards the graduate degree, and you may not substitute WR 501 or 505 for required MFA coursework.

Graduate students may also decide to organize a one-credit reading group. For this you will need to obtain a faculty sponsor who is willing to help the group formulate a reading list, mentor the group leader, and sit in on at least 3 group meetings. Please inform the Director of the MFA program if you have organized such a group for spring.

XII. GPA

Students must have a B average (3.0 GPA) on courses fulfilling the degree requirements (courses listed on the GO-12 form). Grades of C+, C, and C- are below the graduate standard, and may be counted as credit toward the Master's degree only with specific written approval of the Department Chair. Grades of D and F carry no graduate credit.

XIII. Financial Aid, Graduate Assistantships, and Employment

Information on graduate financial aid is available on the Office of Student Financial Aid website.

For graduate students who are Oregon residents, the state sponsors the Oregon Laurels Tuition Remission program for graduate study. Information about the Laurels and other competitive scholarships is available on the Office of Graduate Studies' Scholarships and Awards web page.

English department nomination is required for three all-University competitions: the Oregon Sports Lottery, the University Club, and the Underrepresented Minority Graduate Student Pipeline scholarships. Any student who would like to be nominated for one of these scholarships should speak to their advisor or the Student Affairs Committee about their qualifications. A computerized database of national and local scholarships is also available in the Millar Library.

The Graduate Handbook for the MFA (Section 13) contains a wealth of information about employment/professional opportunities, including graduate assistantships, University Studies mentorships, tutoring at the Writing Center, teaching, and other job opportunities on campus.

XIV. Professional Development

The MFA degree is extremely versatile, and we have developed courses, workshops, and other activities designed to assist students in preparing for a variety of careers.

The Graduate Handbook for the MFA (Section 14) has information about our professional workshops and courses.

XV. Preparing to Graduate

Students are responsible for meeting all Graduate Office deadlines.

All forms (with the exception of the degree application form) must be submitted to the Department so that they can be signed by the Chair and copied to the student's file before they are submitted to Graduate Studies.

Graduation Checklist

checkbox The GO-16M form is due in the term prior to when you will graduate, and must be completed in consultation with your advisor. Make sure that your committee members have agreed to serve and will be present during your final term. Your committee will consist of at least three faculty members. Your thesis advisor is also your committee chair, and must be regular full-time PSU faculty, tenured or tenure-track, assistant professor or higher.

checkbox The GO-12 form must be approved by your advisor and signed by the department chair or department graduate committee chair, and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies no later than the first week of the term in which you will graduate. This form lists the courses you have taken to meet your degree requirements. Courses that are used to complete the MFA degree requirements may not be used towards any subsequent degree, so if you have more than 48 credits, list only the 48 credits that count toward your degree.

checkbox Submit an Application for Awarding of Master's Degree form in the Office of Graduate Studies in the first week of the term you will graduate. This form does not need a Departmental signature so you may submit it directly.

checkbox Contact your committee members early in the term in which you intend to graduate to schedule your oral defense. The deadline by which the oral defense must be completed varies; check the schedule for the term in which you plan to graduate, and aim for that week. However, it is advisable to reserve the date early in the term since faculty sit on multiple committees. Also, reserve the MFA conference room, allowing about one-and-a-half hours.

checkbox Check with your advisor to confirm when you should distribute your thesis to your committee. You can expect to distribute your thesis to committee members a minimum of 3 weeks in advance of your scheduled defense.

checkbox You will receive your written exam one to two weeks after you distribute your thesis, which is about two weeks before your defense. You have one week to complete it. Distribute both hard and electronic copies to your committee. The written exam isgraded pass/fail.

checkbox Confirm with your committee via email a week to ten days prior to your oral.

checkbox In the approximate two-week period between the deadline for your thesis defense and the deadline for submitting your thesis to the Graduate Office for final approval, make changes and address any concerns about your thesis raised by your committee. The thesis is submitted electronically. The MFA Program strongly advises you to select the Restricted Access option.

checkbox Check commencement deadlines on the University's Commencement web page, if you wish to take part in the ceremony.

XVI. Admission & Application Requirements

There are two separate applications required, one to the University and one to the MFA Program in Creative Writing. Please read the instructions carefully before filling out the forms.

Apply for University Graduate Admission

Download MFA in Creating Writing Application

Download Application Instructions

The annual admissions postmark deadline to the MFA Program is January 3rd. Applications should include all departmental application materials (materials that are sent separately must also meet the deadline). Applicants to the MFA Program must provide satisfactory evidence of preparedness to undertake advanced work, which would include a B.A. or B.S. degree from a regionally accredited college or university. A minimum GPA of 3.25 is required. However, students showing extraordinary promise based on their writing sample may be provisionally admitted. See Section 18: “Conditional Admission.”

Your department application will not be reviewed until you have submitted your University application and been assigned a PSU identification number. Applicants will be notified of both Department and University acceptance by mail only.

Failure to supply complete or inaccurate information will delay the admission process and subject applicants to the University's policies governing academic dishonesty.

The MFA Program application must be submitted to the following address:

Department of English
ATTN: MFA Program Admissions
Portland State University
PO Box 751
Portland OR 97207-0751

And include the following materials:

  • A Departmental application form indicating which genre they will focus on: fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. One transcript from each post-secondary institution attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A two-to-three-page, 1.5-spaced personal introduction describing the applicant's background as a writer, goals, and interest in this particular program.
  • A manuscript in the applicant's primary genre, which should be typed, double-spaced and single-sided, with the pages numbered. Poetry manuscripts may be single-spaced. Previously published, single-authored work will be accepted but should be photocopied, not bound. Manuscripts should demonstrate mastery of basic craft and literary promise, and should represent your best work regardless ofwhether or not it has been published.
    • In poetry: 12-15 pages
    • In fiction: 20-30 pages
    • In nonfiction: 20-30 pages of magazine articles or creative nonfiction

GRE scores are not required for admission to the MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Send your completed University application, official transcripts, and a $50 fee to:

Office of Admissions
Portland State University
P.O. Box 901
Portland, OR 97207

Use the major code CWR for the MFA. Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. institution are required to submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores (the English Department requirements are higher than those for the University in general — please see the “International Students” section below).

Do not send the University application fee to the English Department. This $50 fee is subject to change by the Oregon University System.

XVII. Enrollment Deferment

Students who do not enroll in the term to which they were admitted will be dropped from the program by the University. While a deferral may be requested for up to one year from the term for which you were originally admitted, deferrals are rarely granted, and students should expect to reapply to the program.

To request a deferment, download an Admission Application Update Request. The form must be filled out, signed, and sent to:

Department of English
c/o Graduate Administrator
re: DEFERMENT
Portland State University
Department of English – ENG
PO Box 751
Portland, OR 97201-0751

XVIII. Conditional Admission

While the MFA Program requires a cumulative 3.25 GPA in undergraduate work, thec ommittee looks at other factors including the writing sample, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and transcripts. If the committee feels that an applicant shows sufficient promise, they may offer conditional admission, allowing a student to demonstrate her capability to succeed at the graduate level.

A student with conditional admission will be expected to earn regular admission, which is achieved by taking 8 credits of 500 (graduate) level English courses (ENG or WR), withgrades in each of B+/3.25 or better. You and your advisor must file form GO-7 Petition for Change of Status with the Office of Graduate Studies. At that point you will be converted to regular admission status and your graduate credits applied towards your program requirements.

XIX. Leave of Absence

A student in good standing may petition for a leave of absence, which assures the student a continuation of admission in the program during a period of absence. The cumulative amount of leave may not exceed one calendar year. Students on an approved leave of absence do not register for courses and are not required to pay instructional or other fees. During a leave of absence, access to university or program facilities and services and use of faculty or staff time is restricted according to policies established by the university and each program. A leave of absence does not constitute a waiver of the time limit for completion of the graduate degree at PSU, nor does it extend the regular one-year limit for completion of a course.

A leave is not automatic, but is only awarded to a student in good standing and must be approved by the student's advisor and Program Director. Students wishing to take a leave should fill out a Request for Leave of Absence form and have it signed by their advisor and Program Director before submitting it to the Graduate Administrator. If the student fails to submit this form, s/he will be listed as inactive and administratively withdrawn from the program. Students are responsible for keeping their contact information current with the Department's Graduate Administrator during their leave. A student planning to return from a leave of absence should contact the Graduate Administrator and his/her advisor at least three months prior to returning to school. Students who fail to return to the graduate program within 12 months of initiating a leave of absence may be administratively withdrawn from the program.

XX. Establishing Residency Status

Before you register for classes, there are important considerations to know about establishing in-state residency status. To be considered a resident, you must have lived in Oregon for 12 consecutive months, and if you have moved from out of state, for those 12 months to count towards your establishment of residency you must be taking 8 credits or fewer and be self-supporting outside of the University. See the Residency Requirements web page.

XXI. International Students

An applicant whose native language is not English and who has not received a baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalently accredited non-U.S. institution with instruction exclusively in English must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (100 on the internet-based test or 250 on the computer-based test). The International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) may be substituted for the TOEFL; the minimum acceptable score is 7.5.

XXII. Office of Graduate Studies Forms

  • GO-7, Request for Change of Status: If you were admitted conditionally you must file this after meeting the conditions for regular status. This must be done before you can submit graduation paperwork.
  • GO-10, Reservation of Graduate Credit: You can take up to 12 PSU graduate credits at the end of your undergraduate course of study and transfer these credits in to a graduate program. This is allowed only for first B.A. / B.S. degrees.
  • GO-12, Approved Graduate Degree Program: This is where you list the courses you are using to fulfill the degree requirements. The Graduate Studies Office strongly disapproves of listing more credits than are required for the degree, since they will not be usable for any future degree. All courses taken appear in your transcript regardless of whether or not they are listed on the GO-12.
  • GO-13, Change in Graduate Degree Program: This is used to amend a GO-12 if any changes are made to your course of study after filing the GO-12.
  • GO-15, Validation of Out-of-Date Graduate Credit: If any of your coursework exceeds the 7-year time limit (5 years for the MFA), you can request a validation exam to approve the use of that credit.
  • GO-16M, Appointment of Final Oral Examination Committee: This form must be submitted to have your thesis committee approved by the Graduate Studies Office. You should do this before beginning your thesis credits or submitting your prospectus.
  • GO-17M, Master's Recommendation for the Degree: This form is signed by your committee after your final oral exam is completed. Students are not allowed to handle this form once it has been signed.
  • GO-19M, Request for Change of Major: This form is used to change from one Master's degree program to another. Unless you are transferring from an M.A. to an M.S. (or vice versa) in the Writing Program, transferring between programs requires a full admission review during the fall term admission cycle.
  • GO-21, Proposed Pre-Admission and Transfer Credit: This form must be completed if you have taken any courses before admission to your graduate program that will be used to fulfill its requirements.
  • GO-14, Dual Degree Memo: This form is used to define which courses will apply to both degrees in a dual degree program.
  • Graduate Petition: This form is used to petition the Graduate Council for a waiver of a University graduate academic regulation or degree requirement.

To keep track of your progress while you're completing your MFA degree, use the Student Checklist at the end of the MFA in Creative Writing Handbook. The checklist assumes a full-time schedule (9 credits per term) and will help keep you on track.

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