Feb 22, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
    
University Catalog 2023-2024

Creative Writing, MFA


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MFA in Creative Writing
Location:
 AU Los Angeles
Credits for Degree: 48 semester credits
Standard Mode of Instruction: Low-residency
Standard time to completion: 25 months

Program Overview

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree is offered by the Creative Writing Department of the Division of Graduate and Professional Studies, and represents the study of literature from the perspective of the writer. The reading and analytical components of each semester project, and the lectures offered during the residencies, provide opportunities for a well-integrated humanities-based curriculum, without sacrifice of direct creative manuscript work and criticism. The MFA in Creative Writing graduate is well-prepared in literature (especially the student’s primary genre) as well as in writing. While the MFA is a terminal degree and can help a student achieve their career goals, the MFA in Creative Writing program’s goal is not to credential, but rather to help students with their writing and their creative education.

Special Emphases of the MFA in Creative Writing Program

The MFA in Creative Writing program is devoted to the education of literary artists, community engagement or service, and the pursuit of social justice. The program helps writers develop the skills of their craft and teaches them about the various roles of the writer in society. The program also develops awareness of and appreciation for culturally diverse writers and traditions.

Degree Options

This low-residency MFA program for adult students is designed to provide writers with a high level of professional training and an appreciation for the multifaceted relationship of the arts and artists to society. Creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and young people are offered as primary genres for study, and literary translation is offered as a secondary genre for study. There are three options for completing the MFA degree:

  • Single genre option - the student chooses one genre as the designated field of study and works in that genre for four terms (two years)
  • Mixed genre option - the student chooses to spend three terms in a primary genre and one term in a second genre (two years). This is referred to as a ‘Genre Jump’.
  • Dual concentration - the student spends three terms in the primary genre and two terms in a second genre (two and one half years). Before the beginning of their fourth residency, students seeking this option, 1) must have spent one term in the second genre, and 2) must have declared their intent to pursue a dual concentration.

Degree Requirements

The decision to grant the MFA degree is made by the MFA Faculty Committee upon recommendation of the faculty mentor. The student’s record must demonstrate the following:

  • Full participation in five residencies (six for the dual concentration option)
  • Successful completion of four project periods (five for the dual concentration option)
  • Completion of the Art of Translation Seminar and online Art of Translation Course
  • Completion of the Critical Paper
  • Working with at least three different faculty mentors (during the project periods) during the course of the program
  • Completion of a Core Faculty-approved Field Study
  • Broad reading and the preparation of a cumulative annotated bibliography in creative writing, literature, and the dramatic arts
  • Successful completion of the final semester requirements: the graduating student presentation, graduating student reading, and the final manuscript

The criteria for granting the degree includes completion of all the above degree requirements, creative writing ability, engagement with perennial questions of literature and the social role of the writer, experience in applied criticism, and knowledge of the genre/genres studied in the program. It is expected that developing mastery in these areas will be demonstrated in each residency and project period evaluation, as well as documented specifically in responses to and evaluations of the student’s work for each project period, including monthly packets of creative writing, critical papers, the field study, the final manuscript, and at the end of the student’s final residency, the graduating student presentation.

Sample Curriculum Plan

Students are required to participate in all learning activities specified as “required” for their specific cohort in the Student Handbook. The following curriculum plan illustrates a typical program of study. Bracketed items may be taken during any residency or project period in which they are offered. This is a representative plan, but each student’s progress through the program is designed individually in consultation with her or his faculty mentors.

Semester 1

Residency 1:

New Student Orientations, Parts I & II
New Student Orientation of Online Resources
Arts, Culture and Society I: The Writer at Work: The Writer as Literary Citizen

Arts, Culture and Society II: Unbuild the Wall: Self, Society & Writing Antiracism
[Orientation to the MFA Field Study]
[Writers at Work]
Reading Like a Writer
Mentor panel and selection
Writing Workshop
Seminars/readings/panels/graduating student presentations
Residency Student Learning Analysis and Project Period Contract

Project Period 1:

Monthly submission of creative work to mentor
Selected reading and written annotations
Submission of workshop material for Residency 2
MFA field study preparation
Book Circle Discussions on Zoom
Project Period Student Learning Analysis and Student Evaluation of Mentor

Semester 2

Residency 2:

Mentor panel and selection
[Arts, Culture and Society II (topic varies each residency)]
Writing Workshop
Seminars/readings/panels/graduating student presentations
[Orientation to the Field Study]
Art of Translation Seminar
Residency Student Learning Analysis and Project Period Contract

Project Period 2:

Monthly submission of creative work to mentor
Selected reading and written annotations
Art of Translation Course
Field study completed
Bool Circle Discussions on Zoom
Submission of workshop material for Residency 3
Practice Critical Paper
Project Period Student Learning Analysis and Student Evaluation of Mentor

Semester 3

Residency 3:

Mentor panel and selection
Critical Paper Seminar
Writing Workshop
Seminars/readings/panels/graduating student presentations
Residency Student Learning Analysis and Project Period Contract

Project Period 3:

Monthly submission of creative work to mentor
Selected reading and written annotations
Critical Paper
Book Circle Discussions on Zoom
Submission of workshop material for Residency 4
Project Period Student Learning Analysis and Student Evaluation of Mentor

Semester 4

Residency 4:

Submission of Critical Paper to MFA Program Office
How to Prepare and Teach a 20-Minute Presentation/Orientation to the Final Term
Mentor panel and selection
Writing Workshop
Seminars/readings/panels/graduating student presentations
Residency Student Learning Analysis and Project Period Contract

Project Period 4:

Performance workshop for graduating students

Preparation of the Final Manuscript
Preparation of graduating student presentation and public reading
Selected reading and written annotations
Preparation of Cumulative Annotated Bibliography
Book Circle Discussions on Zoom
Submission of workshop material for Residency 5
Project Period Student Learning Analysis and Student Evaluation of Mentor

Residency 5:

Submission of final manuscript to MFA Program Office
Submission of cumulative annotated bibliography to MFA Program Office
Writing Workshop
Life After Antioch
Seminars/readings/panels/graduating student presentations
Present graduating student presentation
Perform graduating student reading of creative work
Residency Student Learning Analysis

Semester 5 (for dual concentration students only)

Project Period 5:

For Dual Concentration students, same as Project Period 4

Residency 6:

For Dual Concentration students, same as Residency 5

Final Semester Requirements

At the end of at least three successful semesters (four for dual concentration students), and with faculty mentor approval of the Critical Paper, the student proceeds into the final semester’s projects. During the final residency, the student is also expected to offer a 20-minute conference-style presentation under faculty supervision and to present a reading of his/her/their work. Final semester work focuses primarily on the preparation of the Cumulative Annotated Bibliography (a complete listing of everything the student has read and studied during the program) and the Final Manuscript, described below.

The Final Manuscript

The Final Manuscript is a volume of the student’s best creative work produced in the MFA program, reflecting proportionally the genre(s) the student has studied under the supervision of his/her/their mentors each project period.

For students who concentrate in a single genre, the requirements are as follows:

  • Creative Nonfiction: At least 100 manuscript pages
  • Fiction: At least 100 manuscript pages
  • Poetry: At least 40 manuscript pages (one poem/page unless poem is multi-pages)
  • Young People: At least 100 manuscript pages
  • Writing for the Screen: At least 100 manuscript pages
  • Playwriting: At least 100 manuscript pages
     

For students who pursue a mixed concentration (3 semesters in a primary genre, 1 in a secondary genre), the minimum page requirements are listed below. Note: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Young People, and all genres offered by the AUSB program are each calculated as “prose.”

  • Poetry (primary) and prose (secondary): 30 pages of poems, 25 pages of prose
  • Prose (primary) and Poetry (secondary): 75 pages of prose, 10 pages of poems
  • Prose (primary) and different genre of prose (secondary): 75 pages of primary genre, 25 pages of secondary genre
  • Prose (primary) and Writing for the Screen / Playwriting (secondary): 75 pages of primary genre, 25 pages of secondary genre
  • Poetry (primary) and Writing for the Screen / Playwriting (secondary): 30 pages of poems, 25 pages of dramatic writing
  • Writing for the Screen / Playwriting (primary) and Prose (secondary): 75 pages of primary genre, 25 pages of secondary genre
  • Writing for the Screen / Playwriting (primary) and Poetry (secondary): 75 pages of dramatic writing, 10 pages of poems
Genre

Total Page Count

Primary Genre Page Count

Secondary Genre Page Count

Mixed Concentration (Genre Jump): all prose, including writing for the screen and playwriting

100

75 25

Mixed Concentration (Genre Jump): poetry + prose, including writing for the screen and playwriting

55 30 poetry 25 prose

Mixed Concentration (Genre Jump): prose + poetry

85 75 prose 10 poetry

 

For students who pursue a Dual Concentration (3 semesters in a primary genre, 2 in a secondary genre), the minimum page requirements are as follows:

  • Poetry (primary) and prose, including writing for the screen and playwriting (secondary): 30 pages of poems, 50 pages of prose
  • Prose (primary), including writing for the screen and playwriting, and Poetry (secondary): 75 pages of prose, 20 pages of poems
  • Prose (primary), , including writing for the screen and playwriting, and different genre of prose (secondary): 75 pages of primary genre, 50 pages of secondary genre
     
Genre

Total Page Count

Primary Genre Page Count

Secondary Genre Page Count

Dual Concentration: all prose, including writing for the screen and playwriting

125 75 50

Dual Concentration: poetry + prose, including writing for the screen and playwriting

80 30 poetry 50 prose

Dual concentration: prose, including writing for the screen and playwriting + poetry

95 75 prose 20 poetry

 

Current Tuition and Fees

University Tuition and Fees  

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