Program Overview

The two-and-a-half-year program begins each fall, with courses on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:15 p.m. On Tuesdays, workshops in each genre (fiction, poetry, and nonfiction) focus on student manuscripts in a peer setting of supportive critique. On Thursdays, literature seminars focus on traditions, styles, craft elements and developments, and literary models.

Program of Study

All courses are taken within the MFA program, with classes of three units each, for a total of 33 units during a two-and-a-half-year course of study.

Because cross-fertilization enriches creativity, students are free to take courses outside their primary genre and sample a range of cross-genre literature seminars. Because depth of understanding is crucial to successful writing, students also take seminars and workshops that focus exclusively on one genre — long fiction, short fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. Students’ work culminates in a creative thesis — a book-length manuscript that is conceived, composed, and revised with extensive faculty mentoring. Students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor who provides extensive feedback on their work in a series of scheduled meetings. The thesis may be a novel, a collection of stories, a poetry collection, a collection of creative nonfiction, or a purposeful combination of these genres.

Program Timeline

Requirements include four workshops, five elective seminars, and two semesters of one-on-one thesis work.

Year Fall Spring Summer
1st Literature seminar and workshop Literature seminar and workshop Thesis I
2nd Literature seminar and workshop Literature seminar and workshop  
3rd Literature seminar and thesis II    

Professional Opportunity

We create as many opportunities as possible for our students to connect with literary culture in the city of San Francisco and beyond. An internship course provides students with professional training in diverse writing-related careers. Opportunities include internships at literary journals such as Zyzzyva and Zoetrope, at magazines such as Mother Jones and Wired, at publishing houses such as City Lights and Chronicle Books, and at literacy organizations such as 826 Valencia and Streetside Stories. Students participate in literary and service organizations including Poets and Writers, Zoetrope, California Poets in the Schools, the Litquake literary festival, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference, Under the Volcano Writing Conference (Mexico), and the Summer Literary Seminars in Prague and St. Petersburg. A seminar on teaching writing is offered for those interested in pursuing the profession, with teaching assistantships available in undergraduate courses in English literature and creative writing.