Writing MFA

The program is designed to instruct writers in creative techniques, to nurture their individual development and vision, and to help prepare them for entry into the public life of literature.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • demonstrate a working knowledge of the fundamentals of artistic composition and craft
  • ability to read as writers, analyzing in works by published authors the ways in which literary meaning is made
  • ability to evaluate and analyze the techniques and intentions of literary manuscripts and to participate in constructive critical discussion of such works
  • preparation for entry into the public life of literature, which includes locating their own work in the context of contemporary literary practice, preparing their work according to professional standards, teaching creative writing, and participating in diverse literary communities


33 units

All courses are 3 units.

Fiction Concentration

  • MFA 651 Developments in the Novel
  • MFA 655 The Architecture of Prose
  • MFA 661 Evolution of the Short Story
  • MFA 662 Contemporary Experiments in Fiction
  • MFA 671 The Techniques of Long Fiction
  • MFA 672 The Craft of Short Fiction
  • MFA 680 Style in Fiction
  • MFA 687 Point of View and Characterization
  • MFA 688 Finding Form: Novellas and Story Cycles
  • MFA 692 Strategies in Contemporary International Fiction

Nonfiction Concentration

  • MFA 673 Truth, Ethics, and Memory
  • MFA 682 Nonfiction Theory & Technique
  • MFA 683 The History of Nonfiction
  • MFA 684 Contemporary Experiments in Nonfiction
  • MFA 690 Special Topics in Nonfiction

Poetry Concentration

  • MFA 654 Contemporary American Poetry
  • MFA 664 Poetry International
  • MFA 674 Prosody: The Meaning of Poetic Form
  • MFA 686 Poetics
  • MFA 690 Special Topics in Poetry

Cross Genre

  • MFA 650 Word for Word: The Texture of Language
  • MFA 653 Research for Writers
  • MFA 663 Ethical Issues in Writing
  • MFA 670 Intention and Design in Prose
  • MFA 681 Blurred Boundaries: Writing Beyond Genre
  • MFA 675 Teaching Creative Writing
  • MFA 690 Professional Development
  • MFA 690 Special Topics


Long fiction, short fiction, mixed fiction, nonfiction, and poetry workshops

  • MFA 612 Writing Workshop I
  • MFA 622 Writing Workshop II
  • MFA 632 Writing Workshop III
  • MFA 642 Writing Workshop IV


  • MFA 689 Thesis I
  • MFA 699 Thesis II

In Thesis I and Thesis II, 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
  • collection of stories
  • poetry collection
  • collection of creative nonfiction
  • purposeful combination of these genres

Contact Info

MFA in Writing

Micah Ballard, Administrative Director

Kalmanovitz Hall 302 (415) 422-6066 (415) 422-6996