MFA Program Requirements

The Program in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama offers a lively and innovative 48-hour course of study culminating in the MFA degree. 

The MFA thesis and its oral defense are required of all degree candidates. While this final project usually consists of a book-length manuscript, theses that are not strictly print-based may also be submitted. Thesis projects are prepared under direction of a thesis adviser. Candidates for the MFA are examined on their final projects by a committee of four faculty members.

Students in the program in creative writing give a presentation of a significant portion of their own written work produced while in residence. In this public reading/performance, the student exhibits his or her work before an audience of peers, faculty, and the general public. Installments of our MFA student reading series are held in various locations around Tuscaloosa, while the introductions themselves are always an unexpected verbal, visual or theatrical event.

Candidates for the MFA degree are required to spend a minimum of two semesters in residence and to complete 48 hours of graduate-level coursework, divided as follows. Half of all coursework must be at the 600 level.

24 hours in graduate-level writing workshops and forms courses [3 hours each]. These courses may be repeated for credit. All MFA students are welcome to take any of these courses:

  • EN 601 Fiction Workshop
  • EN 603 Poetry Workshop
  • EN 605 Nonfiction Workshop
  • EN 608 Forms of Writing. These courses examine traditional and contemporary practice. Students read primary works and theory, and respond with their own creative writing. Sample topics include: Comedy, Characterization Across Genre, Reiteration, Collaboration, The Mock Essay, The Uses of History, Autobiography, Creative Writing for Kids, Modes of Political Poetry, The First Person, Modern Poetics, Research Methods, Envionmental Poetics, Constructions of Authorship, Contemporary Rural and Agricultural Literature, The Personal Essay, Anthologizing Anthologies, Fabulist Fiction, [Re]Mark[s] of the Beast, Under the Influence: Post-Modern Poetics, Research Methods for Creative Writers, Classics for Contemporaries, Elegy. 

3 hours in EN 609: Writers at Work: Form. Theory. Practice. [1 hour each] This short course examines a specialized topic of interest to creative writers. May be repeated for credit. Sample topics include: Teaching Creative Writing, Magazine Scene, Public Poetry, Writing Internship, Academic Job Market, Publishing: A Brief History, Poetry & Performance, The Sentence, Writing about Animals, Travel Writing, Creative Criticism.

9 hours in literature, criticism, or linguistics courses [3 hours each] in the Department of English at the 500 or 600 level.

6 hours in any elective course at the 500 or 600 level [3 hours each] in English, a foreign language or literature, The Program in Book Arts, Women's Studies, American Studies, or any other department in the University.

6 hours in EN 599 (thesis preparation).

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