Program goals

Our selective and academically rigorous 48-credit-hour, three-year program is designed to provide talented writers with the opportunity to work closely with both outstanding faculty and gifted peers to strengthen their craft, develop their literary aesthetics, enrich their understanding of existing traditions as well as compositional possibilities, and to participate actively in the life of the literary community at large.

The primary areas of study are poetry and fiction, and admission is highly competitive. In addition to the poetry and fiction workshops, there are courses available that focus on writing drama, nonfiction and screenplays, as well as courses that provide practical experience in editing.

Student learning outcomes

Students in the M.F.A. in Creative Writing program will:

  1. Develop and refine their individual writerly voices, produce literary work of a high quality and demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their own aesthetics, as well as the literary models and cultural sources of those aesthetics
  2. Actively engage in a wider literary culture and community at the local, regional, national or international level
  3. Develop constructive workshop practices and demonstrate the ability to read closely and respond perceptively and critically to the writing of their fellow M.F.A. students
  4. Develop an advanced comprehension of editing and revision techniques and strategies, which include synthesizing challenges, advice and critiques from professors and fellow M.F.A. students
  5. Develop, hone and articulate a keen sense of their artistic and career goals

Student learning outcomes specific to fiction

  1. Demonstrate the use or knowledge of effective approaches for creating sustained works of fiction distinguished by a nuanced use of appropriate narrative elements, techniques and conventions
  2. Demonstrate a highly developed proficiency in understanding and creating story structures appropriate to their purpose and audience, as well as to their chosen literary modes and styles
  3. In a statement of purpose or aesthetics that is part of their thesis manuscripts, as well as in an exit interviews/thesis defense, appraise and locate their own work within literary and cultural contexts

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

The M.F.A. Guide may be accessed online.