Write the stories you’re passionate about. Your admittance into the program is based on your genre of choice: poetry, nonfiction, or fiction. Focus on your genre during your required workshops and thesis, and explore different genres along the way through your elective courses.

Writing Workshop Courses (20 Credits Required)

Poetry Workshops

Number Course Credits
WR 605 *Poetry Workshop 4
WR 610 Form in Poetry 4

Nonfiction Workshops

Number Course Credits
WR 613 *Nonfiction Workshop 4
WR 655 Writing the Nonfiction Book 4
PB 687 Column Writing 4
PB 676 Magazine Writing 4
WR 515 Topics in Nonfiction (summer offering) 4

Fiction Workshops

Number Course Credits
WR 606 *Fiction Workshop 4
WR 608 Special Topics in Fiction 4
WR 652 Novel Workshop 4

*Genre Workshops may be taken more than once

Electives Course Sampling (12 credits) 

Number Course Credits
PB 679 The Editor/Writer Relationship 4
WR 652 Novel Workshop 4
PB 676 Magazine Writing 4
PB 683 Book Publishing Overview 4

Literature Course Sampling (12 credits)

Number Course Credits
LI 615 Topics in Multiple Genres and Hybrid Forms: Cities and Citizenry: Writing the City of the Present 4
LI 625 Topics in Fiction: Comedy, Humor, and Craft in Contemporary Fiction and Nonfiction 4
LI 635 Travel Literature  4
LI 637 Construction of Taste 4

MFA Thesis (4 credits)

Number Course Credits
WR 699 MFA Thesis 4

Elective Alternative: Focus in Translation*

Translation / Global Engagement Focus, 8 credits

You can fulfill elective requirements by taking two classes from the following options: 

  1. A class offered at the Emerson campus, such as the Translation Seminar or the Translating Cultures course (both listed under the Topics LI 615 number)
  2. A course from one of the Global Pathways Programs
  3. Directed study. You will complete a required translation project as part of this focus; You can do so as part of the work in one of the classes and options listed above.

*Approval from the Graduate Program Director is required for this focus

Elective Alternative: Teaching College Composition*

4 credits

Each year, a select number of graduate students in Writing, Literature, and Publishing learn to teach writing at the undergraduate level. 

Teaching College Composition is a 4-credit, one-semester course that prepares you to teach at Emerson and other institutions after graduation.

Although taking the course does not guarantee a part-time teaching position at Emerson, students who have completed the course are interviewed by faculty and may be offered appointments. Many students find this elective as a valuable tool when pursuing jobs after graduation.

MFA Thesis

At the conclusion of your coursework, you will submit and defend a “near publishable” manuscript in one genre to be approved by a thesis committee. You must complete at least 16 credits (four courses) of the required 20 credits of workshops in the genre of your thesis. 

Your thesis may consist of a collection of poems, short stories, essays, a novel, a novel excerpt, or a nonfiction book or excerpt. Minimum required lengths for MFA theses vary according to genre.

Sample Curriculum Map

Our Creative Writing MFA can be completed full-time in 3 years, or part-time over 4-6 years. This sample curriculum map is designed to give you an idea of your course load as a full-time student over 3 years. For full course information review our Course Catalog. 

Full-time Sample Curriculum Map

Program Start - September

Fall Semester 1 (8 credits)

  • Writing Workshop in Chosen Genre
  • Literature Course

Spring Semester  1 (8 credits)

  • Writing Workshop in Chosen Genre
  • Literature Course

Fall Semester 2 (8 credits)

  • Writing Workshop in Chosen Genre
  • Literature Course 

Spring Semester 2 (8 credits)

  • Writing Workshop in Chosen Genre
  • Elective Course

Fall Semester 3 (8 credits)

  • Writing Workshop - Any Genre 
  • Elective Course 

Spring Semester 3 (8 credits)

  • Master’s Thesis
  • Elective Course