The Program in Creative Writing offers a M.F.A. degree program. However, unusually well-qualified Ph.D. students in the Department of English may obtain permission to submit a creative dissertation for the doctoral degree; the Program in Creative Writing assumes responsibility for granting permission for the option of the creative dissertation and for approving the dissertation once it is completed. Contact the director of graduate studies in the Department of English for more information.
The Master of Fine Arts degree in English (creative writing) requires 48 s.h. of graduate credit taken over four semesters in residence at the University of Iowa. Students specialize in fiction or poetry.
The program is flexible and individualized. Approximately half of the credit required for the degree is earned in writing courses; the rest may be earned in other graduate courses. Up to 18 s.h. of graduate transfer credit may be counted toward the degree, but transfer credit does not change the residency requirement.
Students must enroll in CW:7870 Fiction Workshop or CW:7875 Poetry Workshop during each semester of residence in the program. In each course, groups of 10-15 students read and critique each other's work.
The program's seminars provide students with a thorough knowledge of their chosen literary form and related aspects of craft. Seminars include CW:7810 Form of Fiction, CW:7820 Form of Poetry, CW:7830 Seminar: Problems in Modern Fiction, and CW:7840 Seminar: Problems in Modern Poetry. Each focuses on a single aspect of modern poetry or fiction, such as a single writer's work or a body of work with a common theme or purpose.
In addition to taking Creative Writing Program courses, many M.F.A. students choose courses offered by other University of Iowa departments and programs, such as the interdisciplinary Center for the Book (Graduate College), the Department of Theatre Arts, the Comparative Literature Program, and the Department of English.
During the second year of the program, each student must take the M.F.A. examination, an essay exam that may be written outside of the classroom. Students submit their graduate thesis during the last semester, CW:7895 M.F.A. Thesis; the thesis is a fiction or poetry manuscript of substantial length.
Applicants to the Creative Writing Program (Iowa Writers' Workshop) must meet the program's admission requirements as well as those of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.
A creative writing manuscript is the most important element of the application for admission to the workshop. Submissions for poetry should include 10-12 poems. Submissions for fiction should include two or three short stories or a section of a novel, or both, usually 30-80 double-spaced pages (may not exceed 100 double-spaced pages).
Other application materials include a personal statement, official transcripts from all universities and colleges attended, the graduate application form, three letters of recommendation, an application for graduate awards, and an application to the Graduate College.
For detailed information on application materials and procedures, see How to Apply on the Iowa Writers' Workshop website.
Financial assistance is available to Creative Writing Program students in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistants, and fellowships. See Financial Aid on the Iowa Writers' Workshop website.