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Online Writing Courses

Curriculum Details

48 total credits required

The online MFA Writing program requires 48 credit hours from online writing courses. Students may take courses in any order and select from any genre. Students may opt to customize the MFA program with a concentration in fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction. Students pursuing a concentration must select at least one online writing course from the list for their chosen genre.

Fiction Emphasis Foundational Options

This course is an in-depth study of foundational craft elements for writing literary short fiction. Elements include short story structure and plot arc; use of first, second, and third person in fiction; techniques for character development and effective description; use of dialogue; use of flashback scenes; and study of experimental fiction techniques. Includes theory and application through writing exercises. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Fiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational classic literary fiction and its authors, including study of the schools of literary criticism. Authors studied will include masters of the literary novel and the literary short story form who have contributed important work to the literary canon, such as Austen, Conrad, Joyce, Wharton, and Orwell. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Fiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational contemporary literary fiction and its authors, including the study and practice of close-reading techniques. Authors studied will include emerging fiction writers currently publishing important works, as well as contemporary masters in the field of literary short fiction and the novel, such as Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and Toni Morrison. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Fiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

Creative Nonfiction Emphasis Foundational Options (27 hours with at least one of the following)

This course is an in-depth study of foundational craft elements for writing literary creative nonfiction. Elements include essay structure for traditional narrative and lyric essays; techniques for development of self as character and effective description; use of dialogue and summary; and inclusion of light learning and research. Includes theory and application through writing exercises. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Creative Nonfiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational classic literary creative nonfiction and its authors, including study of literary criticism. Authors studied will include masters of memoir and the literary personal essay who have contributed important work to the history of the form, such as McCarthy, Hemingway, Conroy, and Thurber. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Creative Nonfiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational contemporary memoir and literary personal essay and its authors, including the study and practice of close-reading techniques. Authors studied will include emerging creative nonfiction writers currently publishing important works, as well as contemporary masters in the field of literary creative nonfiction, such as Karr, Didion, Wolff, and Angelou. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Creative Nonfiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

Poetry Emphasis Foundation Options

This course is an in-depth study of foundational craft elements for writing literary poetry. Elements include classic poetic forms and contemporary poetic style; use of enjambment and stanza breaks for effect; techniques for creative language usage and effective description; development of the poet’s voice; and use of thematic references and literary allusions. Includes theory and application through writing exercises. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Poetry emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational classic literary poetry and its authors, including study of poetic literary criticism. Authors studied will include masters in the field of poetry who have contributed important work to the literary canon, such as Donne, Shakespeare, Blake, Keats, Woodsworth, Eliot, and Yeats. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Poetry emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational contemporary literary poetry and its authors, including the study and practice of close-reading techniques. Authors studied will include emerging poets currently publishing important works, as well as contemporary masters in the field of poetry, such as Glück, Shihab Nye, Forché, Simic, Laurentiis, and Shaughnessy. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Poetry emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

Core Courses Options (Choose 18 credit hours)

This course requires intensive study and practice of fundamental writing skills, including the mechanics of writing, grammar basics, and sentence-level editing, as well as foundational literary writing techniques. Students will also study the guidelines and process of workshopping creative writing; students will practice these response techniques through the analysis of published work.

This course offers structured practice in poetry and fiction writing for MFA students. The course concerns the development of original work through workshop, writing exercises, and assigned projects.

This course includes readings in short fiction by major authors working in modes ranging from realistic to abstract. Introduces aesthetic and strategic concepts with a focus on narrative, theme, character, and style.

Readings in poetry ranging from antiquity to present, with attention to changing forms, styles, and subjects as connected to the cultural experience.

This course offers advanced practice in poetry and fiction writing for MFA students. The course concerns the development of original work through workshop, writing exercises, and assigned projects.

This course offers further readings in poetry ranging from antiquity to present, with attention to changing forms, styles, and subjects as connected to the cultural experience.

This course is an intensive poetry writing workshop in which each student will produce several pieces of original work and submit them to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision.

This course is an intensive fiction writing workshop in which each student will produce several pieces of original work and submit them to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision. Workshop pieces will be submitted in professional format for literary short fiction.

This course is an intensive nonfiction writing workshop in which each student will produce several pieces of original work and submit them to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision. Workshop pieces will be submitted in professional format for creative nonfiction and journalistic pieces.

This course is an intensive scriptwriting workshop in which each student will produce several pieces of original work and submit them to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision. Workshop pieces will be submitted in professional format for film and television scripts.

This course serves as a discussion of original poetry with a focus on technique, purpose, and the creative process. Through submission of individual work and development of critical response, students address the question: how does one create and enhance the poem?

This course serves as an overview of the machinery of the poem, including imagery, language, rhythm, syntax, form, accessibility, and mood. Focus is given to ways in which these parts produce the overall experience of the poem. 

This course is a study of major poets and poetry schools, with attention to evolution of craft and the influence of historical and cultural experience. Emphases may vary from term to term.

This course is an advanced overview of the machinery of the poem, including imagery, language, rhythm, syntax, form, accessibility, and mood. Focus is given to ways in which these parts produce the overall experience of the poem.

This course offers further study of major poets and poetry schools, with attention to evolution of craft and the influence of historical and cultural experience. Emphases may vary from term to term.

This course is intended for students who are at an advanced stage in their writing development; it is an intensive fiction writing workshop in which each student will produce several pieces of original work and submit them to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision.

This course is intended for students who are at an advanced stage in their writing development; it is an intensive nonfiction writing workshop in which each student will produce several pieces of original work and submit them to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision.

This course is intended for students who have already successfully completed IMF 52400, the Focused Scriptwriting Workshop, and are at an advanced stage in their writing development; it is an intensive scriptwriting workshop in which each student will produce several pieces of original work and submit them to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision.

This course will serve as a discussion of original short fiction with a focus on thematic purpose and the creative process. Students simultaneously increase their proficiency as fiction writers and deepen their critical responses to the work of peers.

This course is an exploration of the machinery of the short story and the novel, including narrative arc, theme, character, style, and point of view. Readings and discussions focus on the way each component is employed in both short and long fiction.

This course is a study of major fiction writers and their historical and cultural connection to literature. Emphases may vary from term to term.

This course is an advanced exploration of the machinery of the short story and the novel, including narrative arc, theme, character, style, and point of view. Readings and discussions focus on the way each component is employed in both short and long fiction.

This course is an intensive writing workshop in a specific genre of writing. Each student will produce several pieces of original work and submit them to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision.

This literature course focuses on the study and analysis of genre fiction. Emphases studied may include Children?s Literature, Young Adult Literature, Romance, Mystery, and Science Fiction/Fantasy. Study will include novels by authors using literary writing techniques and working in modes ranging from realistic to abstract. Introduces aesthetic and strategic concepts with a focus on narrative, theme, character, and style.

This craft and workshop course focuses on creation and discussion of original genre fiction with a focus on thematic purpose and the creative process. Workshop pieces may include Children?s Literature, Young Adult Literature, Romance, Mystery, and Science Fiction/Fantasy. Students simultaneously increase their proficiency as fiction writers and deepen their critical responses to the work of peers.

This course is a discussion of original nonfiction pieces, including personal essays, lyric essays, and memoir chapters. Students will focus on incorporating personal experience and both narrative and lyrical elements into a nonfiction piece.

This course will focus on the wellspring of memory and reflection and the employment of narrative in creative nonfiction. Students will discuss a variety of personal essays and at least one memoir, noting the use of voice, character development, sense of place and time, and narrative arc.

This course is a study of the intersection of creative nonfiction and poetry, in which poetic devices such as fragment, imaginative language, and line breaks are used to create the nonfiction piece. Students will read and discuss numerous examples of lyric essays.

This course is an in-depth study of foundational craft elements for writing literary short fiction. Elements include short story structure and plot arc; use of first, second, and third person in fiction; techniques for character development and effective description; use of dialogue; use of flashback scenes; and study of experimental fiction techniques. Includes theory and application through writing exercises. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Fiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an in-depth study of foundational craft elements for writing literary creative nonfiction. Elements include essay structure for traditional narrative and lyric essays; techniques for development of self as character and effective description; use of dialogue and summary; and inclusion of light learning and research. Includes theory and application through writing exercises. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Creative Nonfiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an in-depth study of foundational craft elements for writing literary poetry. Elements include classic poetic forms and contemporary poetic style; use of enjambment and stanza breaks for effect; techniques for creative language usage and effective description; development of the poet’s voice; and use of thematic references and literary allusions. Includes theory and application through writing exercises. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Poetry emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course serves as a discussion of original prose, in which students concentrate on a chosen specialty (fiction or creative nonfiction.) Students pay particular attention to elements that exist in both genres, as well as the application of factual and fictional information in prose.

This course is a study and analysis of single author collections in fiction and/or creative nonfiction. Emphasis is given to the ways in which individual stories and essays make up a body of work.

This course is an overview of literary journal publication, from the submission process as a writer to the production of a journal as an editor. Students examine a variety of literary journals, and some focus is given to evaluation of what makes a poem, story, or essay ?publishable.?

This course is an advanced overview of literary journal publication, from the submission process as a writer to the production of a journal as an editor. Students examine a variety of literary journals, and some focus is given to evaluation of what makes a poem, story, or essay “publishable.”

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational classic literary fiction and its authors, including study of the schools of literary criticism. Authors studied will include masters of the literary novel and the literary short story form who have contributed important work to the literary canon, such as Austen, Conrad, Joyce, Wharton, and Orwell. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Fiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational classic literary creative nonfiction and its authors, including study of literary criticism. Authors studied will include masters of memoir and the literary personal essay who have contributed important work to the history of the form, such as McCarthy, Hemingway, Conroy, and Thurber. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Creative Nonfiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational classic literary poetry and its authors, including study of poetic literary criticism. Authors studied will include masters in the field of poetry who have contributed important work to the literary canon, such as Donne, Shakespeare, Blake, Keats, Woodsworth, Eliot, and Yeats. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Poetry emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

Researching and writing short news accounts, brights, and traditional features for newspapers and magazines are the goals of this course.

In this course, students will gain practice in the art of literary feature writing, and the use of fiction and storytelling techniques to write nonfiction articles, profiles, and documentary narrative.

This course is a survey of the evolution of journalism traditions, ethics, history, and technology.

This literature course explores the machinery of the literary novel, including narrative arc, theme, character, style, and point of view. Critical discussion and study will include focus on the way each component is employed in long fiction. Students will analyze works from both a literary analysis perspective and a writer?s perspective.

This course offers further discussion of original prose, in which students concentrate on a chosen specialty (fiction or creative nonfiction). Students pay particular attention to elements that exist in both genres, as well as the application of factual and fictional information in prose.

This craft and workshop course focuses on creation and discussion of original long fiction with a focus on thematic purpose and the creative process. Students simultaneously increase their proficiency as fiction writers and deepen their critical responses to the work of peers. Workshop sessions will focus on individual novel chapters, as students work toward completing and polishing a full literary novel.

This course serves as a discussion of original film and television scripts and their essential elements. Students learn to develop a script in a professional format.

This course includes a focus on dramatic development in scriptwriting and film, including important narrative elements such as suspense, confrontation, and resolution.

This course is an exploration of the three-act film and two-act television sitcom structure. Students will analyze well-known examples of exposition, script beats, dialogue, conflict, character, and scene creation.

This course is an advanced discussion of original film and television scripts and their essential elements. Students learn to develop a script in a professional format.

This course offers further study of the three-act film and two-act television sitcom structure. Students will analyze well-known examples of exposition, script beats, dialogue, conflict, character, and scene creation.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational contemporary literary fiction and its authors, including the study and practice of close-reading techniques. Authors studied will include emerging fiction writers currently publishing important works, as well as contemporary masters in the field of literary short fiction and the novel, such as Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and Toni Morrison. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Fiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational contemporary memoir and literary personal essay and its authors, including the study and practice of close-reading techniques. Authors studied will include emerging creative nonfiction writers currently publishing important works, as well as contemporary masters in the field of literary creative nonfiction, such as Karr, Didion, Wolff, and Angelou. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Creative Nonfiction emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

This course is an intensive survey and analysis of foundational contemporary literary poetry and its authors, including the study and practice of close-reading techniques. Authors studied will include emerging poets currently publishing important works, as well as contemporary masters in the field of poetry, such as Glück, Shihab Nye, Forché, Simic, Laurentiis, and Shaughnessy. This course is highly recommended for students declaring a Poetry emphasis for the MFA in Writing degree.

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Required (3 hours)

The graduate thesis is required for the final three credit hours of the MFA in Writing program. Students receive instructor feedback and guidance during the term as they produce a 50-page final creative portfolio in their chosen genre (fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction).

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