M.F.A. in Writing/The Program
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The UNH English Department offers the MFA, the terminal degree in the field of creative writing. Candidates concentrate in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. The program emphasizes craft, learned in small workshops, and seeks students who plan to become professional writers after taking their degrees.
Fiction workshops are limited to twelve students, thus ensuring close and detailed criticism of manuscripts by faculty and graduate student colleagues. An ambitious visiting writers series and faculty and student readings provide a climate in which contemporary writing can flourish.
The poetry graduate program offers intensive study with serious, publishing authors. Workshops are small--no more than 12 students per class--and include individual conferences with instructors. For inspiration, the writers series has brought noted poets, including Nobel Prize winners, to campus. Several bookstores in the area hold poetry readings attended and/or run by graduates of the UNH Poetry Program. Students also take advantage of poetry readings in Boston, which is 90 minutes away.
The non-fiction graduate program emphasizes a range of writing styles, from traditional magazine to literary non-fiction to essay. Students are encouraged to experiment with their writing, to break away from the tried and true. They will work to add depth through detail acquired from thorough reporting, and to develop a strong sense of voice and point of view. Small writing workshops, complemented by individual conferences with faculty, provide the backbone of course work.
The MFA requires 12 courses (48 course credits): four workshops in the major genre, one form and theory course in the major genre, five elective courses that may include additional writing courses or courses from the English Department’s offerings in other fields (such as literature, linguistics, or composition studies), and 8 credit hours of the MFA Thesis. Teaching assistants are required to take English 910, Practicum in Teaching College Composition, as one of their electives.
MFA candidates write a book-length, publishable manuscript to complete the program. The minimum length of the thesis is 150 pages for fiction and nonfiction writers and 45 pages for poets. Students will work closely with a thesis advisor as they write and pass an oral defense of the thesis, a defense conducted by a three-member thesis committee of writing faculty.