M.F.A. Literary Practicum

(to be offered Fall semester beginning Fall 2018)

Course Description

This 4-unit CR/NC practicum course prepares Creative Writing graduate students to take the MFA Comprehensive exam; also to develop and begin writing an MFA thesis. The practicum will provide a forum for peer review to assist MFA candidates as they customize the MFA exam reading list and prepare to take the MFA comprehensive exam. The practicum will also provide a forum for MFA candidates for drafting the thesis abstract and thesis preface. MFA candidates will consult with their individual thesis directors and thesis readers on their Thesis Committees at the start of the semester to create a thesis completion plan. The candidates will be guided by their MFA thesis directors during the semester, sharing thesis drafts with other students in the same primary genre via Canvas. Students will post texts of their thesis abstracts and introductions and portions of their thesis project. During the semester, students will receive comments on their drafts from other MFA candidates working in the same genre, and from the candidate’s thesis director and thesis readers. 

Course Goals and Student Learning Objectives

A degree candidate in the MFA program must complete a book-length work of publishable quality in the candidate’s primary genre (or a full length play or screenplay). Also, an MFA candidate must demonstrate a substantial ability to articulate and analyze the literary influences on his/her writing. To gain such an understanding, MFA candidates will accomplish the following objectives in this practicum course:

  • Devise an MFA thesis completion plan, assisted by your thesis director.
  • Customize the MFA exam reading list to prepare for taking the MFA comprehensive exam, consulting with your thesis director.
  • Take the Fall MFA comprehensive exam, or sign up to take the Spring MFA exam.
  • Write an MFA thesis abstract—may be revised if your thesis project changes substantially after you finish writing it.
  • Write an introduction to your thesis, reflecting on and analyzing important literary influences on your writing. Base your introduction on your MFA thesis proposal. Post your thesis introduction on Canvas for other candidates to read on comment on.
  • Revise MFA abstract and thesis introduction in response to peers’ and thesis committee members’ comments.
  • Post sections (chapters, scenes, poems, etc.) of your thesis on Canvas for other MFA candidates in the practicum to read and comment on.
  • Consult during the semester with your MFA director and thesis readers on the progress you’re making to complete your thesis manuscript.
  • Learn about journals (digital and print) where you can submit your work for publication.