Frequently Asked Questions

Can you tell me about your program?

We offer two degrees: the MA in English and the MFA in Creative Writing.  Both programs are two years, 32 credit hours, including six hours of thesis writing.  All graduate candidates are required to take English 600, Introduction to Graduate Studies, and a graduate-level theory course: English 630 for MA candidates, English 613 for MA Rhetoric candidates, and English 617 for MFA candidates.  All other courses are decided upon in consultation with a graduate advisor.  MA candidates may include two graduate courses outside of the department offerings, and MFA candidates may include one.  MFA candidates are required to complete two literature courses as part of their programs of study.

Our program is highly affordable.  As part of the application process, students are automatically considered for scholarships. Most of our students receive funding from the department. Additionally, upon admission candidates’ names are given to University Writing, who will offer the opportunity to apply/interview to teach Freshman Composition, Writing 150.  The salary for these courses is about $3400, and graduate students may teach one course their first semester and two each following semester.  Finally, throughout the academic year faculty propose opportunities for teaching and research mentorships.  These are awarded on a competitive basis and are generally for 12 hours per week, or around $3600 for the semester.


What are the prerequisites for the English MA/MFA programs?

An undergraduate degree in English or its equivalent is preferred. Ideally, applicants will have strong background in both American and British literature as well as a course in advanced critical theory (such as BYU’s English 451 or 452).


Can I apply if I lack the prerequisites?

You may apply if you lack prerequisites. However, the lack of prerequisites will be factored in by the admissions committee. Successful applicants without prerequisites may be required to take missing courses during their first year in the program.


What is the formal writing sample?

This sample should show the admissions committee that you are capable of graduate-level research and writing: polished style, meaningful argument, primary and secondary sources, citations, bibliography, etc. The subject of the paper does not necessarily need to be English or English-related. However, demonstrating disciplinary knowledge can certainly strengthen an application.


What are the parameters of the creative portfolio?

The creative portfolio must be in a single genre with the genre named (e.g., poetry, fiction, or essay): 20 pages double-spaced of prose OR 10 pages of poetry. Candidates must not exceed the stated limits.


How many letters of recommendation are required and must they be academic?

The application requires three letters of recommendation. Academic recommendations are strongly preferred; however, if these are not possible, be sure that recommenders speak to those skills which would qualify the candidate for graduate study in this field.


Should I take the general GRE or a subject exam?

Our program no longer requires that applicants take the GRE.


Can I work full time and still pursue a graduate degree?

This is possible, perhaps, but difficult. It may take longer than the usual two years, and you may have to take courses which do not necessarily fit your preferred program of study. Only a few evening classes are available. Students should consider these limitations before applying.