MFA Coursework & Program of Study

An innovative MFA program at Iowa State University that fuses creative writing workshops, interdisciplinary coursework, and intensive field experience to help writers cultivate an understanding of the imprint of place, the natural world, and the environmental imagination on the poems, stories, and essays we create.

D E G R E E   R E Q U I R E M E N T S

CORE REQUIREMENTS (9 CREDITS):

  • ENGL 550: Creative Writing: Craft and Professional Practice — Taken in First Semester of Program
  • ENGL 551:  Master Workshop — Advanced Workshop on Thesis, Taken in Fifth Semester of Program
  • ENGL 543: Environmental Literature OR any literature graduate course with emphasis in environment, ecology, or science

CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS (12 CREDITS):

Students may choose workshops from the following, and may repeat any up to a maximum of 12 credits for each course.

Every genre workshop offers a component on environmental or place-based creative writing.

  • ENGL 552x: Scriptwriting
  • ENGL 554: Workshop: Fiction
  • ENGL 555: Workshop: Nonfiction
  • ENGL 556: Workshop: Poetry
  • ENGL 557:  Studies in Creative Writing — Special Topics Course
  • ENGL 595b:  Graduate Study and Travel: Creative Writing

ELECTIVES IN CREATIVE WRITING (6 CREDITS):

Students may choose from the following:

  • ENGL 557:  Studies in Creative Writing—Special Topics Course*
  • ENGL 558: Teaching Creative Writing
  • ENGL 559: Creative Writing Teaching Internship
  • ENGL 589:  Supervised Practicum in Literary Editing
  • ENGL 595b: Graduate Study and Travel: Creative Writing

*Students may take a graduate course in literature, linguistics, or RPC instead of ENGL 557 in this category with approval of the POS committee.

ENVIRONMENTAL FIELD EXPERIENCE (3 CREDITS)

Students may repeat up to a maximum of 6 credits, 3 of which can be used in the POS.

Students design and complete a field experience relevant to their writing interests.

  • ENGL 560: Environmental Field Experience

Click here to download MFA Guidelines for Completion of ENGL 560

Click here to download MFA Environmental Field Experience (Engl 560) Proposal Form

ENVIRONMENTAL COURSES IN DISCIPLINES OUTSIDE THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT (12 CREDITS):

Students design, in consultation with their adviser/major professor, a self-tailored core of interdisciplinary courses that allow them to pursue fields of knowledge relevant to their writing projects.  Selections can be made from any Iowa State University courses with an environmental focus offered outside the English Department. These courses may be at the graduate level; they may also be 300- or 400-level undergraduate courses used in accordance with English Department and Graduate College policy.

The MFA Environmental Courses Outside English Petition should be submitted to your adviser/major professor before taking environmental coursework and a complete petition by no later than week 7 of the student’s second semester of coursework even if it is a preliminary petition to be  updated later.

View List of Suggested Environmental Courses Outside English

ELECTIVE IN LITERATURE  (3 CREDITS):

Students may choose from any graduate literature courses in the English Department.

  • Elective in Literature

OPEN ELECTIVE IN ENGLISH (3 CREDITS):

TAs may use ENGL 500 or 3 credits of SP CM 513 to fulfill this requirement.

  • Open Elective in English Department graduate courses

 THESIS WORK (6 CREDITS):

Students work intensively with a major professor to complete MFA thesis. ENGL 599: Creative Component is not an option.

  • ENGL 699:  Thesis/Research–intensive one-on-one thesis work with major professor.

Frequently Asked Questions

TOTAL PROGRAM OF STUDY : 54 credits minimum