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Course of Study

This page provides a detailed course of study for the Creative Writing MFA program. For more information about the program, contact the English Department's graduate advisor, Marilyn Boutwell, at marilyn.boutwell@liu.edu.

Please visit The Longest Island (the English Department's blog) for further information about the MFA and the other programs and activities of the Department.

M.F.A. in Creative Writing (39 credits)

Process & Techniques Courses

Required: All three of the following.

English 502 Writers on Writing (3 credits)
English 503 Theory of Writing (3 credits)
English 504 Traditions & Lineages (3 credits)

Writing Workshops

Required: Fifteen credits from the following.

English 520 Nonfiction Writing Workshop (3 credits / may be taken only once)
English 523 Fiction Writing Workshop (3 credits / may be taken three times)
English 524 Poetry Writing Workshop (3 credits / may be taken three times)
English 525 Play Writing Workshop (3 credits / may be taken three times)
English 526 Writing for Media I: The Story (3 credits / may be taken only once)
English 528 Seminar in Creative Writing (3 credits / may be taken three times)
English 529 Topics in Creative Writing (1 credit / may be taken six times)

Literature Courses

Required: Three Literature courses (3 credits each).

English Elective with Research Component

Required: One English elective (3 credits), chosen in consultation with Graduate Advisor and MFA Director.

Thesis

Required: English 708 Thesis (3 credits).

Possible Additional Requirements

In addition to the course requirements listed above, Teaching Assistants are required to take English 646 Individual & Small Group Writing Instruction. Teaching Fellows are required to take English 700 Practicum in the Teaching of Writing.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS AS THEY APPEAR IN THE GRADUATE BULLETIN

See the Graduate Bulletin for descriptions of Literature courses and for more detailed information about prerequisites, permissions, etc.

English 502 Writers on Writing
Students will attend a weekly series of readings, lectures, and discussions by visiting writers. With a faculty member, students will read and analyze the works of a range of prominent and emerging writers and then interact with the writers themselves in the classroom.

English 503 Theory of Writing
This seminar concentrates on major twentieth and twenty-first century theorists of poetry and fiction, many of whom are great creative writers themselves. The course makes the connection between literary theory and the work of the creative writer. Among the works under discussion are the theoretical texts of Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire, Julia Kristeva, Lyn Hejinian, Charles Olson, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Amiri Baraka, Virginia Woolf, M.M. Bakhtin, Alain Robbe-Grillet. The emphasis will be on a close reading of these texts in order to understand the place of theory in students' own creative writing.

English 504 Traditions and Lineages
This seminar concentrates on the major literary movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including Dada, Imagism, Objectivism, The Harlem Renaissance, Surrealism, Black Mountain, The Beat Generation, Magic Realism, and The New York School. Among the writers under discussion are Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Jean Toomer, Lorine Neidecker, Langston Hughes, Andre Breton, Allen Ginsberg, Garcia Marquez, and Frank O'Hara. Emphasis will be on a close reading of these writers in order to understand the traditions behind our own work.

English 520 Nonfiction Writing Workshop
An intensive workshop devoted to writing literary nonfiction. Class time will be spent critiquing each other's writing and discussing traditional and experimental forms.

English 523 Fiction Writing Workshop
An intensive workshop devoted to writing works of fiction. Class time will be spent critiquing each other's writing and discussing traditional and experimental forms.

English 524 Poetry Writing Workshop
An intensive workshop devoted to writing works of poetry. Class time will be spent critiquing each other's writing and discussing traditional and experimental forms.

English 525 Play Writing Workshop
An intensive workshop devoted to writing plays. Class time will be spent critiquing each other's writing and discussing traditional and experimental forms.

English 526 Writing for Media I: The Story (same as Media Arts 550)
An introduction to the principles of story-telling. Students explore narrative, dramatic structure, character development, dialogue, and plot through analysis of television and film narratives. They complete a story treatment and short screen/teleplay as their final project.

English 528 Seminar in Creative Writing
An intensive workshop devoted to different strategies for writing imaginative texts, especially those that cross genres. Examples of special topics are: Collage: Image and Text, Science Fiction Writing, and The Prose Poem.

English 529 Topics in Creative Writing
This workshop will concentrate on a topic or craft element in creative writing.

English 705 Independent Study
A tutorial designed for advanced individual research or writing projects.

English 708 Thesis
The capstone project for the MFA takes the form of a portfolio of creative work with an analytical coda. Students work with thesis advisors.