MFA Learning Outcomes

Mission Statement…

Our selective and academically rigorous forty-eight credit, three-year program is designed to provide talented writers with the opportunity to work closely with both outstanding faculty and gifted peers to strengthen their craft, develop their literary aesthetics, enrich their understanding of existing traditions and compositional possibilities, and to participate actively in the life of the literary community at large. The MFA is a terminal degree, viewed within the profession as equivalent to the doctorate.


Programmatic Learning Goals

— Students will develop and refine their individual writerly voices, produce literary work of a high quality, and demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their own aesthetics, as well as the literary models and cultural sources of those aesthetics.

— Students will actively engage in a wider literary culture and community, whether at the local, regional, national, or international level.

— Students will develop constructive workshop practices and demonstrate the ability to read closely and respond perceptively and critically to the writing of their fellow M.F.A. students.

— Students will demonstrate an advanced comprehension of editing and revision techniques and strategies, which include synthesizing challenges, advice and critiques from professors and fellow M.F.A. students.

— Students will develop, hone and articulate a keen sense of their artistic and career goals.

Poetry Learning Outcomes

— Students will demonstrate a skillful use or knowledge of major poetic devices, such as metaphor, imagery, lineation, persona, types of rhythm, rhyme and other sonic effects.

Acceptable___Unacceptable___  Exemplary___

— Students will demonstrate the use or knowledge of classic poetic forms, such as the sonnet, the ode, and the elegy, as well as other      contemporary, experimental, or avant-garde forms.

Acceptable___  Unacceptable___  Exemplary___

— In a statement of purpose or aesthetics that is part of their thesis manuscript, as well as in an exit interview/thesis defense, students will appraise and locate their own work within literary and cultural contexts.

Acceptable___  Unacceptable___  Exemplary___

>Fiction Learning Outcomes

— Students will demonstrate the use or knowledge of effective approaches for creating sustained works of fiction distinguished by a nuanced use of appropriate narrative elements, techniques, and conventions (plot, character, voice, scene, exposition, pacing, sensory description, setting, point of view, action, dialog, mood, etc.).

Acceptable___  Unacceptable___ Exemplary___

— Students will demonstrate a highly developed proficiency in understanding and creating story structures appropriate to their purpose and audience, as well as to their chosen literary modes and styles (e.g., realism, minimalism, experimentalism, speculative fiction, etc.)

Acceptable___  Unacceptable___  Exemplary___

— In a statement of purpose or aesthetics that is part of their thesis manuscript, as well as in an exit interview/thesis defense, students will appraise and locate their own work within literary and cultural contexts.

Acceptable___  Unacceptable___  Exemplary___

Assessment Process

A polished, book-length creative thesis is the capstone project of the    M.F.A curriculum.  Assessment of learning outcomes are conducted through a comprehensive review of each student’s thesis by the student’s thesis director and second reader (always a member of the M.F.A faculty).  Each thesis will be assessed as “Acceptable,” “Unacceptable,” or “Exemplary.”
In addition, to determine each student’s comprehension of the literary antecedents and cultural contexts of their work, and to evaluate his or her written and oral articulation of personal aesthetics, an exit interview (or in some cases, a traditional “thesis defense”) will be conducted by members of the MFA faculty. The exit interview/thesis defense will be assessed using the rubrics “Acceptable,” Unacceptable,” or “Exemplary.”


Clint McCown, Director of Creative Writing
Thom Didato, Graduate Programs Advisor

Upcoming Deadlines

Fall Break
OCTOBER 19, 2017

Course Withdrawal Deadline
NOVEMBER 03, 2017

Thanksgiving Holiday Break
NOVEMBER 22, 2017

Last Day of Classes
DECEMBER 08, 2017

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