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The Department of English offers a two-year studio/academic program in fiction or poetry leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree. The program provides an opportunity for students of superior and demonstrated ability in imaginative writing to develop their skills and critical judgment through the practice of writing and the study of literature. The aim of the program is to prepare talented students for careers in writing. Degree candidates are expected to produce a book-length work of literary value and publishable quality.
Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher; applicants should submit GRE scores (general aptitude and analytical writing); one official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work; three letters of recommendation; and two writing samples, one creative, one critical. Creative sample: for fiction, two short stories, or for a novel, three chapters (or one chapter and a short story) totaling 25-40 pages; for poetry, 12 complete poems. Critical sample: no more than 15 pages of writing demonstrating your ability to succeed in graduate-level literature classes, a required part of the MFA curriculum.
Requirements for the MFA in Creative Writing
Candidates for the MFA degree must complete a total of 36 credits. Eighteen of these are taken in the area of writing specialization. These include workshop courses (12 credits) and thesis (6 credits). The remaining credits are taken in literature (6 credits) and elective areas (12 credits, including 6 credit hours of teaching preparation for those on a composition teaching assistantship). In their final semester, students must pass a comprehensive written examination on writing craft, based on a book list selected jointly by the student and the faculty. The final thesis must be a book-length manuscript in the student's field of interest. In fiction, an approximate 200 pages are expected; in poetry, 60 pages. See program website for specific requirements by concentration.
Student Financial Support
All students admitted to the MFA program are eligible for teaching assistantships. TAs in the MFA train to teach undergraduate composition courses, and a few selected creative writing classes.
Other Relevant Information
Application deadline is February 1. Students are admitted for the fall semester only.
The English department has a long tradition of academic and literary excellence, including its heritage of writers from Guy Owen to Lee Smith. The strength of NCSU in the sciences offers students the opportunity to do creative work that engages with issues of technology and its effect on individuals and institutions that are not typically addressed in fine arts programs.
Through the NC State Literary Readings Series, the department sponsors readings and visits by distinguished poets, fiction and non-fiction writers.