M.F.A. Thesis & Exam

Each creative writing student will:

  • submit a creative writing thesis (a collection of poems or stories, a novel, etc.) to the examining committee. The thesis will include an introductory essay in which the writer discusses her/his evolution as an artist and the evolution of the work. The committee consists of the thesis director, one other member of the graduate English faculty, and one member of the graduate faculty from outside the department.
  • give a public reading from the thesis on campus.

The Graduate School requires M.F.A. students to take and pass a final oral exam based on their thesis and coursework. Students take the exam after submitting their thesis to their committee (a copy should be delivered to each member seven working days before the final oral exam).

The exam must be scheduled for two hours, though its conduct is frequently briefer. Because everyone tends to get busy toward the end of the semester, students should schedule exams well in advance. Generally, students work with the advisers to determine a good time.

To schedule the final oral exam, students must submit a Masters Final Examination form to the Graduate School at least ten working days before the date of the final oral exam. The form is available at the Graduate School website and available from our Graduate Secretary, Lydia Apodaca. The form, containing the names of the examining committee and the time and place of the examination, must be signed by the student, the adviser, and the department head.

The examining committee consists of two members of the English graduate faculty and one member of the graduate faculty from the minor or a related department (who generally serves as the representative of the Graduate School). Students should obtain the consent of faculty members on the examining committee and should coordinate with them the date and time of the exam. Faculty members must have graduate status to serve on an exam committee. A list of graduate faculty is available here. The Graduate School can resolve any doubt about whether a faculty member has graduate status.

The Graduate School publishes deadlines each semester for scheduling the oral exam. Students should check with their adviser or with the Graduate School website to determine the deadline.

Students also are responsible for following Graduate School guidelines for submitting the thesis. Following the oral examination, the student is responsible for making appropriate revisions and submitting the thesis to the Graduate School by the deadline published by the Graduate School. Students should be aware of these deadlines.

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