The New Writers Project offers the degree of Master of Fine Arts. Our students typically fulfill their M.F.A. requirements in two years. A total of 36 semester hours of coursework, including the Master's Thesis, is required for the M.F.A. Students choose these hours with help from the Graduate Creative Writing Adviser.
Course requirements for M.F.A. in English
- 12 hours E385N Fiction — Oscar Cásares or E386L Poetry-Matthew Hart or WRT380 W Poetry-Dean Young (graduate writing workshops)
- 6 hours E380F or WRT 380 (Literature for Writers or Studies, topics vary)
- 3 (or more) additional hours in English, WRT, or Anglophone Literature at the discretion of the Graduate Adviser courses (literature or creative writing; may include graduate English, additional Literature for Writers, or additional workshops)
- Up to 6 additional hours may be taken outside of English
- Up to 3 hours of courses may be taken at the upper-division undergraduate level
- Up to 6 hours of Conference Courses for thesis preparation in the first year
- Up to 6 hours Thesis (698A & B) in the second year
- E398R (Master's Report)
ABOUT THE MASTER'S REPORT
Students admitted to the graduate creative writing program — the New Writers Project — must complete the Master's Report, as well as other detailed program requirements, to receive the degree. For the M.F.A. degree, the Master's Report must consist of a body of creative work. Our students generally complete their graduate training with Master's Report hours (E398R) in their final (fourth) semester. To meet all the M.F.A. requirements, candidates need to register for E398R during the same semester in which they receive the degree.
Two members of the creative writing faculty — a supervising professor and a second reader — direct the student through the Master's Report. The supervisor needs to be a member of the English Graduate Studies Committee (GSC). The student must format the report according to the Graduate School specifications, receive the signatures of the supervisor and second reader on the report, and submit it to the Office of Graduate Studies. In order to graduate, students need to notify the Office of Graduate Studies early in the semester that they expect to complete the M.F.A., and must submit their reports to the Graduate School by the last class day of that semester. THE ENGLISH GRAD OFFICE DOES NOT REQUIRE A COPY OF THE M.F.A. REPORT. For graduation deadlines and guidelines for master's candidates, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies page.
MEETING PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
All students admitted into the New Writers Project are expected to serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs). To maintain a good standing and continue in the program, they need to not only meet the Graduate School's requirements but also successfully complete their professional responsibilities as TAs. If a TA fails to execute his or her responsibilities, a committee composed of the supervising professor, the GSC chair and the graduate adviser will meet to consider termination.
A failure to meet professional responsibilities can include, but is not limited to, such things as the following: failure to grade and return student papers and exams in a timely manner; failure to meet classes; failure to attend faculty lectures (as a TA); failure to turn in grades at the end of the semester; and conducting a discussion section in a way that undermines the purpose of the class.
SWITCHING GENRES OR DEGREE PROGRAMS
The New Writers Project discourages its students from switching genres or degree programs, since this may lead to additional coursework and/or extended enrollment. We expect our students to submit their Master's Report in the genre (fiction or poetry) they specified in their applications. Students who wish to change genres before or during their study need the approval of two members of the creative writing faculty and the director of the New Writers Project.
All courses counting for the M.F.A. degree must be taken on a letter-grade basis, with this exception: 6 hours of minor coursework, which may be taken on a CR/NC basis. Students must hold a 3.0 average to remain in the New Writers Project.
To earn the master's degree, students need to make normal progress by meeting the M.F.A. requirements within four long semesters (two years). Your continued financial support in the program is dependent upon your timely and successful completion of coursework each semester. (The Office of Graduate Studies requires that students finish all work for the master's degree within one six-year period.)
CONTINUING STUDY BEYOND THE M.F.A.
The University of Texas at Austin does not offer a Ph.D. in creative writing. Students admitted into the New Writers Project who later wish to continue into the Ph.D. program in English must apply for formal admission. They will need to complete two steps:
- Submit an application to the graduate adviser. This will include a letter declaring their intention to proceed to the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination and a statement of purpose. The application should also include a writing sample of a critical or scholarly paper written in a graduate English course at the university. The admissions committee will review this application and approve or deny a student's eligibility for Ph.D. qualification. Please visit the English Graduate Program's Application Procedures page for a complete list of the required application materials.
- Earn a 3.5 G.P.A. in the graduate courses taken for the M.F.A.
- Since creative writing hours do not count toward the Ph.D. degree, students with an M.F.A. in English generally cannot register for creative writing courses once they have qualified for the Ph.D. program.