College of Arts and Letters2021-2022

Department of English

Creative Writing, Master of Fine Arts

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing balances the study and practice of creative writing with academic coursework in English. Students participate in writing workshops in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, undertake coursework in literature, and study critical theory. MFA candidates will present a creative thesis of between 45 to 120 pages, depending on genre. 

The MFA Program at Northern Arizona University allows you to:   

  • live and write in the beautiful, vibrant city of Flagstaff
  • focus on poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction
  • participate in intensive writing workshops with dedicated professors

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Creative Writing M.F.A. students will be able to:

  • Examine, explicate, analyze and evaluate literary texts of considerable difficulty in order to determine the place of the student’s own work within a literary tradition.
  • Develop the student’s own critical and aesthetic position, based on recognizing, understanding, and interpreting critical positions and literary arguments of other authors.
  • Read and respond thoughtfully and thoroughly to work by other MFA students in order to hone the critical, intellectual, and analytical skills that are crucial to success in a broad range of literary, artistic, cultural and professional fields.
  • Investigate the world of literary publishing in order to discover suitable journals, magazines and/or quality trade book publishers to which the student author can submit his/her own finished work.
  • Refine skills in drafting, revising and editing in a primary literary genre with the goal of producing a polished creative manuscript of marketable quality.
  • Actively participate and network in a community of writers and cultivate a professional identity through performing one’s work in both written and oral forms to include:
    • public readings,
    • interviewing other writers,
    • attending outside readings,
    • writing book reviews,
    • serving on editorial boards, and
    • organizing literary events.
Upon completion of the thesis manuscript, students will develop a professional presentation of an excerpt to their community of writers in a public reading.


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