Creative and Professional Writing (MFA)

Creative and Professional Writing (MFA)

Degree Offered: Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing

Campus Location

Main Campus

Application Deadline:

Rolling Admissions

Program Description:

In the master of fine arts (MFA) program in creative and professional writing at William Paterson University, you will study in a supportive academic environment focused on the production of high-caliber writing. Designed to hone essential creative skills and nourish talent in poetry, fiction, memoir, literary biography, TV/film/theater scripts, cultural reviews, and more, the program will advance your writing to a professionally competitive level. You will also gain valuable experience in manuscript evaluation and editing, up-to-date methodologies of teaching writing, and the advanced interpretation of literature.

The MFA’s rigorous course of study prepares you for a wide variety of careers, including secondary education and university-level teaching, book and magazine publishing and editing, journalism, copywriting, public relations, and professional writing. In addition, you will benefit from the program’s applied focus on developing a substantial manuscript portfolio, targeting appropriate markets, and submitting work for publication according to professional standards.

Admission Requirements:

In addition to the University’s admission requirements:

  • Cumulative grade point average of no less than 3.00 on 4.00 scale.
  • Minimum score of 400 on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or minimum of 150 verbal and 4.5 analytical on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test.
  • Two letters of recommendation attesting to your writing skills.
  • Brief written statement of purpose.
  • Ten-page writing sample in the genre you intend to pursue. A hard copy of the writing sample must accompany the application to the Graduate Admissions office, and an electronic copy should be sent to

Program Requirements:

The 41-credit combined studio/research MFA program of 41 credits encompasses four major components:

  • Writing workshops (18 credits)
  • Literature courses (12 credits)
  • Teaching course with an optional publishing/editing internship opportunity (3 credits)
  • Master’s thesis – a substantial manuscript of publishable quality, accompanied by an essay on writing craft (8 credits)
MFA Creative and Professional Writing41 credits
I. Required Writing Courses 18 credits
A.ENG 6160 Creative Writing 3 credits
B.Five other writing courses chosen from the following: 15 credits
ENG 5990 Selected Topics (with approval) 3
ENG 6150 Advanced Critical Writing 3
ENG 6190 Writing for the Magazine Market 3
ENG 6210 Fiction Writing Seminar I 3
ENG 6220 Fiction Writing Seminar II 3
ENG 6230 Poetry Writing Seminar 3
ENG 6240 Contemporary Poetry Writing Seminar 3
ENG 6260 Creative Writing II 3
ENG 6270 Writing Scripts for Movies and Television 3
ENG 6280 Short Story Writing 3
ENG 6290 Playwriting 3
ENG 6300 Book and Magazine Editing 3
ENG 6310 Creative Nonfiction 3
ENG 6780 Modern Literary Biography 3
COM 6000 Survey in Professional Writing 3
COM 6100 Writing for Digital Media 3
II. Four literature courses 12 credits
At least one literature course must be devoted to work after 1900. ENG 6560 Modes of Contemporary Criticism or a linguistics course may (with the director’s approval) substitute for one of the literature courses.
III. Teaching Component (with Internship Option) 3 Credits
A. ENG 6170 Modern Techniques of Composition 3
ENG 6200 Teaching Writing as Process 3
ENG 6250 Teaching Writing as Process II 3
ENG 5900 Graduate Internship 3
B. Writing Across the Curriculum Workshop:  
Students will attend a three-day workshop focusing on various techniques of teaching writing.
IV. MFA Thesis 8 credits
A. MFA Thesis Seminar 4
B. Thesis Project, supervised by Thesis Advisor 4