MA in Writing
The MA in Writing Program offers students the option of a fiction or nonfiction concentration to study the practice of writing in a series of workshops and reading courses. Students on the fiction track work on short stories, novellas, or novels. Students on the nonfiction track pursue long-form, literary journalism or personal essays, and memoir. Students may take courses online, face-to-face, or in a combination of the two modalities.
Students in the MA in Writing program learn primarily through the practice of writing and the study of reading with a focus on craft. Depending on student goals, the program offers a broad foundation in fine arts/creative writing, in journalism or in both fields. Some students cultivate skills to prepare for a career; others are seasoned writers who want to change focus; still others favor artistic exploration over professional ambition. Within the realm of literary writing, students have the flexibility to develop individual styles and pursue specialized subjects. The program’s goal is to create a nurturing yet demanding environment where writers work toward publication at the highest artistic and professional levels.
PROGRAM SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
In addition to the materials and credentials required for all programs, the Master of Arts in Writing requires:
- Familiarity with writing in the applicant's chosen concentration. Applicants to the Fiction concentration should have read in their area of interest and explored their writing voice. Applicants to the Nonfiction concentration should have read in their field. For Nonfiction applicants, some exposure to journalistic fundamentals is helpful but not necessary.
- Writing samples. The samples should be up to 15 typewritten, double-spaced pages, or about 3,500 to 4,500 words, in the concentration of interest. Samples do NOT have to be a single, lengthy piece of writing.
The program’s admissions committees offer the following additional suggestions for writing samples for each concentration:
Fiction: Short stories or novel chapters in prose fiction, demonstrating literary content or themes. Any style, vision, or approach is permitted--traditional, experimental, hybrid, etc.
Nonfiction: Up to five separate works of prose nonfiction about any subject. Any nonfiction form or combination of forms, including feature article, commentary/blogs, memoir, travel, essay, profile, biography, book chapters and creative nonfiction, is permitted. Academic assignments, term papers, government reports, or scholarly criticism generally are not acceptable nonfiction writing samples.
Applicants may seek formal degree candidacy in both Fiction and Nonfiction by submitting full writing samples in each proposed area. Such applicants should explain their multiple interest and reading in a single statement of purpose. The program makes individual admission decisions for each concentration in a dual-concentration application. Dual-concentration students must complete two to four more courses than the nine required for a single-concentration degree.
- Two core courses: Contemporary American Writers and the appropriate Techniques course
- Three writing workshops in the chosen concentration (core courses usually must be completed before enrolling in a workshop)
- Three electives (at least one elective must focus on reading or other work in the student’s concentration)
- The thesis course (all eight earlier courses must be completed before starting the thesis course)
|Fiction Core Courses|
|AS.490.652||Contemporary American Writers||3|
|Nonfiction Core Courses|
|AS.490.652||Contemporary American Writers||3|
|AS.490.682||Writing The Novel Workshop||3|
|AS.490.690||Travel Writing Workshop||3|
|AS.490.692||Profile and Biography Workshop||3|
|AS.490.693||Writing Memoir & Personal Essay Workshop||3|
|AS.490.748||Advanced Workshop in the Novel||3|
|AS.490.665||Combined Workshop and Readings in Memoir||3|
|AS.490.666||Combined Workshop and Readings in Fiction and Nonfiction||3|
|AS.490.668||Combined Workshop and Readings in Nonfiction||3|
|AS.490.669||Combined Workshop in Nonfiction and Fiction||3|
|AS.490.676||Sentence Power: From Craft to Art||3|
|AS.490.678||Novel Form, Style, & Structure||3|
|AS.490.681||The Craft of Poetry: An Introduction for Fiction and Nonfiction Writers||3|
|AS.490.687||The Short Story: Past & Present||3|
|AS.490.700||Readings in Creative Nonfiction||3|
|AS.490.702||Readings in Global Fact and Fiction||3|
|AS.490.704||Readings in Essay & Memoir||3|
|AS.490.705||Crafting Nonfiction Voice||3|
|AS.490.711||Masterworks: Examining the Boundaries||3|
|AS.490.714||Essence of Place: Description, Detail, and Setting||3|
|AS.490.717||The Novel in the 21st Century||3|
|AS.490.731||Film & Screenwriting||3|
|AS.490.745||Voice in Fiction and Nonfiction||3|
|AS.490.746||Readings in Narrative Fiction and Nonfiction||3|
|AS.490.747||Advanced Revision Techniques in Fiction||3|
|AS.490.765||Writing Children's Books||3|
|AS.490.766||Completing the Novel||3|
|AS.490.767||Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal||3|
|AS.490.770||Writing the Other||3|
|AS.490.784||Reading and Writing New England||3|
|AS.490.800||Independent Study in Writing||3|
|AS.490.801||Thesis And Publication||6|
SEQUENCE OF STUDY
Fiction and Nonfiction students should complete both of their concentration’s core courses before enrolling in a workshop; electives may be taken at any time. At least one of those electives should be specifically within the student’s concentration. Students should carefully plan their studies to include their top choices for elective courses. Electives are offered on a rotating basis; some are scheduled only every two or three years. Students enroll in the program’s final thesis course only after completion of all core courses, workshops, and electives required for the MA in Writing. All thesis students should submit a thesis planning form at least one month before taking the course.
Science Writing and Teaching Writing Courses for MA in Writing Students
Students in the MA in Writing program also can consider earning electives through the online MA in Science Writing and MA in Teaching Writing programs. For instance, Nonfiction students might consider a Science Writing Workshop or a Science Writing reading course; Writing students who teach or want to teach might consider the core Teaching Writing course, Teaching Composition in College and Community College, or Teaching Creative Writing. All regular Science Writing and Teaching Writing courses are offered fully online.