Creative Writing at WVU: Wild, Wonderful Writing

The MFA in Creative Writing Program

West Virginia University’s MFA Program celebrated its Tenth Anniversary in 2011. The only MFA program in Appalachia, it offers specializations in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Workshop sizes are always small, usually capped at twelve students. This year's courses and special events and programs for MFA students.

Test image In addition to taking five workshops, including one out of genre, students work one-on-one with faculty mentors in preparing their theses, a book-length work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

WVU’s MFA faculty members have published more than twelve books between them and have won many prestigious prizes and honors:
PEN/Revson Foundation Fellowship
National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship
Fulbright Fellowship
Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship
Iowa Short Fiction Award
George Garrett Fiction Award
Bakeless Prize in Nonfiction
Ohio State University Press/The Journal Prize
Kent State University Press/Wick Chapbook Prize
NEH-National Endowment for the Humanities
Dupont Fellowship
Visiting Artist-American Academy in Rome

Faculty Work and Recent Acheivements

WVU’s MFA graduates have published in hundreds of literary journals, including prestigious venues such as: AGNI, Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Field, Prairie Schooner, Tar River Poetry, Ninth Letter, Northwest Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Journal, 32 Poems, Georgetown Review, Controlled Burn, Colorado Review, Pank, Malahat Review, Mid-American Review, Paste, Chelsea, Washington Square, Laurel Review, Slant, New Orleans Review, and in the anthology Layers of Possibility: Healing Poetry. Recent MFA students have won Intro Prizes sponsored by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and the GreenTower Press’s chapbook prize and have published book-length collections of poetry and fiction. Recent graduates have won honors such as the Iowa Poetry Prize and the Walt Whitman Award.

1. Admission

Admission to the M.F.A. degree program in creative writing is based primarily on the excellence of a substantial writing sample in fiction, nonfiction or poetry. An admissions committee made up of members of the English graduate faculty with specialties in creative writing examine applications for excellence and promise. Normally, prospective candidates for the degree of Master of Fine Arts are expected to have completed work in an undergraduate discipline resulting in a Bachelor degree in English. Graduate Record Examination scores are required, as are letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Application information is here.

2. Program Requirements

M.F.A. students must successfully complete 45 hours, distributed as follows: fifteen hours of creative writing workshops (one outside of the student’s genre); twelve hours of graduate-level English courses (non-creative writing); three hours of creative writing pedagogy; nine thesis hours; six hours (electives) to be determined in consultation with the Creative Writing faculty. The student is required to submit a book-length manuscript (minimum of 48 pages in poetry, 150 pages in fiction or nonfiction), ideally suitable for publication on its own, that has been approved by a thesis director and two readers. Final approval is granted following an oral defense of the thesis. The core of the program is the workshop, where students submit their own writing for discussion and critique. This writing will make up the bulk of the thesis, which will be completed under the close supervision of the thesis adviser and two additional thesis committee members. The non-creative writing courses will be the same as those taken by Ph.D and M.A. students.

3. Teaching/Financial Assistance

Most students admitted into the M.F.A. program receive Graduate Teaching Assistantships that include a stipend plus a waiver of University tuition. Students with Assistantships will also attend the Department of English’s summer internship program in teaching, which pays an additional $1,000.

MFA students complete a Plan of Study when they enter the program and, again, upon graduation. The Plan can be found here .