Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a three-year, intensive studio arts terminal degree with a strong international emphasis and requires the writing of a book-length thesis in either fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry. The objectives of the M.F.A. degree are to enable the student to master the craft of writing in the chosen genre to a publishable level; to train the student in traditional literary studies and in writing pedagogy; and to provide the student with some practical knowledge of literary translation and literary publishing. The goal of the three- year course of studies is to prepare the student for a teaching career at the university, college, or community college level; for writing as a profession outside of the academy; and to provide the student with an international perspective on the creation of, publication of, and teaching of the literary arts, specifically fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry; to encourage an appreciation of literature and writing in all its forms in a global context; and to inspire literary activism of the public intellectual and person of letters.

For more information about the M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a description of the Creative Writing International Program, see:

Funding: all M.F.A. students admitted to the Creative Writing International program at UNLV are offered Graduate Assistantship funding of $15,000 per year (which includes in-state tuition and provisions for health insurance). Duties for the Graduate Assistantship are 20 hours per week, usually fulfilled through a combination of teaching, tutoring in the Writing Center, and work for English Department or Black Mountain Institute publications.

Degree Requirements

(Total Credits Required: 54)

Below is a summary of the degree requirements as described in the official record of degree requirements, the Graduate Catalog. Degree requirements are subject to change and admitted students will be bound by the degree requirements described in the catalog published for the appropriate academic year.

  • Graduate Creative Writing Workshops (12 credits): complete 9 credits in the chosen genre of concentration (either fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry) and 3 credits in another genre.
  • Literature Courses (9 credits): complete 9 credits of graduate literature courses offered by the Literature Faculty of the Department of English.
  • Forms of Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, or Poetry Classes (9 credits): complete 6 credits in the “forms” courses taught by the Creative Writing Faculty, which concentrate on the literature, theory and practice of the genre of concentration, and complete 3 credits in another genre.
  • International Focus – Independent Study (6 credits): complete 6 credits in international emphasis studies for the degree, which requires spending at least one semester or the equivalent (this can be a summer semester) abroad in a non-English speaking country, by enrolling in a university, school, or institute abroad or foreign studies program, or by proposing an Independent Study Abroad plan of studies guided by and monitored by a member of the faculty. For applicants with strong experience and demonstrable study and residency in a non-English speaking country and who can demonstrate significant foreign language skills, the study abroad requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Creative Writing faculty and of the Graduate College, in which case, the 6 required credits may be earned by taking additional graduate-level courses.
  • Literary Translation & Critical Essay (6 credits): complete 3 credits in Translation, which is an Independent Study project in literary translation mentored by a faculty member; and complete 3 credits in the Critical Essay, which requires writing a scholarly or researched essay as an Independent Study project mentored by the faculty, and by Literature Faculty of the Department of English preferred.
  • The M.F.A. Thesis (12 credits): complete 12 credits by writing an original thesis in the chosen genre of specialization: in fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry, and with guidance by intensive, one-on-one advising and mentoring by members of the faculty. The M.F.A. thesis should be a book-length work in the chosen genre of specialization, and, after the thesis defense, be deemed of publishable quality in the opinion of the faculty.

Application Information – (application deadline: January 15th)

Applicants for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing must submit the following to the Department of English through the Graduate College:

  • A strong manuscript of either fiction, poetry or literary nonfiction, of approximately 10-15 pages for poetry and 20-30 pages for fiction and literary nonfiction. The primary consideration for admission is the quality of the application manuscript as judged by the Creative Writing Faculty.
  • A letter of application to the Graduate Committee that includes a statement of purpose and reasons the applicant wants to study Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
  • Applicants must send one official set of transcripts from all colleges or universities attended to the Graduate College through the application process.
  • Two letters of recommendation must be included with the application submitted through the Graduate College process. There is a wide range of acceptability of educational preparation with regard to an applicant’s previous record of studies and major field of specialization as an undergraduate.

To apply, to go:

For further information or direct inquiries, contact:

Learning Objectives

  • Students will have the ability to compose original works of literature (either fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry) of publishable quality.
  • Students will have an understanding of the theoretical foundations of his/her chosen genre concentration.
  • Students will have an appreciation for the craft and theory of other genres.
  • Students will have a good understanding of the canonical contexts and history from which new writing emerges.
  • Students will have a practical appreciation for international writing and literary translation, and will have some knowledge of writing from at least one language tradition other than in English.
  • Students will have produced a publishable, complete manuscript of original writing.

Career Possibilities

Persons with the M.F.A. in Creative Writing can go on to careers in:

A person with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing may, usually with the publication of a book, teach at the university or college level; or, usually with some significant publications, at the community college level. Persons with the M.F.A. in Creative Writing may also teach high school English (in some cases, additional credits in Education courses will be required); or may teach many disciplines of English at schools and institutes abroad. Because of the teaching experience available from the M.F.A. at UNLV as a Graduate Assistant instructor in the English Department, common fields in which persons holding the M.F.A. degree are qualified to teach in are: composition, literature, world literature, creative writing, or business writing.
Writing/Publishing/Editing/Literary Translation
The M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing provides the student with optimum preparation to pursue professional writing as a career in the chosen genre of specialization by selling original writing to magazines, book publishers, and websites. Also, the Creative Writing International program, in partnership with the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, offers opportunities to work with three literary magazines: Interim, Witness, and The Believer. Practical experience in literary publishing combined with writing skills attained in pursuit of the M.F.A. degree provide an optimum work history to pursue a career in magazine editing, book editing, website editing, or free-lance, as copy editors or copy writers. Training in literary translation for the M.F.A. degree prepares students who also possess significant foreign language skills to pursue careers in literary and other fields of written translation.
Public Relations, Media, Communications, and Advertising
P-R and advertising agencies hire candidates with strong writing, communications, and publishing skills, all which are acquired in pursuit of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
Business, Non-profits, Management, and Beyond
In the most global sense possible, Creative Writing M.F.A. graduates can do anything. In survey after survey, business employers rank writing and communications skills as the most important qualification. M.F.A. graduates are also highly qualified to work for non-profits, especially in arts and education. Also, graduates go on to careers in finance, management, human resources, sales, marketing, civil service, and institutional analysis―the possibilities are endless.

Graduate Catalog

The graduate catalog is the official repository of the graduate program requirements, and Graduate College policies.

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