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Policy Statement - 96-20 Creative Writing, MFA in

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (code 7-6831) 

This program was recommended by the Academic Senate on March 30, 1995, 
was concurred by the President on April 17, 1995 
and received final approval from the Chancellor's Office on July 31, 1996.

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing is the recognized terminal degree which offers the minimum professional training deemed necessary by the major schools in the United States for university and college teaching and for positions in the publishing industry. It is also the degree most frequently held by professional writers. The Department of English at California State University, Long Beach is a fully accredited program that meets the standards of the State of California: 

Criteria for admission to the program: 

1. Students applying for admission to the M.F.A. degree program generally have completed a bachelor's or master's degree in English from an accredited institution with a 3.0 G.P.A. in upper division English courses, meet university admission requirements and submit evidence of creative ability in fiction or poetry (20 pages poetry, 30-40 pages fiction). 
2. When an undergraduate degree has been completed in a program having different requirements from those of CSULB or in some field other than English, additional preparation may be required before the student can be considered for classified status in the degree program. 
3. At the time of the student's conditional classification into the program, an examining diagnostic committee consisting of at least two instructors in the student's field of specialization and at least one other faculty member must approve and evaluate the student's work no later than the end of his/her first full year in residence and judge whether the student should continue in the program. 
4. In order to obtain full classified status, the student must obtain satisfactory evaluation from his/her committee at the end of the first full year in residence. Both the student's coursework and portfolio will be evaluated. 

The appeals procedure for unfavorable portfolio evaluation is as follows: 
If the student feels that his work has been unfairly evaluated, that student has recourse anytime to discuss the matter informally with the creative writing coordinator in order to resolve the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved on that basis, the following procedure shall be followed: 

  • a. The student shall present a written appeal to the creative writing coordinator. 
  • b. Within ten (10) working days of receipt of a written appeal by a student, the creative writing coordinator shall refer the appeal to an ad hoc committee consisting of three tenured creative writing faculty not involved with the issue. 
  • c. The committee shall meet in formal sessions holding hearings at separate times for the student and the faculty involved to gather information and evidence relevant to the issue. 
  • d. After deliberation, the committee shall present its findings to the creative writing coordinator within thirty (30) working days from the origination of the committee. (Working days do not include periods of time between semesters.) 
  • e. The creative writing coordinator shall inform the concerned student in writing of the committee's decision. 

5. Advancement to candidacy 

  • a. Attain fully classified status 
  • b. Remove all undergraduate deficiencies as determined by the graduate advisor, the department chair, and the dean of graduate studies 
  • c. Must have satisfied the Writing Proficiency Examination 
  • d. Submit a program of courses for approval by the student's faculty advisor 

6. Up to 24 units of credit from a Master of Arts program in Creative Writing may be acceptable after review and approval by the faculty evaluation committee. 
7. Requirements for the Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing 

  • a. The M.F.A. degree is a sixty-unit degree normally requiring full-time residency. Course requirements are arranged according to the following structure. 

Core Courses: (39 units, to be chosen on the basis of consultation with a faculty advisor, to include): ENGL 505A,B or 506A,B; 590A; 590B; 605A,B or 606A,B; 584; 590; 598; 696; 698. 

Elective Courses: (21 units, to be chosen on the basis of consultation with a faculty advisor, to include): English 523, 526,535, 537, 550, 551, 552, 553, 554, 555, 556, 558, 559, 562, 567A, 567B, 568, 574, 575, 576, 577A, 577B, 578, 583, 652, 653, 655, 656, 657, 659, 672, 673, 674, 681, *THEA 380, *THEA 480, FEA 404. 

* may be counted for graduate credit 

b. Both fiction and poetry specializations share a common core of courses which offer study in literary history, theory, and research. The remainder of the courses offer students the opportunity to develop additional skills in their particular area of related interest. The program culminates in a major creative project (novel, short story collection, or poetry collection) of publishable quality. 

EFFECTIVE: Fall 1996 

Code: 6831 
College: 28 
Career: GR 
IPEDS (Major) ERSS: 15071 
IPEDS (Degree) ERSD: 15071