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Degree Requirements

About our MFA Program

Program Brochure  

The mission of the low-residency MFA program at Murray State University is to provide quality advanced instruction to creative writers while allowing them to live and work where they choose. We are looking for candidates who show strong promise as creative writers and who also demonstrate a commitment to the serious reading of literature. Additionally, we seek students who are self-motivated, able to work independently, and capable of making positive use of criticism to improve their writing. Our foremost goal is to facilitate the creative and professional growth of writers, but the degree also offers the necessary academic credentials for a writer to teach creative writing at the college or university level. It also provides a foundation for careers in other writing-related fields. 

Of the 49 hours required for the degree, 13 hours must be completed on campus during the January and July residencies. The remaining 36 hours can be completed via distance learning. These 36 hours comprise three semester-long Graduate Tutorials (6 hours each), a Creative Thesis (6 hours), the New Madrid Field Study (3 hours) and three graduate literature courses (3 hours each). The graduate literature courses may also be completed on campus at Murray State. (While students may transfer up to nine semester hours—“B” or higher—of graduate-level literature courses from another accredited graduate institution, they must complete all residencies, tutorials and the field study within the MFA program.)

Degree Requirements (49 hours)

Four on-campus residencies (12 hours)

  • At least three must be in the student’s chosen genre.

One on-campus thesis residency (1 hour)

  • The final residency, during which students defend their theses, give teaching presentations, and participate in other exit activities, but do not attend workshop or seminars.

Three semesters of off-campus tutorial (18 hours)

  • At least two must be in the student’s chosen genre.
  • Tutorials are completed in the semester immediately following an attended residency.

One semester of field study (3 hours)

  • Should occur in the student’s second or third semester.

One semester of thesis study (6 hours)

  • Should occur at the end of the student’s program, once all other course requirements have been filled and immediately following the student’s last residency.

Three semesters of graduate-level literature courses (9 hours)

  • One class must focus on contemporary literature.

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