Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing



Involves students in an acquisitions editorial staff that reads and evaluates submissions for publication in the book project for the year. Students review submissions ahead of time and e-mail comments to acquisitions editor on whether work should be considered by entire board, and then participate in online discussions every other week Students also meet online three times to discuss materials from learning modules, and how that information relates to book project and their duties as editors and publishers. Prerequisites: CRWR 520. Co-requisites: CRWR 521, CRWR 522, CRWR 523.

 CRWR 522 - EDITORIAL SKILLS (1 credits)

Focuses on the topics of 1) identifying potential authors and conducting author outreach

 CRWR 523 - ACQUISITIONS (1 credits)

Teaches the topics of 1) what an editor does (and does not do)


Familiarizes students with traditional publishing house models such as nonprofit, for-profit, academic press, and trade press, as well as the emerging online electronic delivery models of publishing. This is offered as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: CRWR 520. Co-requisites: CRWR 521, CRWR 522, CRWR 523.


This course is a special topics option, not required for the certificate, and only offered at need. This is offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

 CRWR 608 - CRAFT AND PRACTICE I (6 credits)

Focus on skill-building in fundamental areas of narrative fiction. Students develop skills of observation and reflection in order to access material for their writing


Focus on providing students with experience writing in the speculative fiction genres, exploring the traditions and current trends in the market. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 619 - CRAFT AND PRACTICE II (6 credits)

A continuation and refinement of the narrative skill-building begun in CRWR 608, Craft and A continuation and refinement of the narrative skill-building begun in CRWR 606, Craft and Practice I. Students will be given exercises aimed at developing their thesis concepts into full-length works, examining the following: the structure of plot and subplot in their individual works, how to connect minor character motives to major character arcs, and inclusion of narrative elements and patterns to flesh out their current and future work. This will include practices designed to support the continuation of a literary life beyond the classroom environment, such as expansion of their ‘ideas’ file, moves to overcome potential blocks, finding your public stance as a writer, and more. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on tracing the development of the metrical tradition in English poetry from the beginning to the present. Students read poems in all the major forms (Anglo-Saxon Strong Stress Meter, the ballad, classical imitations, blank verse, the sonnet, iambic tetrameter, etc.) along with historical and theoretical commentary. Students also model such forms and scan their own work and that of others. Students will also trace the development of theories of versification and prosody in English. Students read a wide range of works, many of them by poets, in which they describe their craft and that of others, and they compare theories of and approaches to metrical poetry. In this course students are expected to produce a wide range of short essays on various traditions of versification, along with at least one substantial research paper. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on a two-pronged study, first of the historical development and evolution of English, and second, work to understand translating poetry, studying and comparing translations, reading theories of translation and attempting translations. Prerequisites: Proof of second-year, or its equivalent, of reading competency in a foreign language, and admission to the program.

 CRWR 665 - Screenwriting Genre (6 credits)

Focus on challenging students to write filmic stories in three distinct genre categories, forcing a growth and flexibility to create meaning across a spectrum of setting, time, and circumstance. Dialogue is permitted but is de-emphasized in favor of a more visual narrative. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 675 - WRITING THE TV PILOT (6 credits)

Focus on choosing and writing an original TV pilot for either a one-hour drama series, or a half-hour sitcom. In addition to the pilot script, this course requires the students to pitch the idea, come up with marketing materials – i.e. treatment for the series, outline of the pilot, a series “bible,” and loglines for at least 4-5 future episodes. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Western State Colorado University uses a low-residency format that requires students to engage in studies in one of the following areas:

Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction.

  • Learn under successful, currently publishing authors
  • Make network connections with industry professionals to help launch your career
  • Attend virtual classes with weekly online interaction.

Poetry with an Emphasis in Versecraft.

  • Study in the only program that teaches a full range of versecraft.
  • Learn under highly acclaimed poets.
  • Connect with prestigious editors and publishers.

Screenwriting for Feature Film and Television.

  • Study in the only accredited program taught entirely by working Hollywood screenwriters.
  • Learn essential tactics for both feature film and television writing.
  • Become well versed in the business of screenwriting, before you go knocking on studio and network doors.

Certificate in Publishing (13-month low-residency program)

  • Become more savvy working with publishers.
  • Learn how to self-publish the right way.
  • Build skills to make publishing a career.