2013-2014 Program Requirements

Master of Fine Arts in Creating Writing

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Western uses a low-residency format that requires students to engage in studies in two ways:

  1. on-campus intensive seminars and workshops for two weeks during three consecutive summers, and
  2. a plan of non-residency study requiring four academic semesters, during each of which students work both with peers and one-to-one with writing faculty mentors.

The M.F.A. offers students three concentrations:

        • Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction
        • Poetry with a Focus on Versecraft, and
        • Screenwriting for Feature Film and Television.

The M.F.A program insists on a high degree of commitment and excellence from candidates, all of whom must maintain a 3.000 course average to complete the program. A minimum grade of B- in each course applied to a degree program is required. Summer residency courses within concentrations are front-loaded –that is, these courses require students to prepare for the intensive residency experience by completing pre-assigned reading lists as well as preparing advanced assignments to maximize the time for discussion and qualitative analysis during the course of studies on campus.

Inthe first and second summer residencies, candidates will also complete one credit each summer of CRWR 600 learning or updating online tools mastery, attending faculty and student readings, and meeting with non-residency mentors. Third-summer candidates will earn one credit attending and participating in critiques and readings for cohorts attending their first and second summers.They also attend and participate in a summer creative writing conference hosted on campus during each residency.

The non-residency mentoring component of each M.F.A. concentration pairs students one-to-one with writing faculty mentors. Students can expect to spend a minimum of 25-30 hours per week to complete writing assignments, for which mentors will provide weekly feedback using online tools. Students will also participate weekly in threaded synchronous and asynchronous online voice and discussion boards during each term with other students and mentors. Students will earn 12credits each semester for this work (six credits for each mentored course topic).

Faculty

Professor Mark Todd
Associate Professor Jack Lucido
Visiting Faculty: Barbara Chepaitis, Russell Davis, JS Mayank, Ernest Hilbert, Michaela Roessner-Herman, David Rothman, Bob Shayne and David Yezzi.

Description ofthe Program

Popular GenreFiction/Nonfiction

The concentration in Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction includes instruction in writing for such forms as science fiction/fantasy, the mystery, romance,narrative nonfiction, and other forms of mainstream commercial fiction.  Study includes short and long written forms, as well as exploration of forms for alternative media such as public performance, audio, and internet media.

Students may also elect to study two of these concentrations by increasing theduration of their program to six semesters and a fourth summer residency.

The Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction Concentration requires the following 60 credits:

 

CRWR 600  Summer Orientation

 3 credits

CRWR 601  Patterns and Paradigms for Popular Genres

 2 credits

CRWR 602  Fiction Workshop and Translation

 2 credits

CRWR 604  Pre- and Post-Publication Promotion

 2 credits

CRWR 608  Craft and Practice I

 6 credits

CRWR 609  Genres I – Speculative Fiction, Mystery, and YA

 6 credits

CRWR 612  Narrative Nonfiction

 6 credits

CRWR 618  Genres II – Women’s Fiction, Romance, and The Western

 6 credits

CRWR 619  Craft and Practice II

 6 credits

During second fall term, choose one of the following two:

 

*CRWR 646   Narrative Poetry

 6 credits

*CRWR 665  The Narrative in Picture Form

 6 credits

CRWR 621  Making Connections in the Market

 6 credits

CRWR 622  Thesis Preparation

 6 credits

CRWR 694  Capstone

 3 credits

Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction as a Second Area of Emphasis

Students pursuing this concentration as a second area of emphasis must earn 30 credits within the concentration as follows:

 

CRWR 600  Summer Orientation

 1 credit

CRWR 608  Craft and Practice I 

 6 credits

CRWR 609  Genres I – Speculative Fiction, Mystery, and YA

 6 credits

CRWR 694  Capstone

 3 credits

Supporting courses in consultation with adviser

12 credits

One of the following:

 

CRWR 601  Patterns and Paradigms for Mainstream Genre Fiction

 2 credits

CRWR 602  Fiction Workshop and Translation

 2 credits

CRWR 604  Pre- and Post-Publication Promotion

 2 credits

Poetry with a Focus on Versecraft

The concentration in Poetry with a Focus on Versecraft requires that students achieve demonstrable mastery of a wide range of poetic forms and techniques along with acquiring historical and analytical knowledge about them. Students who complete the program will also be required to demonstrate their readiness to participate fully in the literary world through public speaking and relevant prose (book reviews, metrical analysis, historical investigation, etc.). This concentration requires passing a comprehensive exam on versecraft and poetics as well as sufficient reading competency in a foreign language, aided by a dictionary, to translate foreign-language poetry into English.

The Poetry with a Focus in Versecraft Concentration requires the following 60 credits:

 

CRWR 600  Summer Orientation

 3 credits

CRWR 631  Scansion Immersion

 2 credits

CRWR 632  Public Performance

 2 credits

CRWR 633  Poetry and Music

 2 credits

CRWR 636  Metrical Traditions and Versification I

 6 credits

CRWR 638  History of English Language/Studies in Translation

 6 credits

CRWR 641  Metrical Traditions and Versification II

 6 credits

CRWR 643  Historical Foundations of English Prosody

 6 credits

During second fall term, choose one of the following two: 

 

*CRWR 646  Verse Narrative

 6 credits

*CRWR 647  Verse Satire/Verse Drama

 6 credits

During second fall term, choose one of the following two:

 

*CRWR 608  Craft and Practice I

 6 credits

*CRWR 665  Screenwriting Genre

 6 credits

CRWR 651  Advanced Studies in Forms and Genres

 6 credits

CRWR 653  Poetry Book Reviewing/Poetry, Literacy, Pedagogy 

 6 credits

CRWR 694  Capstone

 3 credits

 Poetry as a Second Area of Emphasis

Students pursuing this concentration as a second area of emphasis must earn 30 credits within the concentration as follows:

 

CRWR 600  Summer Orientation

 1 credit

CRWR 636  Metrical Traditions and Versification I

 6 credits

CRWR 646  Narrative Poetry,  or CRWR 647 Dramatic Poetry/Verse Satire

 6 credits

CRWR 694  Capstone

 3 credits

Supporting courses in consultation with adviser

12 credits

One of the following:

 

CRWR 631  Scansion Immersion

 2 credits

CRWR 632  Public Performance

 2 credits

CRWR 633  Poetry and Music

 2 credits

Students may count CRWR 646 if taken already to fulfill the out-of-concentration course required by the primary area of emphasis.

 

Screenwriting for Feature Film and Television

The concentration in Screenwriting for Feature Film and Television includes instruction in the history and analysis of classical and contemporary screenwriting texts and the resulting films. The program also includes instruction in writing the visual narrative, three- and four-act structure,character development, thematic development, conflict, genre, story arc, anddialogue.  The program emphasizes not only the feature-length screenplay but also television writing as well as screenwriting contests, festivals, and opportunities for marketing the M.F.A. students’ work. A Master’s Thesis Project in the form of a 100-page feature-length screenplay must be completed as a part of the degree requirements.

The Screenwriting Concentration requires the following 60 credits:

 

CRWR 600  Summer Orientation

 3 credits

CRWR 661  Film History and Analysis; the Visual Narrative

 2 credits

CRWR 662  Story, Conflict, Character, and Genre in Screenwriting

 2 credits

CRWR 663  Screenwriting Competition, Representation, the “Option”

 2 credits

CRWR 665  Screenwriting Genre

 6 credits

CRWR 668  Television Drama and Situation Comedy

 6 credits

CRWR 675 Writing the TV Pilot

 6 credits

CRWR 678  Adaptation

 6 credits

CRWR 671  Writing the First Feature-Length Screenplay

 6 credits

In the second fall term, choose one of the following two:

 

* CRWR 608 Craft and Practice I

 6 credits

* CRWR 646  Narrative Poetry

 6 credits

CRWR 690  Screenwriting Master’s Capstone Project I

 6 credits

CRWR 691  Screenwriting Master’s Capstone Project II

 6 credits

CRWR 694  Capstone

 3 credits


Screenwriting as a Second Area of Emphasis

Students pursuing this concentration as a second area of emphasis must earn 30 credits within the concentration as follows:

 

CRWR 600  Summer Orientation

 1 credit

CRWR 665  Screenwriting Genre

 6 credits

CRWR 668  Television Drama and Situation Comedy

 6 credits

CRWR 694  Capstone

 3 credits

Supporting courses in consultation with advisor

12 credits

One of the following:

 

CRWR 661  Film History and Analysis; the Visual Narrative

 2 credits

CRWR 662  Story, Conflict, Character, and Genre in Screenwriting

 2 credits

CRWR 663  Screenwriting Competition, Representation, the “Option”

 2 credits

Students may count CRWR 665 if taken already to fulfill the out-of-concentration course required by the primary area of emphasis

 

Courses