Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Western State Colorado University's Graduate Program in Creative Writing offers an MFA, an MA and a Certificate in Publishing. The MFA and MA have three concentrations: Genre Fiction, Screenwriting for Film and Television, and Poetry with an Emphasis on Versecraft.

Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Application Information

The graduate program offers a low-residency curriculum. Students come to Western's campus high in the Rocky Mountains in Gunnison, Colorado, for two weeks each July, participating in our Summer Intensives. MFA candidates come for three summers; MA and Certificate students come for two.

Each Summer Intensive concludes over the final long weekend of July with our conference Writing the Rockies, which features scores of nationally renowned guest speakers and teachers and is  open to the public.

Students attend on-line academic semesters between Summer Intensives. As a result, candidates in all our programs can live and work anywhere during the academic year while pursuing the degree.

The non-residency component of each concentration involves both intensive coursework online, including reading and writing assignments and interactive work on discussion boards, along with faculty advising. Students spend a minimum of 25-30 hours per week on writing assignments. Students also participate weekly in threaded synchronous and asynchronous online voice and discussion boards during each term with other students and mentors. Students earn 12 credits each semester for this work (six credits for each mentored course topic).

In the first and second summer residencies, candidates 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 earn one credit attending and participating in critiques and readings for cohorts attending their first and second summers.

The Graduate Program in Creative Writing insists on a high degree of commitment and excellence from degree candidates, all of whom must maintain a 3.0 GPA to complete the program. A minimum grade of B- in each course applied to a degree program is also 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 focus on discussion and qualitative analysis during campus intensives.

MFA candidates may elect to study two concentrations by increasing the duration of their program to six semesters and a fourth summer residency.

MA candidates pursue the same concentrations as MFA students.

Western’s low-residency MA in Creative Writing focuses on both the craft of creative writing and the pedagogy for the teaching of creative writing. Just as in the MFA, students select one of three emphases: Genre Fiction, Poetry with an Emphasis on Versecraft, or Screenwriting for Film and Television. The program takes thirteen months to complete as a full-time student. The low-residency component of the program involves two online semesters of coursework that use a combination of online writing submissions and critiques as well as regular real-time discussions with writer-mentors and peer students. During each of the two required summer intensives on Western’s Colorado campus, students join an inspiring community of peers as well as attending student and faculty readings, workshops on craft and literature, and master classes. MA students work together with MFA students in almost all classes -- we are one community. Each emphasis in the MA requires comprehensive examinations at the conclusion of coursework, but there is no thesis.

The MA is a good choice for teachers who want to advance their knowledge in a particular discipline, but are not as interested in a terminal degree or in writing a full thesis.

MA candidates may continue into the MFA program at the discretion of the admissions committee.

The one-year Certificate in Publishing prepares students to enter the publishing industry, or to work as an agent or in a publishing house.

Like the MA, the program requires two summer residencies and takes thirteen months to complete as a full-time student. Coursework involves a combination of academic study and practical work with Western's publishing institutions: Western Press Books, the literary journal THINK, and Conundrum Press.

Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing is distinctive for three reasons:

1. Distinctive and Innovative Concentrations

Our Concentrations respond directly to emerging markets in both the literary world and in education. We have three concentrations: Genre Fiction (Mystery, Speculative Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, and many more); Screenwriting  (Film & Television); and Poetry with an Emphasis on Versecraft (focusing on meter, rhyme, form and genre).

Genre Fiction

Our program is one of the few in the entire country with a specific focus on commercial genre fiction – from romance and mystery, to westerns, speculative fiction and more. We offer a rigorous and progressive curriculum that gives students strong fundamental skills in all the genres in their first year. In the second year, students then specialize as they work on their thesis novels. What sets us apart is a strong emphasis on a few key things: clear understanding of the genres based on imitation; a high volume of serious, directed reading and writing; completion of work in short fiction at different lengths as well as at least one novel length work, thus ensuring students’ ability to adapt to the marketplace; and finally, the understanding that comes from a rigorous program with feedback from both instructors and peers. Our students leave the program prepared to publish (many do so even before they leave), prepared for careers as writers, and prepared to teach at the undergraduate level.

Screenwriting  for Film and Television

Most graduate programs in writing drama focus on the stage. Ours focuses on both film and increasingly on TV, where many of the most exciting developments are now occurring. The program’s motto is “We bring Hollywood to you.” Our low-residency format means that students can learn from writers who live and work in Los Angeles, the heart of the industry. Our program includes classes on all the basic genres: shorts, features, spec episodes of TV shows, original pilots, and the basics of adaptation. It is a comprehensive screenwriting program, which also gives an overview of the business, all of it taught by working writers and industry veterans.

Poetry with an Emphasis on Versecraft

Most programs do not teach poetic craft. In contrast, our program is part of a small but growing movement to train students in the basics of poetic language, history and form. We emphasize the study of meter, rhyme, poetic forms and genres more rigorously and intensely than any other program we know. Our students also learn about the history of the art and of the language, about the crucial role of translation, about literary pedagogy, and about how to participate fully in the world of journals, of teaching, and of criticism. Students graduate with a full quiver of skills, ready to participate in all aspects of the literary life.

Certificate in Publishing

The Certificate in Publishing offers a rigorous curriculum along with direct experience in the industry, in all media. In addition to coursework, students produce, from start to finish, a volume of Manifest West, the literary anthology series of Western Press Books. Students have weekly editorial board meetings to review and discuss submissions, then make the final selections and copyedit and proofread the anthology. Students can also work on THINK, our program's national journal of poetry and criticism. Throughout, students work with professionals in the publishing industry to gain insight into the field. During this process, students also learn how to edit their own writing, and they regularly critique writing from peers to prepare it for submission to magazines and presses. Graduates of the Certificate in Publishing Program are prepared to enter the publishing field as agents or junior editors at established houses, or to start their own small presses.

2. Highly Successful Faculty

Our faculty are national leaders. All are highly successful writers, and taken together they have published hundreds of books and authored and directed many films and shows. All have advanced degrees and extensive teaching experience.

Program Director and Poetry Concentration Director David J. Rothman

Professor Rothman has published or edited eight books of poetry, creative non-fiction and scholarship, with several more under contract. He has also published hundreds of articles in major newspapers and critical and scholarly journals, along with  poems in national periodicals such as Appalachia, The Atlantic Monthly, The Kenyon Review, Poetry and The Threepenny Review. He serves as Poet-in-Residence for Colorado Public Radio, was one of three finalists for the recent appointment of Colorado Poet Laureate, and has been a Finalist for the Colorado Book Award. He has also directed a number of independent non-profits outside of academia, including independent presses, scholarly organizations, private schools and arts organizations such as the Crested Butte Music Festival, which he co-founded.

Genre Fiction Concentration Director Russell Davis

Professor Davis is a best-selling author and editor who has written and sold scores of novels and short stories in virtually every genre of fiction. His writing  encompasses everything from media tie-in work in the Transformers universe to action adventure in The Executioner series to original novels and short fiction in anthology titles like Under Cover of Darkness, Law of the Gun, and In the Shadow of Evil. He has worked as an editor and book packager, and created original anthology titles ranging from westerns to fantasy. His newest work, The End of All Seasons, a collection of short fiction and poetry, came out in 2013. He is a past president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Screenwriting Concentration Director JS Mayank

Professor Mayank is a Hollywood screenwriter and director who recently signed with ICM Partners in the TV division, which also represents stalwarts like David Shore (House M.D.), Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal), and Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad). Mayank is currently developing several TV shows, including one with producer Matt Gross at Europacorp (Luc Besson's company) and another with producer Vince Gerardis (Game of Thrones). His sci-fi short film EMIT (starring Jack Coleman of Heroes and The Office) played at over 30 festivals world-wide last year.

Publishing Certificate Director Caleb Seeling

Professor Seeling began working in publishing in 2006 and founded Samizdat Publishing Group in Denver in 2009. The company has since expanded, forming three imprints (Conundrum Press, Conundrum Faith, and Samizdat Creative), publishing between 20-30 books altogether each year. An active member of several publishing and arts organizations, Caleb is also a social entrepreneur, finding ways to serve the greater community and disadvantaged youth through strategic partnerships with organizations such as Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and Youth on Record. He has also recently published his first graphic novel, The Battle Begins, with David C. Cook Publishing, illustrated by Eisner-award winning artist Sergio Cariello. The sequel, The Seeds of Struggle, will appear in fall 2015 and he is under contract for two more.

Our concentration directors have hired comparably qualified faculty to work with them.

Guest speakers at our annual conference Writing the Rockies bring excellence to the campus in the form of lectures, readings, panels, workshops, seminars, and discussion. Recent visitors have included:


Joe Haldeman, John Helfers, Diana Tixier Herald, Robert McBrearty, Jim Minz, Andy Zack


Charlie Craig (The X-Files, Eureka, Rizzoli & Isles), Sam Robards (American Beauty, A.I.), Linda Seger (script consultant for TriStar Pictures, Ray Bradbury, William Kelley, Linda Lavin, and many more), Joel Thompson (House, Falling Skies)


Kim Bridgford, Tom Cable, Natalie Gerber, Emily Grosholz, Dana Gioia, Simon Jarvis, Marilyn Krysl, Dave Mason, Jan Schreiber, Marilyn Taylor, Fred Turner.


John Helfers, Larry Meredith, Leah Rogin-Roper, Terrie Wolf,

3. Rigorous Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to inspire excellence at every level. Classes are structured more like those in a music conservatory, an arts academy, a school of architecture or a school of dance than they are like those one would find in an academic department. Students not only study works of art, but imitate them in highly structured and specific ways, the better to learn what it is they themselves want to do in their own work. We also offer courses on pedagogy, on editing, on the business side of writing, on how to write criticism, and more, to teach students how to make it in the world outside the university. In short, our students do not merely exchange manuscripts and critique them. In each concentration they follow a carefully sequenced and rigorous curriculum based on imitating the best work in each field. Then – and only then – when they have begun to master this material, do they finish with a creative thesis.

Western is a beautiful place to study, and students in our low-residency programs love coming to our intensive on campus each July, when the Gunnison Valley is one of the most beautiful places in America.

But while the place is special, it is our concentrations, our faculty and our curriculum that set our graduate programs in creative writing apart from most others. Our concentrations are distinctive, our faculty are excellent, and our curriculum is rigorous. Taken altogether, this combination makes us one of the strongest programs in the country. Read on and discover why.

Scholarship News

MFA Poetry Scholarship: The Poetry Concentration is currently offering one $10,000/yr. scholarship for a new full-time student who enrolls in fall 2015. The scholarship is for two years, at the same amount each year. We are tremendously grateful to the Kenney Brothers Foundation and the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation for this support.  Click here for the MFA Poetry Scholarship Application and information.

Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Application Information


FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.

 CRWR 520 - SUMMER INTENSIVE I (3 credits)

Focuses on writing workshops that teach students how to research, edit, and hone their work, and submit it for publication. Familiarizes students with aesthetics of different literary magazines, and the aesthetic of the book the course prepares for production. Teaches introductory skills and orientation for online work for the subsequent year of study. This course is offered as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: Registration for the publishing course of studies.


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; 2) market analysis; 3) working with agents and book packagers; 4) the author contract; and 5) editorial review groups - who participates and why. This course is offered as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: CRWR 520. Co-requisites: CRWR 521, CRWR 523, CRWR 524.

 CRWR 523 - ACQUISITIONS (1 credits)

Teaches the topics of 1) what an editor does (and does not do); 2) what "house style" is and how books conform; 3) steps from developmental edit to copyedit to proofread; and 4) appropriate interaction with authors. Offered as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: CRWR 520. Co-requisites: CRWR 521, CRWR 522, CRWR 524.


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.


Involves students in an acquisitions editorial staff that will select, proof, and ready submissions for publication of the book project for the year. Students participate in online discussions every week, meeting as an editorial board to select submissions for publication in the book project for the year. Students finalize selections, proof work, and ready book for publication. Also meets online three times to discuss materials from learning modules, and how that information relates to book project and their duties as editors and publishers. Offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisites: CRWR 521. Co-requisites: CRWR 526, CRWR 527, CRWR 528.

 CRWR 526 - DESIGN AND LAYOUT (1 credits)

Provides students with an understanding of such design and layout consideration as typography, use of graphics, cover design, interior book layout, creating an index, interaction with printers, as well as alternative considerations for electronic and e-reader delivery. Offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: CRWR 521. Co-requisites: CRWR 525, CRWR 527, CRWR 528.

 CRWR 527 - MARKETING AND SALES (1 credits)

Familiarizes student with the topics of 1) the role of the author in marketing and selling a book; 2) the marketing done prior to book publication and what happens after release; 3) effective public relations; 4) sales model-direct, bookstores/retail, hybrid distributions; and electronic promotion, marketing, and delivery; 5) selling books in-house by team, by distribution, and by commissioned reps; 6) tracking and evaluating sales. Offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisites: CRWR 521. Co-requisites: CRWR 525, CRWR 526, CRWR 528.


Covers accounting and inventory issues, customer service, warehousing and shipping of physical book inventory, as well as electronic delivery systems. This course is offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisites: CRWR 521. Co-requisites: CRWR 525, CRWR 526, CRWR 527.

 CRWR 530 - SUMMER INTENSIVE II (3 credits)

Focuses on final preparation of the product as well as formulating and launching a marketing plan for distribution. This is offered for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory credit. Prerequisite: CRWR 525.


Special topics - studies to be determined by faculty, department and student.


An opportunity to learn practical skills about writing and publishing by working on-site with professionals.

 CRWR 600 - SUMMER ORIENTATION (1 credits)

Focus on learning mastery of online tools, attending faculty and student readings, and meeting with non-residency mentors during first summer; focus on attending presentations and participating in workshop sessions during second summer; and focus on presenting student thesis as well as attending and participating in other readings during third summer. Must be repeated three times for credit. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on student exploration of texts that set patterns for various forms of genre writing, and use those patterns as the basis for their own writing. Reading includes contemporary texts, folktales and myths that establish the archetypal basis for narrative patterns in plot, setting and character development. Also lays the groundwork for students to articulate and work efficiently within their own writing process, and for students to establish effective writing practices for long-term use. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on work shopping students' writing projects, with a focus on developing material for the thesis. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on the practical aspects of dealing with current market demands for writers, with a focus on self-promotion both before and after publication. Work includes public reading of theses, pitches, and interviews; discussion and practice in using the internet and social networking media for promoting writing; and an exploration of opportunities available from writers grants and fellowships. Session also includes a 'mentoring' component, where graduating students hold mentoring sessions with new students. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


An opportunity to develop lesson plans, sample lessons, and grading rubrics for a course in writing. Instruction includes strategies for creative writing classes as well as English composition courses, including a guided discussion on pedagogy theory and practice with daily questions on points of interest, suggested readings, and the opportunity for teaching writers to discuss challenges and insights for the practice of teaching. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 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; strengthen research skills for their areas of interest; articulate their writing process and explore ways to make it more efficient and effective; practice craft-building exercises in a variety of areas. Participants encouraged to use class material as the basis for their future thesis work. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


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.


Focus on providing students with experience writing in the forms of the mystery, women's fiction, romance and the Western, exploring 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 a guided exploration of taking work into the world of making connections with editors, agents, and other writers through attending writing conventions, joining on-line groups, and more, preparing students to make the most of these channels for publication. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 622 - THESIS PREPARATION (6 credits)

Focus on guiding students through the process of preparing and completing a working draft of the capstone thesis in a genre of the student's choice. Completed working draft to be submitted to the assigned thesis advisor no later than the course's end. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 631 - SCANSION IMMERSION (2 credits)

Focus on an intensive review of prosody - how to make meter and rhythm work in the poetic line as well as how to discern that structure in the works of others. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 632 - PUBLIC PERFORMANCE (2 credits)

Focus on the quintessence of public speaking, particularly as it applies to the performance of poetry, delivery of lectures, and participation in panels, understanding of the craft of using their voices and their physical presence to deliver creative, critical and pedagogical work orally to the public, and how to participate in conversations with the greatest possible skill and grace. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 633 - POETRY AND MUSIC (2 credits)

Focus on exploring some of the complex relations between these two arts, from theoretical discussion to the practical aspects of writing everything from song lyrics to choral odes to opera libretti. 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.


Focus on emphasizing advanced topics in metrical composition, e.g. stanza forms, longer forms and sequences, narrative forms, nonce forms (including free verse forms). Students not only practice the forms, but read and scan them along with delving into the history, criticism and theory. The course also selects several major traditions in verse theory and explores them in depth, e.g., linguistic theories of verse; structuralist theories; relations between verse and music; attempt to imitate classical forms in modern languages; etc. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on an exploration of the theory and practice of rhythm and rhyme, including all variations, their sources and their traditions in consideration of aesthetic, linguistic, and anthropological theories. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 646 - NARRATIVE POETRY (6 credits)

Focus on examination, analysis, study, and writing in the narrative genres and modes of poetry, from the ballad to the epic and novel in verse. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on examination, analysis, discussion, and writing in all the modes of comic verse, including all the modes of satire (Menippean, Horatian, parodic), to verse-based comic approaches such as light verse, doggerel, children's verse, and more. Additionally, an exploration of dramatic techniques of verse from ancient Greece through the Renaissance, and to modern writers such as T. S. Eliot and up to the present. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on a study of significant forms, group of forms, or poetic genres, based on student and faculty mentor interest, with students reading a wide range of examples along with criticism and theory, and also composing their own work in these forms and genres. Topics include the following: The Sonnet and Sonnet Sequences, French and Italian Forms (ballade, villanelle, sestina, rondeau, terza rima, etc.), Classical Forms (Latin and Greek), The Ode, Blank Verse, Elegy and Pastoral , Non-European Forms (haiku, ghazal, tanka, Welsh forms, etc.), Free Verse Forms (Whitmanian versicles, syllabics, loose iambics, nonce forms, etc.). Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on close analysis of the best reviews and criticism of the past and present, and practice writing such pieces themselves. Also a wide range of techniques and materials available to teachers of poetry to communicate much of that history. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on examination, analysis, and discussion of classic and contemporary films from a screenwriting, story, and character development perspective as well as analyses of theme and motif. Students engage in writing activities and exercises to develop a visual narrative style. All such writing goes towards creating material to fuel the mentoring process in upcoming semesters. The main theme here is: when possible show the story element; Don't have a character say it. Finally the prevailing three- and four-act screenplay structures will be explored. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on work shopping of short screenplays and projects along with exploration of story arc, elements of conflict, character development and arc, with an emphasis on film genre choices and styles. Includes proposals for upcoming mentoring semesters, feature-length screenplays, plus an opportunity to practice pitches. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Mock or actual 'pitch' sessions of the thesis screenplay. Screenwriting contests researched and entered. Writers Guild guidelines and application explored. Agents, options to produce, and independent film potential also explored. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


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.


Focus on a thorough proposal for both the drama and sitcom is researched and written. The result will be a complete portfolio including an episode teleplay completed for (both or either) a television drama (and/or) a situation comedy. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


A thorough review of the existing works in the style and genre of the proposed piece, and a thorough treatment written. Students generate character biographies and a complete story outline. The production is 'pitched' to fellow students along with the mentor. A first draft written and critiqued. 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) and loglines for at least 4-5 future episodes. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 678 - ADAPTATION (6 credits)

Focus on taking preexisting source material (books, newspaper articles, videogames, graphic novels etc.) and learn how to begin adapting such into a screenplay. Students examine various forms of adaptation, write a research paper, and write the first act of their own feature adaptation piece. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


A guided discussion on pedagogy theory and practice with weekly questions on points of interest, suggested readings, and the opportunity for writing teachers and aspiring writing teachers to discuss challenges and insights about the practice of teaching. Prerequisite: Admission to the Program.


Focus on a feature-length screenplay, intended for Hollywood or independent production, proposed including a thorough review of the existing works, treatment, character biographies, and generation of a complete story outline. A first draft of approximately 120 pages written and critiqued. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on completion of the screenplay. Several drafts written and developed with the mentor. Following industry preferences, the screenplay should target approximately 100 pages. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 694 - CAPSTONE (3 credits)

Focus on working with a faculty mentor and responding to mentor readings and workshop suggestions in order to complete one long work suitable for thesis binding. For the Genres concentration, this shall be the final preparation of a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction suitable for seeking publication; or for the Poetry concentration, this shall be the final preparation to submit 35 pages of original poetry and a prose portfolio including at least one review of a poetry book and one historical essay, or else one review and one work of translation, totaling 10-15 pages, and an analytical project, for a total of 60 - 80 pages; or for the screenwriting concentration, this shall be the final preparation of a feature-length screenplay (the defined Master's Thesis Project) revised and polished, and readied for a public reading of an excerpt performed or else a self-produced sequence from, or trailer for, the screenplay. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.


Focus on studies of a particular topic of interest to students in the MFA program to be announced each time the course is offered. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

Faculty & Staff


Director of Genre Fiction Concentration
BA, University of Wisconsin; MFA, National University
Phone: 970.943.2025
Office Location:
Visiting Professor of Genre Fiction
BA, Scripps College; MFA, Western State Colorado University; MA, Hebrew Union-College-Jewish Institute of Religion;
Office Location:
Grad Creative Writing MFA Inst
BA, Rutgers University; MSt, Oxford University; PhD, Oxford University
Office Location:
Director of Screenwriting Concentration
BA, University of Delhi; MA, Wake Forest University; MFA, Loyola Marymount University;
Phone: 970.943.3016
Office Location:
Grad MFA Capstone Advising
BA, Fort Lewis College; MFA, University of Southern Maine; PhD, Georgia State University
Office Location:
Grad Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts Inst
BA, California College of Arts and Crafts; MFA in Popular Fiction, University of Southern Maine; MFA in Painting, Lone Mountain College;
Phone: 970.943.2025
Office Location: Taylor Hall 208
Director of Graduate Program in Creative Writing; Director of Poetry Concentration
AB, Harvard University; MA, University of Utah; PhD, New York University;
Phone: 970.943.2058
Office Location: Taylor Hall 222B
Director, Certificate in Publishing
Master of Public Health, University of Michigan; Master of Social Work, University of Michigan; Bachelor of Arts, Calvin College
Phone: 720.984.2810
Office Location: Off Campus
Lecturer Grad Creative Writing
MFA, Spalding University;
Phone: 970.943.2025
Office Location:
Professor of English
BA, MA, Eastern New Mexico University; PhD, Texas Tech University.
Phone: (970) 943-2016
Office Location: Taylor Hall 208G
Grad Creative Writing MFA Inst
BFA, Carnegie Mellon University; MFA, Columbia University
Phone: 970.943.2025
Office Location: