Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Creative Writing Curriculum Overview

Every Stonecoast graduate holds an MFA in Creative Writing, with individual experiences weighted toward one of five concentrations.

Professional writers often publish in multiple genres, which is why Stonecoast (unlike most MFA programs) encourages cross-genre exploration. Expect academic rigor and the freedom to experiment, push boundaries, and grow as an artist.

In every concentration, students will create at least 400 pages of new writing, receive personalized feedback from faculty mentors, and learn how to develop careers in publishing and teaching.

Complete Your MFA at Stonecoast

Prior to graduation, every student will:

  • Participate in 8 workshops, honing craft, developing a critical eye, and fostering connections with other students.
  • Engage in 16 or more craft seminars. These classes are led by Stonecoast faculty and distinguished guests.
  • Read and annotate 20 or more creative works and craft texts.
  • Complete an Enhancement Project Essay in the third semester. This 18-25-page critical essay will explore an issue or experience related to literary craft or literary theory.
  • Share your learning in the form of a one-hour presentation, to be delivered during the graduation residency.
  • Produce an 80-130 page thesis manuscript, in close consultation with your faculty mentor.
  • Give a public reading from your thesis work.

Prepare for a Professional Writing Life

At the start of each semester, you and your mentor will co-develop a study plan that establishes the requirements and deadlines for the term. Firm deadlines are established right from the beginning, enabling you to schedule your work around other commitments. Negotiating projects and meeting your agreed-upon deadlines prepare you for professional competence in the post-graduate world. The habits you develop at Stonecoast will sustain you well beyond the MFA program.

Semester Overview

First Semester

This is the time to develop a common vocabulary and learn to communicate clearly with faculty members and fellow students. You will generate a body of work in order to discover your voice and identify subjects that thrill you. Your mentor will offer constructive criticism and direct you to texts that will, variously, support or challenge your sense of what’s possible.

Second Semester

While generating new work remains the primary focus, in the second semester you will gain a better sense of your writing goals. You might want to interrogate a particular area of craft—for example, point of view, sense of place, or dialogue. Now is the time to explore new forms.

Third Semester

At this point, you will enjoy a clearer sense of your interests and the work ahead. In addition to new writing and revisions, you will complete a formal academic paper. This might take the form of an 18-25 page critical essay or experiential learning. Students have interned at literary magazines, taught in prisons, investigated the origins of the werewolf, and published anthologies. Some have presented their work at conferences or submitted it as part of their Ph.D. application.

Fourth Semester

In the final semester, also known as the thesis semester, you will shape a polished, professionally formatted manuscript with your mentor. The thesis serves both as a record of the work you have done and announces your further ambitions and goals.


We would love to tell you more about our Stonecoast MFA community. Contact us with your questions.

Take the Next Step

Learn more about program requirements or apply now.