English and Comparative Literature

MFA - Creative Writing

Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing

In addition to meeting minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate Division outlined in this catalog, an applicant must have:

A minimum of 24 semester hours of acceptable undergraduate course work in the major beyond freshman composition;

A 3.0 grade point average in major courses;

Approval by the departmental MFA in Creative Writing Committee;

For an international student, TOEFL score of 610 or higher.

Requirements for Admission to Conditionally Classified Standing

Students who do not qualify for classified standing but who meet university requirements for graduate admission and whose past performance gives promise of satisfactory completion of requirements for admission to classified graduate standing may, with the approval of the departmental MFA in Creative Writing Committee, be admitted as conditionally classified in the MFA program.

Requirements for Admission to Candidacy for the MFA in English

Admission to candidacy for the Master of Fine Arts degree in English requires favorable action by the departmental MFA in Creative Writing Committee. Applicants will observe the stipulations relative to such items as transfer credit, time limit, completion of the core requirement, and scholarship stated in this catalog.

All candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, are required to:

  • Complete an approved 48-unit program with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. At least 36 of these units must be graduate-level (i.e. 200-numbered) courses. Any upper division courses to be applied to the MFA must be approved in advance by the Creative Writing Director.
  • Demonstrate competency in the theory and practice of literary production and scholarship by passing ENGL 201C.
  • Demonstrate reading proficiency in a second language by passing a language examination. (This requirement is waived for students whose first language is not English or who have, within five years of achieving candidacy, earned a grade of "B" or better in the fourth semester of an acceptable foreign language course).
  • Write a substantial work, with critical introduction, in one of the four program emphases: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, or Script Writing.
  • Pass the MFA Comprehensive Examination.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
Requirements of the Major48
Core Courses3
ENGL 201C. Materials and Methods of Literary Production3
Complete eighteen units (12 units in Primary Genre and 6 units in Secondary Genre) from:
ENGL 240. Poetry Writing Workshop3
ENGL 241. Fiction Writing Workshop3
ENGL 242. Nonfiction Writing Workshop3
TA 275. Graduate Scriptwriting Seminar3
All courses repeatable for up to 12 total units of credit
Literary Research15
Complete five courses from:
ENGL 139. Visiting Authors3
ENGL 202. Poetic Craft and Theory3
ENGL 203. Narrative Craft and Theory3
ENGL 204. Seminar in Modern Approaches to Literature3
ENGL 208. Seminar in Comparative Literature3
ENGL 211. Seminar in Twentieth Century Poetry3
ENGL 215. Seminar in Myth and Symbolism3
ENGL 216. Seminar in Medieval English Literature3
ENGL 224. Studies in English Early Modern Literature3
ENGL 225. Seminar in Shakespeare3
ENGL 228. Seminar in Genre Studies3
ENGL 230. Seminar in Eighteenth Century British Literature3
ENGL 232. Seminar in Romanticism3
ENGL 233. Seminar in the Victorian Period3
ENGL 253. Seminar in Period Studies of American Literature3
ENGL 254. Seminar in Genre Studies of American Literature3
ENGL 255. Seminar in Thematic Studies of American Literature3
ENGL 256. Seminar in Twentieth Century British Literature3
ENGL 292. Beowulf3
ENGL 298. Special Study1-4
Professional Training6
Complete six units from:
ENGL 133. Reed Magazine3
ENGL 257. Seminar in the History of Rhetoric3
ENGL 259. Seminar in Composition Studies3
ENGL 298. Special Study1-4
Culminating Experience6
Creative Project in candidate's emphasis area
ENGL 299. Master's Thesis or Project1-6

Total Units:48