Masters in Creative Writing
Lucy Corin; Photo Credit: Lydia Daniller
One of the main benefits of our MA program is that our creative writers take literature courses right along with PhD candidates; this means there are close relationships among students across disciplines. Our writers never have to fight for a seat or attention from their professors in literature courses, which admit a maximum of 15 students. More generally, this approach to the study of creative writing seeks to erase any divide between writer as artist and writer as reader and critical thinker. An MA in English, because of its emphasis on the study of literature, is also a good choice for students who might want to pursue a PhD in Literature.
We emphasize close student-faculty relationships and the development of individual artistic sensibilities in a supportive and engaged community of writers. Typically, 12-14 writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction are admitted each year into the program, and we regularly offer workshops in nonfiction and seminars in poetics and the theory of fiction. Our faculty (Joshua Clover, Lucy Corin, Jack Hicks, Pam Houston, Katie Peterson, Joe Wenderoth, and Jacinda Townsend) represents extraordinary variety of aesthetic sensibilities and ways of leading a literary life. A great way to get a sense of what's available to you at Davis is to look into the range of experiences our faculty brings. Some schools do an excellent job of collecting like-minded writers and thinkers; Davis thrives on variety, so you should be excited by the idea of having your own sensibilities challenged as well as finding mentors who can nurture your core beliefs.
Course of Study
This is a two-year program on the quarter system (our academic year consists of three sessions of ten-week courses that run from the end of September until mid-June). Students concentrate in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or, occasionally, multi-genre forms. During the two years you'll take at least 4 workshops (3 in your genre and 1 outside your genre). Students take seminars in poetics and/or theory of fiction, 3 literature courses (at least two at the graduate level), and also have the opportunity to take courses across the university. A series of thesis units, which is time allocated to working with thesis committee members, will complete the required 36 units.
In the spring of the first year students form a thesis committee consisting of a Thesis Director and two additional readers from the faculty. During the second year, students work closely with their committee to create a book-length creative work which is presented at an intimate-yet-public defense/celebration in May.