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University Catalog

Department of Creative Writing

Andrew Fitch, Program Director
201 Hoyt Hall
Phone: (307) 766-6453, FAX: (307) 766-3189


ALYSON HAGY, B.A. Williams College 1982; M.F.A. University of Michigan 1985; Professor of Creative Writing 2008, 1996.
HARVEY HIX, B.A. Belmont College 1982; M.A. University of Texas, Austin 1985; Ph.D. 1987; Professor of Philosophy and Creative Writing 2005.
FRIEDA E. KNOBLOCH, B.A. Cornell University 1985; Ph.D. University of Minnesota 1994; Professor of American Studies and Creative Writing 2014, 1997.
JEFFREY A. LOCKWOOD, B.S. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 1982; Ph.D. Louisiana State University 1985; Professor of Philosophy and Creative Writing 2006.
BRAD WATSON, B.A. Mississippi State University 1978; MFA University of Alabama 1985. Professor of Creative Writing 2017, 2005.

Associate Professors

ANDREW FITCH, B.A. University of Wisconsin, Madison 1997; Ph.D. Graduate Center of the City University of New York 2009; Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing 2015, 2009.
KATE NORTHROP, B.A. University of Pennsylvania 1991; M.F.A. University of Iowa 1995; Associate Professor of Creative Writing 2008.

Senior Lecturer

APRIL HEANEY, B.A. University of Wyoming 1998; M.A. 2000. Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing 2015, 2005.

Associate Lecturers

PAUL BERGSTRAESSER, B.A. Oberlin College 1989; M.A. Northern Michigan University 2000; Ph.D. University of Illinois, Chicago 2007; Associate Lecturer in English and Creative Writing 2013, 2007.
VAL PEXTON, B.A. Humboldt State University 1986; B.A. University of Wyoming 1998; M.A. 2001; M.F.A. 2008; Associate Lecturer in English and Creative Writing 2013, 2009.

Creative Writing

We are writers. Our principles follow from what claims us as writers as we guide our students in the creation of their own work. We offer a commitment to art and to the development of community through art. We offer an immersion in making, a chance to discover, to create serious work without pretense, to collaborate, to shake off assumptions and anxieties.  

To be first and foremost concerned with making does not mean we take refuge from the world. It means we begin by supporting the deepest, most intelligent engagement with what matters to us as writers. A critical distance from the literary and academic marketplaces allows us to engage with them in a more thoughtful manner once we have found our authentic calling—that which we are truly compelled to explore. Our values will never map perfectly onto the concerns of institutions, and that is good. We strive to create the finest conditions for the making of art when we remain in an eccentric orbit of our own, one that overlaps with the other orbits, yet remains, as much as possible, guided by our own principles which include:

Making: we require the serious, committed, ongoing process of writing and revision.

Range: we cultivate a diversity of taste, form, genre, experience, and background, as well as an open understanding of what might constitute professional accomplishment.

Flexibility: we invite our writers to pursue their own creative and intellectual goals, to tailor the program in individual ways.

Curiosity: we urge creative and intellectual roaming: cross-genre work, interdisciplinary study, the movement across what are usually understood as boundaries; we encourage students to imagine possibilities beyond what is already imagined for them by the program and the university.

Community: we foster an environment that sustains listening, investment in the work of others, collaboration, rigorous expectation, generosity and, at the same time, respect for solitude.

Integrity: we challenge students to engage in deep investigation, to find their intent as a writer and to commit to it fully.

Undergraduate Minor

Minor in Creative Writing. The creative writing minor consists of six courses (18 hours) in creative writing and literature. Four of these courses will be in creative writing (12 hours) and must adhere to the following sequence: CW 1040 Intro to Creative Writing, two Lower Division Creative Writing courses (at the  2000-level), and an Upper Division course (4050). In addition, two courses will be in literature (6 hours). All courses must be completed with grades of C or better.

This minor is intended to be used with any major and must be designed in conjunction with a creative writing advisor. Each course must be passed with a grade of C or better.

Graduate Study

The Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts offers two areas of concentration: fiction and creative non-fiction. A concentration consists of three workshops in the appropriate area.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

In addition to the minimum requirements set forth in this Catalog, the Creative Writing M.F.A. Program requires that students demonstrate by means of an official transcript that they have a solid undergraduate record. The M.F.A. program welcomes degrees in any discipline from four-year colleges or universities. Candidates must submit GRE general test scores, three letters of recommendation, a writing sample consisting of no more than 25 pages of prose or 10 pages of poetry, a 500-word statement of purpose and a vita. Students should consult the M.F.A. web site or contact the department for specific admission information and deadlines.

Program Specific Graduate Assistantships

We are a fully-funded program, meaning that we accept only as many students as we can support with graduate (teaching) assistantships. Full assistantships carry an annual stipend and remission of tuition and fees, and require the teaching of one section per semester. M.F.A. students are expected to teach freshman English.

Each fall, the English department conducts a week-long orientation for new teaching assistants and a subsequent series of colloquia. Each graduate assistant is assigned to an experienced teacher in the English department as a mentor, to be available throughout the semester for consultation on teaching and grading techniques.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

M.F.A. students follow the guidelines for a Plan A thesis. Only those courses in which a grade of B or better has been earned may be applied to the graduate program of study. All courses must be taken for a grade unless offered for S/U only. No graduate credit is allowed for grades S and U.

The cumulative GPA must be at least 3.000 to receive a degree. Courses below 4000-level will not count toward the degree nor will they be figured in the GPA, although they will appear on the transcript.

A minimum of four Workshops (CW 5560) and/or Creative Writing Seminars (CW 5540) must be taken. These may be in any combination to reach the four-course total, typically for a total of 12-16 credit hours. We require a cross-genre component in that mix of courses.

  • Elective courses (typically taken for a total of 18 credit hours)
  • MFA Project (CW 5990): typically taken for 3-4 credit hours (elective)
  • ENGL 5900, taken in semesters teaching 1010, 1 credit per semester
  • ENGL 5010, taken in the first semester teaching 1010, 4 credits (can be waived if a student has taken a comparable graduate-level course in a prior program)
  • Other electives: free to be taken in any UW program or department across campus
  • Thesis Hours (5960): 4 credit hours

Total credit hours must be a minimum of 36.

Creative Writing (CW) Courses

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