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Course content

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics (MFA) is designed to help students develop their creative work through a course of study that encourages exploration and discovery. The MFA degree prepares students for various teaching positions as well as careers in fields that required advanced critical, creative, and writing abilities

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Washington Bothell (UW Bothell) is dedicated to helping each student develop their creative work through a course of study that encourages exploration and discovery. Through an emphasis on poetics, or why we write how we write, we invite students to participate in a forum and laboratory that focuses on the pursuit of creative writing in a rapidly changing society.

The intensive, first year curriculum is based on areas of inquiry, rather than genres, creating an alternative to most regional and national MFA programs. It asks: How is creative writing an ethical, political, and aesthetic endeavor? How does new media change the production, reception, and dissemination of creative works? What forms might creative writing take in an interconnected, transnational society?

In the second year, students pursue a thesis with an advisor and an individualized course of study. Some degree candidates may choose to write their thesis as a single genre; others may elect hybrid modes that utilize multiple genres or media. The second year is designed to give students access to a broad range of interdisciplinary courses so that they can develop an area of expertise pertinent to their written arts and career paths.

Program and Special Events
Each year there is a Fall Convergence in which our graduate students, UW Bothell faculty, and invited nationally and internationally renowned writers engage with each other. There are author readings and conversations, poetics panels and discussions, and open exchange. The Spring Festival concludes the academic year with all of the graduating MFA students reading from their thesis to the assembled MFA faculty and guests. Each graduating cohort selects one writer or artist apart from the MFA faculty to preside at this occasion.

In addition to its fall and spring events, the MFA sponsors multiple campus and course related author and artist visits to campus. UW Bothell is located in the Convergence Zone, a place of mixing weather fronts, that can create wild and unpredictable weather. We answer this weather with our own converging fronts of author readings, performances and talks.

Program Curriculum
The UW Bothell MFA consists of a residency program in its first year, and residency and non-residency options in its second year. Students participate in the program as a member of a cohort of 18 MFA students and are required to take 10 credits per quarter.

- First Year
In the first year creative writing workshops are paired with poetics seminars in a sequential study.

* The first quarter explores diverse genres and writing practices in relation to cultural and social change.

* In the winter relationships between imagination and fact are investigated and writers’ research methods are explored.

* Spring quarter focuses on processes of thinking and memory and how these are challenged or altered by such technologies as photography and new media.

- Second Year
The second year is divided between thesis work and an additional 15 credits of elective courses. Students can pursue their second year as residency or non-residency students, or a combination of both. In advance of their second year, students will have the opportunity to create an individualized course of study in consultation with their advisors. Residency students will be able to develop expertise in a subject area of their choice: education, environmental studies, literature, interdisciplinary arts, cultural studies, global studies, community psychology, computer software, human rights, or any number of diverse areas of UW graduate instruction.

Career Pathways
An MFA degree qualifies graduates to teach at universities, four-year colleges, and community colleges, as well as in K-12 programs (with additional certification). In addition to careers in teaching, the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics prepares graduates to work in fields in which writing and critical thinking abilities are needed, including many communications, journalistic, and public relations positions. Writers are increasingly sought for diverse public, profit, and not-for-profit industries to create web sites and to engage in other web-driven modes of communication.

For those students wishing to pursue further graduate work, an MFA degree in Creative Writing and Poetics prepares them for Ph.D. work in diverse fields of the humanities and the arts.





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