3.5 Guidelines for Thesis (MFA)

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The MFA degree program has a research element in addition to the required number of credit hours. These guidelines will help you complete your thesis.

3.5.1 General guidelines

All MFA students write theses that are composed of their own imaginative writing.

3.5.2 Thesis Proposal

The proposal for a book-length thesis must be approved by your major professor by the last month of your third semester in the program.

3.5.3 Results

Thesis work produces one document—the thesis itself. In the case of MFA students, that thesis is considered a work of publishable quality.

3.5.4 Audience, distribution, and awards

The immediate audience for the thesis is the POS committee and other interested readers, but the MFA thesis project also anticipates an outside audience of readers—agents, publishers, and readers of literary works. It should also be noted that electronic copies of MFA theses are kept on file in the university library. MFA theses are eligible for Graduate College Research Excellence Awards.

3.5.5 Format

The format of the thesis is that of a creative writing manuscript. A checklist of Graduate College general requirements for the thesis, along with other important information on thesis writing and submission, is available on the Graduate College Electronic Theses/Dissertations (ETDs) at ISU. An MFA creative writing thesis must approximate a published collection or novel.

3.5.6 Original Work

Your thesis should be comprised of original work you completed while receiving credit for Engl 699. A thesis may draw upon work previously completed in class, but the final product should be a significant expansion of that work. For example, your thesis may contain work you began or produced in graduate creative writing workshops, but it should reflect significant development of that earlier work.

Procedures for completing the MFA thesis

In completing the creative writing MFA thesis, you will need to do the following:

  • review the proposal for a book-length thesis with your POS committee
  • submit the thesis to your POS committee
  • defend the thesis in an oral examination