MFA Coursework & Program of Study

An innovative MFA program at Iowa State University that fuses creative writing workshops, interdisciplinary coursework, and intensive field experience to help writers cultivate an understanding of the imprint of place, the natural world, and the environmental imagination on the poems, stories, and essays we create.

The MFA in Creative Writing and Environment requires a total of 54 credits of coursework.

Area of CourseworkCoursesCredits
TOTAL 54 minimum
CORE COURSEWORK
Engl 550: Creative Writing: Craft & Prof Practice
(required in first semester)
Engl 551: Master Workshop (required in fifth semester)
Engl 543: Environmental Literature or any literature graduate course with emphasis on environment, ecology, or science
9
CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS
Workshops in Scriptwriting, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry as well as Special Topics in Creative Writing and Creative Writing Graduate Study and Travel.
Students may choose from these workshops and may repeat any up to a maximum of 12 credits for each course.
Every genre workshop offers a component on environmental or place-based creative writing.
Choose from the following:
Engl 552X, 554, 555, 556, 557, 595b


12
ELECTIVES IN CREATIVE WRITING
Courses in Special Topics in Creative Writing, Teaching Creative Writing, Creative Writing Internship, Practicum in Literary Editing, and Creative Writing Graduate Study and Travel.
Students may take a graduate course in literature, linguistics, or RPC instead of Engl 557 in this category with approval of the POS committee.
Choose from the following:
Engl 557, 558, 559, 589, 595b
6
ENVIRONMENTAL FIELD EXPERIENCE
Students design and complete a field experience relevant to their writing interests.
Students may repeat up to a maximum of 6 credits, but only 3 credits can be counted towards the degree.

*See links below for MFA Guidelines for Completion of Engl 560 and the MFA Environmental Field Experience (Engl 560) Proposal Form
Engl 5603
ENVIRONMENTAL COURSES IN DISCIPLINES OUTSIDE THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT
Students design, in consultation with their adviser/major professor, a self-tailored core of interdisciplinary courses that allow them to pursue fields of knowledge relevant to their writing projects. Selections can be made from any Iowa State University courses with an environmental focus offered outside the English Department.
These courses may be at the graduate level and they may also be 300- or 400-level non-major undergraduate courses used in accordance with English Department and Graduate College policy.

The MFA Environmental Courses Outside English Petition should be submitted for approval before taking environmental coursework, and a complete petition submitted by no later than week 7 of the student’s second semester of coursework even if it is a preliminary petition to be updated later.

*See links below for MFA Environmental Courses Outside English Petition and the
List of Suggested Environmental Courses Outside English
Choose courses that total 12 credits. 12
ELECTIVES IN LITERATURE
Student may choose from any graduate literature courses in the English Department.
Choose from the following:
Engl 521, 522, 523, 531, 532, 533, 534, 535, 538, 539, 540, 541, 543, 545, 546, 561, 590a, 595a
3
OPEN ELECTIVE IN ENGLISH DEPT
TAs may use Engl 500 or Sp Cm 513 to fulfill this requirement.
3
INDEPENDENT THESIS RESEARCH
Students work intensively with a major professor one-on-one to complete an MFA thesis.
Engl 599: Creative Component is not an option.

*See link below for MFA Thesis FAQs
Engl 699: Thesis Research 6