MFA in Creative Writing

The MFA in Creative Writing is a small, intensive one-year program. Within the program, students are asked to complete eight classes—at least half of them in the workshops, with the remaining courses coming from the graduate curriculum within Boston University. These courses may come from among the vast offerings of the University—from the English Department, or another department that offers courses that are essentially literary in nature. The goal of the program is to produce readers, critics, poets, and writers of the highest quality.

Course Requirements

Eight semester courses (32 credits) are required for the degree; these are usually completed within one year, though they may be completed in two. At least four of the eight courses are normally taken in fiction, poetry, or a combination thereof. The four remaining courses normally are graduate-level literature courses.

Foreign Language Requirement

Each student who has not previously completed at least two semesters of study in one foreign language at the intermediate undergraduate level or the equivalent shall make up the deficiency. The academic advisor may approve one of the following options:

  • Satisfactory completion of CAS XL 540 Literary Translation: Practice and Theory (students electing this option will be interviewed by the course instructor; if selected, the student will work with a mentor from the appropriate language department)
  • Any BU course in a foreign language (or a 500-level reading course in a foreign language) that the director of the Creative Writing Program approves, which can include the zero-credit graduate Spanish, German, and French reading courses GRS LS 621, LG 621, or LF 621, offered free of charge to enrolled Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) students in a degree program
  • An appropriate designated score on the SAT II language test
  • A translation examination administered by the department, a project, such as a translation of poetry or prose, or scholarly research involving the use of a foreign language. (The project must be approved by the director of the Creative Writing Program.)


A substantial master’s thesis in fiction or poetry is required.


Courses are listed in three categories: creative writing, language and linguistics, and literature.

Creative Writing

  • CAS EN 503, 504 Fiction Workshop
  • CAS EN 505, 506 Poetry Workshop
  • CAS EN 507 Seminar in Creative Writing: Fiction
  • CAS EN 508 Seminar in Creative Writing: Poetry

Language and Linguistics

  • CAS EN 513 Modern English Grammar
  • CAS EN 515 History of the English Language I
  • CAS EN 516 History of the English Language II
  • CAS EN 518 Linguistic Problems in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language


  • CAS EN 521 Middle Ages Medieval Romance
  • CAS EN 525 Literature of the Seventeenth Century I
  • CAS EN 527 Literature of the Eighteenth Century I
  • CAS EN 529 Romantic Age
  • CAS EN 531 Victorian Age
  • CAS EN 533 American Literature: Beginnings to 1855
  • CAS EN 534 American Literature: 1855 to 1918
  • CAS EN 535 Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry
  • CAS EN 542 The Rise of the Novel
  • CAS EN 543 The Nineteenth-Century English Novel
  • CAS EN 544 The Modern British Novel
  • CAS EN 545 The Nineteenth-Century American Novel
  • CAS EN 546 The Modern American Novel
  • CAS EN 547 Contemporary American Fiction
  • CAS EN 566 Milton
  • CAS EN 572 Studies in American Literary Movements
  • CAS EN 576 Studies in Literature and Gender
  • CAS EN 578 Studies in British Writers
  • CAS EN 579 Studies in American Writers
  • CAS EN 580 Studies in American Writers
  • CAS EN 582 Studies in Modern Literature
  • CAS EN 584 Studies in Literature and Ethnicity
  • CAS EN 585 Contemporary American Poetry
  • CAS EN 586 Studies in Anglophone Literature
  • CAS EN 587 Studies in African American Literature
  • CAS EN 591 Studies in Literature and Society
  • CAS EN 592 Studies in Literature and Society
  • CAS EN 593 Studies in Literature and the Arts
  • CAS EN 594 Studies in Literature and the Arts
  • CAS EN 595 Studies in Literary Topics
  • CAS EN 596 Studies in Literary Topics
  • CAS EN 604 Literary Criticism I
  • GRS EN 606 Literary Criticism II
  • CAS EN 665 Critical Studies in Literature and Society
  • GRS EN 666 Critical Studies in Literature and Society
  • GRS EN 675 Studies in Literature and Gender
  • GRS EN 680 Critical Studies of American Writers
  • GRS EN 686 Studies in Anglophone Literature
  • GRS EN 694 Critical Studies in Literature and the Arts
  • GRS EN 695 Critical Studies in Literary Topics
  • GRS EN 696 Critical Studies in Literary Topics
  • GRS EN 699 Teaching College English
  • GRS EN 727 Enlightenment, Philosophy and Fiction
  • GRS EN 730 Romantic Selves
  • GRS EN 743 Victorian Ideas of Culture
  • GRS EN 744 The Novel in Theory and Practice
  • GRS EN 745 Problem of the South in American Literature
  • GRS EN 746 Fiction and Social Theory in the 1950s
  • GRS EN 748 Turn of the Century U.S. Literature
  • GRS EN 751 Idolatry, Images, Iconoclasm
  • GRS EN 727 British Poetry from 1660 to 1780 in Cultural Context
  • GRS EN 763 English History Play
  • GRS EN 787 Birth of Modern Drama
  • GRS EN 788 Transnational Modernism
  • GRS EN 790 Theories of Gender and Sexuality
  • GRS EN 792 Introduction to Recent Critical Theory and Method
  • GRS EN 794 Postcolonial Literature and Theory

Directed Study

  • GRS EN 993, 994 Directed Study in English

Metropolitan College Courses

A limited number of courses are offered in Metropolitan College under the auspices of the Department of English and are approved for graduate credit for students enrolled in the MA and PhD programs. For further information, see the Metropolitan College Bulletin.