Application Procedures

Creative Writing Graduate Specialization

Overview

Applicants will be admitted to the English degree with a Specialization in Creative Writing (30 credits).

The Specialization in Creative Writing offers a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) in English to students who wish to pursue advanced work in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and hybrid genres. The aim is to professionalize students, helping them to become creative writers and teachers of English. While any student having a strong undergraduate education in English is welcome to pursue the Specialization in Creative Writing, the Specialization does cater most directly to future creative PhD and MFA students in English, future two-year college instructors, and future secondary educators. Under the guidance of a faculty committee, students are required to write a creative thesis as the culmination of their studies.

Master's Degree Thesis Plan Option(s)

Students pursuing a Master’s Degree in English with a Specialization in Creative Writing can receive the MS or MA by pursuing one of two options:

In the Plan A option, students complete 24 approved graduate-level coursework credits and then must write a six-credit thesis in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or hybrid creative work. In the Plan B option, students complete 27 approved graduate-level coursework credits and then produce a three-credit creative thesis.

In seminars and workshops with faculty, creative writing students consider literary texts and learn how to produce them. The course of study thus includes both theory and practice: students take part in the reading and the writing of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and criticism.

Although most courses will be completed within the Specialization in Creative Writing, students may also pursue their interests by taking courses in Literature, Culture, and Composition; Folklore; and Technical Communication and Rhetoric. Coursework may include some online courses; however, Creative Writing is an on-campus specialization and may not be completed by taking only online classes.

Admission Requirements 

  • Standardized tests (such as the GRE) are NOT required for this application; International students may be required to demonstrate proof of English language proficiency (refer to the graduate school admissions page). 
  • Fill out the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Provide a copy of your transcript
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Submit a writing portfolio (refer below)

Writing Portfolio Materials

1) Statement of Purpose (1 to 2 pages single space)

Applicants must submit a statement of purpose that explains their reasons for seeking a master's degree with a Specialization in Creative Writing at Utah State University.

This statement should briefly describe their previous academic/creative work, identifying central themes, areas of interest, and skills acquired. Applicants should explain how these prior artistic/academic experiences have prepared and/or motivated them to enter a graduate program specializing in creative writing. The statement of purpose may also address any relevant professional experiences and explain how such experiences have prepared and/or motivated them to enter this graduate program. Within this statement, applicants should identify some of the specific topics or genres they would like to focus on for their graduate work. Applicants should also make an effort to show that they are familiar with the specific requirements and features of the Graduate Specialization in Creative Writing at USU.

All applicants will be considered for a Graduate Instructorship (GI-ship). To be most competitive for this opportunity, please include a paragraph that describes your interest in teaching as well as past experiences that might enhance your effectiveness in the classroom. A GI-ship pays an annual salary plus benefits as well as a tuition waiver in exchange for teaching one or two courses each semester and performing other responsibilities. USU provides excellent teacher training to students awarded Graduate Instructorships.

2) Writing Sample (10 Pages of Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry)

Your 10-page writing sample should exhibit your best writing in the genre you intend to develop in graduate school.

Additional Questions

The application deadline for the upcoming fall semester admission is January 15.

Please address additional questions to the Director of Graduate Studies for the English department:

Jared Colton

Jared Colton

Director of Graduate Studies (he/him/his)

(435) 797-8412
Logan (RWST 213)
jared.colton@usu.edu