Mar 30, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

Creative Writing, M.F.A.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Degrees by School/College

The Master of Fine Arts is a terminal academic degree in creative writing. The MFA program at Chapman fosters the growth of fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and poets through writing workshops, techniques courses, literature and rhetoric courses, the John Fowles Reading Series, the Tabula Poetica Reading Series, Pub(lishing) Crawl, and other opportunities to engage with literary culture. Some MFA graduates teach at two- and four-year colleges, and others publish their work or go on to professional careers in writing and editing.


Students seeking admission to the program must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. In certain cases, students may be required to complete specific prerequisites before or during their first year of enrollment.

Admission deadlines, application review

Fall Priority Deadline: February 1
Spring Priority Deadline: November 1

Fall applicants must submit the application including all supporting documents by the Priority Deadline to be considered for any fellowship or scholarship award. Applications received after the priority deadlines will be considered on a space available basis.


All applicants must provide the following materials:

  1. Official transcripts from ALL degree-granting (bachelor’s or master’s degrees) colleges and universities attended. An official transcript submitted in a sealed envelope which you have received from your college or university is acceptable.
  2. An essay expressing your reasons for wanting to join the particular academic program to which you are applying. What are your personal and career goals, and how will this particular degree from Chapman University help you reach those goals? Your essay should be double spaced, size 12 font, and 1-2 pages in length.
  3. Two letters of recommendation that speak to your academic preparation, intellectual ability, and aptitude for graduate study.
  4. A portfolio of creative work to be evaluated by the MFA faculty committee. You should submit work that you believe best represents your style and demonstrates your potential. The portfolio should include either 20-30 pages of fiction or nonfiction or 10-15 pages of poetry. Be advised that the purpose of the portfolio is to demonstrate your creative potential as an MFA student; however, you should also be aware that literature courses will be part of the degree and you should be comfortable writing critical essays as well. The portfolio should include a signed statement that the creative work is the sole product of the applicant.

Transfer policy

Students admitted to the MFA program with an earned master’s degree in literature may transfer up to six credits of graduate coursework upon approval of a petition by the program coordinator and the dean of the college. (See Academic Policies and Procedures  for transfer policies.)

Thesis review and completion

MFA students must prepare and defend, under the direction of an individual faculty member, a thesis project of distinction in order to complete the degree (please see Department of English Graduate Handbook for additional guidelines). The thesis project must be completed, reviewed and accepted before a student may participate in graduation.

Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.000 “B” to meet the minimum eligibility requirements to enroll in the thesis preparation class. (See the Academic Policies and Procedures  section for additional guidelines.)

Continuous enrollment requirement

Students who have previously registered for the thesis, but who have not completed the requirements, are required to be continuously enrolled for each semester the thesis/project remains outstanding. See Continuous Enrollment  for additional information. The maximum time allowed for completion of the master’s degree is seven years.

Requirements for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree

Students pursuing the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree are held to the University’s Academic Policies and Procedures . In addition these specific degree standards apply:

  • Minimum grade “C+” or above required in all coursework.
  • Maintain 3.000 GPA in the degree.
  • Complete, prepare and defend a book-length thesis project of distinction.

The following courses make up the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree curriculum:

requirements (6 credits)

twelve credits of the following (12 credits)

Courses are repeatable for credit and may be taken in any combination for a total of 12 credits.

total credits 36

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Degrees by School/College