MFA in Creative Writing: The Classes

The MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Memphis is a flexible 48-hour degree program, offering students a variety of choices in courses. There are five options of study:

  • Studio Option: Primarily creative writing courses, with an emphasis on workshops, for those who want to focus entirely on their creative work.
  • Literary Studies Option: Combines the study of literature with creative writing, for those who want to build a background in literary analysis.
  • Creative/Professional Writing Option: For those who want to prepare for a flexible writing career with courses on document design, online writing, and technical editing.
  • TESOL Option: Provides training for teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language.
  • Cross-Disciplinary Option: Allows a wide range of options for taking courses in other Departments, so that a student can use other interests to inform his/her writing and study foreign languages, history, art, theater, and other disciplines.

Both the Creative/Professional and the Cross-Disciplinary options allow students to do independent study and internships on campus or within the community as part of their program.

Recent Course Offerings

Forms of Nonfiction: MemoirForms of Fiction: Strategies of SentimentPoetry WorkshopLiterary Publishing
(Left to right: Forms of Nonfiction: Memoir; Forms of Fiction: Strategies of Sentiment; Poetry Workshop; Literary Publishing)

Here is a partial list of the classes offered in the MFA. Click on each to learn more:

A writing workshop with emphasis on the examination and discussion of creative nonfiction written by the students.

A writing workshop with emphasis on the examination and discussion of fiction written by the students.

A writing workshop with emphasis on the examination and discussion of poetry written by the students.

Covers the variety of creative nonfiction including memoir, personal essay, travel writing, science writing and reportage with attention paid to contemporary theory and practice and historical developments.

An intensive study of how fiction works through analyzing the short story, the novella and the novel with attention to historical developments.

A study of meter, forms and types of poetry in English with attention to the principal traditions and critical ideas associated with the writing of verse in English.

This course involves the development of publishing skills related to editing, producing, and marketing The Pinch, Memphis’s award-winning, nationally distributed literary journal. In addition to reading and evaluating submissions, students are provided with travel expenses to the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, where they promote The Pinch and its contests at the book fair. Students also learn how to run a literary contest and help administer the Page Prize and Pinch Literary Awards.


The Creative Writing Colloquium is a practical, generative course designed to help students imagine a writing and working life beyond the MFA. Students will learn about opportunities to publish their work, PhD programs, fellowships, residences, as well as careers in editing, freelancing, communications writing, academic teaching, and community workshop leadership. 


For a more detailed explanation of the program requirements, take a look at the MFA Degree Program in the Graduate Catalog.