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Degree Options and Requirements

The MFA in Creative Writing at Rosemont requires 36 credit hours of graduate study. These credits consist of writing workshops, literature courses, electives, and a thesis. We also facilitate a Double Degree in Creative Writing and Publishing - the best of both programs in a condensed amount of time.

Courses are offered on the beautiful Rosemont campus, 11 miles West of Philadelphia and online.

Creative Writing Workshops

A strength of the program is the flexibility it offers the student in terms of writing concentration. Students may choose from workshops in Poetry, Flash Fiction, Short Fiction, the Novel, Creative Nonfiction, and Playwriting. Courses are also offered to support generative writing, such as Constructing the Novel, in which students complete a novel within a semester. 

Students may choose any of the following:

CRW 7100, CRW 7101, CRW 7102, CRW 7103

A workshop that focuses on short fiction craft. Students engage in peer critique in a supportive environment. They also analyze the tools of the fiction writer's art by reading and evaluating the published work of successful fiction writers. Emphasis is on the craft of fiction and how content should be used in devising form. Students submit a variety of fictive forms for analysis that may include short stories, flash fiction, and excerpts from novels.

CRW 7120, CRW 7121, CRW 7122, CRW 7123

This course concentrates on the craft of writing poetry. Students generate and evaluate new poetry of their own and the work of their peers in a supportive atmosphere. The poetry workshop may concentrate on specific aspects of the poet's art, such as studying the techniques of a specific poetic genre or movement (e.g., the Romantics); focusing on specific methods or aspects of creating poetry, such as subverting sentimentality; or investigating larger issues of the poetic life, such as creating a chapbook or thematic collection of poetry.

Flash Fiction focuses on the fundamentals of writing (very) short fiction generally work under 1,000 words. This includes generating ideas, narrative structures, voice, image patterns, endings, revision, and submission strategies to get the work published. Students use online, peer, and workshop methods of critique. Published works of flash fiction are analyzed and reviewed. The course culminates with the students' compilation of a chapbook of original work.

CRW 7126, CRW 7127, CRW 7128, CRW 7129 

This workshop concentrates on the craft of creating screenplays and stage plays. Students generate new creative work and engage in peer critique in a supportive environment. They also analyze the tools of the script writer's art by reading and evaluating the published work of successful writers. Special attention is given to formatting and style with an emphasis on script craft and content.

A workshop course in which students write their own plays. Emphasis is placed upon dramatic rules and current theatrical practices.

Using model poems from the 20th and 21st centuries, written or translated into English, this course surveys theories and poetic practices of bearing witness and mounting resistance to cultural oppression and social injustice. The course asks how the poem both contextualizes, resists, and repairs perceived injustice or imbalance. Movements include the Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement, and poems in response to global and domestic anti-war and pro-social justice movements. Through a combination of analytical discourse and poetry critique workshops, students construct poems of aesthetic and cultural value in dialogue with the poetic traditions of witness and resistance.

This course provides the opportunity to write and workshop distinct types of poetry and prose poetry sequences. Students learn strategies and theories about the ordering, arrangement, design, thematic patterning, and editing of traditional and contemporary sequences. The writing, reading, and critical review of student work is complemented by the analyzation and evaluation of published sequences and scholarly articles. The course also considers the use of the sequence in the construction of chapbooks and full-length books, along with markets open to publishing entire sequences.

Prerequisite: CRW 7100 Poetry Workshop or CRW 7124: Flash Fiction Workshop

CRW 7145, CRW 7146, 7148, 7149

This workshop focuses on a variety of creative nonfiction genres. The course is structured as a workshop with a central emphasis on the production of new student writing and peer review. The analyzation of published work and consideration of elements of craft such as voice, sensory detail, characterization, and dialogue is undertaken. Students produce such elements in their own original work.

Students survey strategies for teaching writing workshops in undergraduate and graduate settings and workshops for adults in non-credit community settings. Adaptation of both pedagogical theory and workshop leadership techniques for younger writers is also addressed. Students analyze and evaluate academic writings on pedagogical theory, group process/dynamics theory, and concurrently, participate in and periodically lead their own writing workshops. As part of workshop participation, students break down and assess assigned examples of published writings. In addition, they produce and workshop their own writings. All genres of creative writing—poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction are examined and workshopped.

Designed for students who wish to explore genres outside their normal boundaries, this workshop specifically focuses on prose writers who want to explore poetry techniques and poets who want to try prose. This course is the ideal place for the poetry phobic and the fiction fearful to experiment. Students also assess how all genres overlap and how good writing technique is universal.

This course provides craft exercises and research strategies specific to the writers of contemporary creative nonfiction article-length works. This includes travel and food writing, feature articles and profiles, interviews, and news writing. Students write, workshop, revise, read, analyze, and critically respond to student-generated and published articles, with a focus on establishing a primary or secondary career in freelance writing.

Students evaluate their own work and the work of their peers in an intense, but supportive, atmosphere that is focused on addressing the particular issues inherent in writing novels. Students develop plans for revision and strategies for publication. The course culminates in a public reading. To enroll in this course, students must have completed a novel draft and have permission from the program director.

Hybrid Literature/Workshop Courses

Students may choose any of the following:

This course is a seminar designed to help writers explore the relationship between content and form in poetry. The goal of this approach is to both further the student’s literary background and to survey and assess the repertoire of strategies and techniques employed by a variety of authors. The emphasis for this course is the study of poetry forms, and how the content of the poem affects or directs the choice of form. Students write new creative work in addition to analyzing and evaluating the work of others.

Ekphrasis is a literary response to visual art. This course combines the analysis and critique of ekphrastic poetry, drama, and fiction with critical work on ekphrasis. Students also review excerpts from the journals and letters of artists. In addition to close readings of literary texts and the consideration of visual art, students generate original ekphrastic pieces of their own for peer evaluation.

This course provides craft exercises and research strategies for the writer of book-length creative nonfiction manuscripts. Narrative and prose theory along with hands-on exercises provide the basis for the instruction in developing a knowledge of and facility with the craft of writing long form creative nonfiction. Students breakdown and assess seminal examples of book-length creative nonfiction and in the process devise and construct a formal plan for the creation of their own work.

This seminar enables writers to break down the relationship between content and form in creative nonfiction. The goal is to both enhance the student’s literary repertoire and to assess the strategies and techniques employed by creative nonfiction authors. Readings include compressed essays, memoirs, and lyric essays, and other work that illustrates a range of styles and effects. Students integrate theory and practice by writing original creative nonfiction in a variety of styles.

Horror is meant to invoke intense feelings of revulsion and surprise, while a mystery is something that is difficult or impossible to understand. These two genres of writing have long been linked together for a variety of reasons. In this course, students analyze and evaluate seminal works in both categories and create new work of their own.

This course instructs students in research methods for writing historical fiction or creative nonfiction. The emphasis is on constructing believable and accurate historical details whether the work is fiction or nonfiction. Students create original historical fiction, memoir, or creative nonfiction and engage in peer critique.

Students in this course analyze and evaluate the evolution of middle-grade novel (books for readers ages 8-12). Students will break down critical analysis relative to the audience, and consider some popular middle-grade novels, both classic and contemporary. Writing styles, authors, themes, topics, and content will also be considered. Students will generate original creative work appropriate for middle-grade readers and new critical work.

Since the 1960’s, comics have had a special place in the college community. Students in this course appraise and assess seminal titles in the genre and investigate the cultural importance of these works by generating original critical and creative work.

Young adult literature pushes at historical boundaries by exploring topics such as race, gender roles, and suicide. YA is also comprised of action-adventure, fantasy, historical, mystery, sci-fi, speculative fiction, and memoir. Students in this class will break down and assess a variety of YA titles. Is it truly a genre or subgenre? Are there different levels of YA fiction and nonfiction, or should there be? And why do adults love some YA titles and not others? Students lead this industry discussion by developing a set of standards and criteria to define the genre through class evaluations and projects.

A semester of individual mentorship where the candidate works one-on-one with a mentor revising their novel manuscript.

The art of putting together a film is one that is different from any other. This course offers an intensive study into the world of film, from the independent, small budget market, to the major markets of Hollywood. To build a career in screenwriting, a writer must understand all aspects of the market from pitch to final product. Students consider and compare initial scripts to shooting scripts to final films and produce original work.

Students survey television and film screenwriting strategies, including how to write and develop half-hour pilot formats for television comedies, how to write and develop one-hour pilot formats for television dramas, and how to write and develop feature length films. Students analyze and evaluate scripts from produced work and create original work.

This course provides craft exercises and research strategies specific to the writers of book length memoirs and nonfiction narratives. Narrative and prose theory along with hands-on exercises provide the basis for the instruction. Reading memoirs as a writer and reading critical writings about memoirs supplement the craft coursework.

Students execute craft exercises and research strategies specific to the writers of young adult fiction. Narrative and prose theory along with hands-on exercises provide the basis for instruction. Analyzing and evaluating young adult texts as a writer and assessing critical writings about young adult fiction supplement the craft coursework. To develop a knowledge of and facility with the craft of young adult writing, students generate original work and engage in peer review in a supportive environment.

As the YA (young adult) market grows, it continues to push at the historical boundaries by exploring controversial and edgy topics such as divorce, ethnicity, gender roles, suicide, and much more. It is also comprised of action-adventure, fantasy, historical, mystery, sci-fi, speculative fiction, as well as memoir.

As a result, this has made it difficult to define the YA genre. This class, through exploration of many YA titles, will seek to define the YA genre. Is it truly a genre or sub-genre? Are there different levels of YA fiction and non-fiction, or should there be?

And why do adults love some YA titles and not others? Students will lead this industry discussion by developing a set of standards and criteria to define the genre through class discussions and projects.

Literature Courses

Select from a wide range of literature courses, from classical readings to contemporary classics and bestsellers. Some courses, such as Critical Theory and Rhetoric & Composition, fit perfectly into a plan of study for writers whose goal is to teach.

We also offer a variety of Special Topics in Literature courses to meet the current interests of students. Literature courses allow you to read as a writer, to explore literary traditions, and to discover where you fit into traditions and movements.

Students may choose any of the following:

Students breakdown and assess the texts of plays, television scripts, and film scripts using in-depth analysis, with an emphasis on the vision and intention of the author. Special consideration is given to how an author’s vision for the text can come into conflict with the vision of the director during production. Students generate new critical and creative work inspired by these discussions.

Students analyze, evaluate, and develop craft exercises and research strategies necessary for writers of book length fiction manuscripts. Narrative and prose theory along with hands-on exercises provide the basis for the instruction in developing a knowledge of and facility with the craft of writing novels. Students assess and design a collection of research that forms the foundation from which to draft a novel. A variety of novels are read, evaluated, and critiqued for elements of craft by students who then synthesize what they’ve learned and apply it to their own work.

Students investigate and integrate the relationship between content and form in fiction. The goal of this approach is to expand the student’s literary background and to explore the repertoire of strategies and techniques employed by a variety of authors. Students evaluate and assess these works and adapt new methods for their own use. Readings include short fiction, novels, and novellas that illustrate a range of styles and effects.

Students in this course write a complete draft of a book-length work of creative nonfiction. The emphasis is on generating material and not revising or analyzing. In addition to writing in class, students will analyze and assess a variety of small memoirs and works of creative nonfiction as examples and for inspiration.

These two arguably very different forms of literature have long been linked together. Students break down and assess seminal works in both genres in terms of form, content, and influence, both on other writers and on society. They also evaluate the overlap of these two forms while generating new creative and critical work.

This course uses contemporary literature as the “teachers” for the contemporary writer. Students work with the instructor to create a reading list of four (4) books or collections that correspond with the students’ genre (poetry, creative non-fiction, and/or fiction), literary interests (steampunk, literary fiction, urban fantasy, young adult gothic, and so on), and project goals (memoir, poetry chapbook, flash fiction collection, novella, literary fiction novel, and so on). Students produce critical writings and present their findings while publishing for the community of writers the craft lessons and insights they’ve gleaned from their readings.

Magic realism is work in which the supernatural is commonplace and is accepted as reality by the inhabitants of the work. This course examines seminal works in the genre long associated with Latin America. Students will analyze and evaluate this work and create original works of their own.

Students will survey and assess seminal works of poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction written by authors who identify as women with a particular emphasis on BIPOC authors and their often under acknowledged contributions to the literary cannon. This course will also examine issues surrounding female-identifying authorship particularly as they relate to the literary marketplace.

Students in this course will survey and review the literary short story, its permutations and development from its inception in the 19th century up through the work of contemporary writers by reading individual texts and entire collections. While the insights of some short story theoreticians will be given consideration, the vision, sensibilities, and craft of the authors will be the chief objects of analysis. Students will generate both critical and original creative work.

In this class students engage in collaborative learning and will, in a participatory seminar setting, construct their understanding of the issue of voice in poetry. Through the analysis and evaluation of many of America’s poets laureate, students will break down the concept of an “American” voice and consider whether such a thing does or should exist. Student will also consider the impact individual poets have had on the contemporary American poetic cannon.

An exploration in depth of the literary condition called Modernism through an investigation of the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anita Loos, Gertrude Stein, Nella Larson, E.M. Forster, Rose Macaulay, Virginia Woolf, and D.H. Lawrence.

Students survey and assess classical Greek and Latin plays, lyric poetry, mythology, and prose along with contemporary work inspired by such writing. The purpose of this course is to ground the student in the material that was the common repertory for western authors and to explore its continued influence on contemporary writers and culture. Students will write critical and original

Students survey the discipline of critical thought and its use in the study of literature and art. Special emphasis is paid to the concept of how meaning is shaped and interpreted by both the individual and society at large. Students will generate original critical analyses in response to the work.

Composition pedagogies—process, expressive, rhetorical, collaborative, cultural studies, critical, feminist, community-service, writing across the curriculum, writing center, and basic writing—and the compositional and rhetorical practices associated with them make up the content of this course. As writers, readers, teachers, and scholars, students develop the skills and experience to teach, develop, and assess critical reading, writing, and research skills in the composition classroom.

How do writers shape their experience and try to define themselves in their art? Students deconstruct these questions by reading and assessing a variety of work that engages in the art of self-portraiture. Students also keep a journal and draw from that journal to produce original creative work based on their experience. This work will include short stories, poems, short memoirs, or essays.

One of the reasons that Shakespeare has survived to become the literary and cultural force he is today is because of the endless possibilities embodied in his dramatic works. Shakespeare's plays have fostered a nearly endless trail of adaptations, continuations, reinterpretations, and revisions, reaching as far back as the seventeenth century. This course will focus both on Shakespeare's original texts and on a corresponding body of adapted works including novels, short stories, television, films, ballet, opera, and musical theatre. Students will interrogate the intertextuality between source material and adaptation by producing original critical work. Students will also produce their own adapted creative work.

Student in this course survey the work of some of the most influential and interesting playwrights of the 20th and 21st centuries, and the specific themes and issues that connect them. Particular attention will be paid to how the playwright's success hinges not only on the actual written element of their work, but also upon production of the work.

This course is an examination of Gothic literature, its prevailing tropes, and the far-reaching effects that this genre has had on subsequent literary movements and contemporary fiction. Students will analyze and evaluate the conflict between the high-reaching artistic achievements of certain classic Gothic works and popular, money-making works of the Gothic trade. Students will also break down the influence of Gothic literature on contemporary writing.

Students survey and assess a variety of eras and styles of writing, from the Renaissance to the 21st century, which include “the witch” as a character. Students will consider “the witch” as a perennial figure and examine the social and cultural forces that affect our perception of her. This course will necessarily consider community and marginality and how history has demonized outsiders, particularly women—and how recent generations have reclaimed witchcraft as a tool for empowerment.

Like the translator, the writer who adapts a work of literature for the screen is engaged in an act of transformation that requires them to balance the narrational, thematic, and stylistic elements of one moment in a text with those in another. Usually the goal is to choose from this nexus of interaction and meaning a solution that is cinematically equivalent to the original text. But should this be the end goal? The central aim of this course is for students to analyze and assess the intertextual relationship between what is adapted (text) and the adaptation (film) by writing critical responses and by creating original adaptations.

Students in this course survey and debate the relationship between pop culture and literature. Students will break down the ways that film, radio, television, music, comic books, pop art, and advertising have influenced literature, in terms of both form and content. Situating each work within its historical, social, and political contexts, students will critique how specific writers engaged with the pop culture of their day and confronted such issues as civil rights, feminism, class conflict, racial antagonism, intimacy, sexual liberation, war, and terrorism. In addition to works of pop culture, the reading list will draw on fiction, poems, plays, memoir, and creative nonfiction.

The course will examine the text of plays from contemporary dramatic writing with in-depth analysis, with emphasis on the vision and intention of the playwright.

Students in this course appraise and review the changing landscape of contemporary creative nonfiction, which includes personal essays, memoir, travel and food writing, biography, literary journalism, and other hybridized forms. This course not only involves reading contemporary creative nonfiction texts but also scholarly and generalist writings about contemporary creative nonfiction, its characteristics and definitions, and the ethics of writing creative nonfiction.

Electives, 12 credits

Students may choose the following as electives:

Following the example of National Novel Writing Month, students draft a complete novel of at least 50,000 words over the course of a semester. The emphasis is on generating new material and not on revising or workshopping chapters. By the end of the semester, the draft must be complete in the sense that it has a structural beginning, middle, and end. Students read several small novels and use them as models for assessing and developing craft.

Students working on the Rosemont Literary Magazine, Rathalla Review, are eligible to register for three credits of independent study once during their course of study. Students work together to create the editorial and managerial processes involved in publishing a literary journal both online and in print. Students work with the directors of the MFA and Publishing programs and solicit, evaluate, and select submissions for publication, communicate with contributors about editorial decisions, determine the layout and design of the journal, and make decisions about distribution. Students are also responsible for assisting in fundraising and working within the constraints of a budget.

CRW 7175, CRW 7176, CRW 7177, CRW 7178 

A weekend and week-long writing seminar during which students attend intense daily workshops in the genre of their choice such as poetry, fiction, novel writing, or creative non-fiction. The noontime Writers and Readers series allows students to experience their instructors' work and to engage in conversation about that work. Nightly readings and panels provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the business of being a writer and to share their own work in a public forum. Students submit a final project (either a substantive revision of a workshop submission or a new piece) that directly incorporates the work covered during the seminar as well as a substantial reflection paper.

CRW 7185, CRW 7186

This intensive 10-day course of study concentrates on generative writing workshops in a variety of writing styles (such as poetry, fiction, novel writing, or creative nonfiction) while traveling abroad. Workshops are balanced with cultural and academic enrichment activities that form the foundation for the writing prompts. Opportunities for feedback and critique are part of the scheduled workshop time. Students analyze and evaluate selected works by published authors native to the countries visited and write a paper that synthesizes their own travel experiences and that of the work. Students also submit original creative work generated during the trip and a substantial reflection paper.

Students break down and assess ways to earn a living writing and/or teaching, as well as, how to protect and nurture their craft after graduation. Students also develop plans for applying for grants, entering contests, attending writers' conferences, and going to artists' colonies, and how, through careful consideration, networking, and tenacity, they can expand those opportunities and push through to publication.

Thesis - CRW 7500

The thesis is designed as a culminating experience that allows students to undertake original work to reflect and extend the breadth of their graduate program experience. Eligible students choose a topic and a faculty thesis advisor and submit, for review and approval by the program director, a written plan for the thesis project. Open only to matriculated students in good academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or higher) who are within 12 credit hours of graduation.