Western Washington University’s graduate program in creative writing changed my life. I came to Western, a newly minted English major, and soon learned the attentive and engaging faculty at WWU would help me write the future of my own writing and teaching life. With small classes, provocative assignments, and opportunities for both cross-genre study and intensive, pedagogical training, I left Western knowledgeable, confident, and empowered to forge ahead in the literary and academic world. In other words, I came with a dream and left with a vocation.

—Julie Marie Wade, Lambda Literary Award winner and author of Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures

Our unique, multigenre MFA program allows you to prepare for life as a serious author, with an understanding of the literary marketplace and publication.

We help you gain fluency in single genre, multigenre, cross-genre, or hybrid writing, as well as an understanding of the way diverse genres can inform one another. Our creative writing courses are coupled with in-depth literary study and analysis, making you a versatile scholar, writer, and teacher.

You may gain teaching experience (if awarded a teaching assistantship or internship), as well as professional editing experience with scholarly and creative writing journals, such as the award-winning Bellingham Review.

Program Requirements: 55 credits

REQUIRED COURSE: (5 credits)

  • English 501: Literary Theories and Practices

CORE COURSES: (20 credits total, each course is 5 credits) in creative writing to be taken in at least two different genres from the following:

  • English 502: Seminar in the Writing of Fiction (repeatable)
  • English 504: Seminar in the Writing of Poetry (repeatable)
  • English 505: Seminar in the Writing of Nonfiction (repeatable)
  • English 506: Seminar in Creative Writing: Multigenre (repeatable)
  • English 520: Studies in Poetry (repeatable)*
  • English 525: Studies in Fiction (repeatable)*
  • English 535: Studies in Nonfiction (repeatable)*

*These courses may be taken as either creative writing or literature credits, depending on the nature of your final project. To use them as part of the creative writing core requirement, you must take them as creative writing courses.

ELECTIVES: (20 credits total, each course is 5 credits) in literature, composition/rhetoric, pedagogy, or critical theory, to be taken from the following:

  • English 500: Directed Independent Study
  • English 513: Teaching Composition (required for Graduate Teaching Assistants)
  • English 509: Internship in Writing, Editing and Production (repeatable)
  • English 510: Seminar: Topics in Rhetoric (repeatable)
  • English 515: Studies in Literary and Critical Theory (repeatable)
  • English 540: Studies in Global Literatures (repeatable)
  • English 550: Studies in American Literatures (repeatable)
  • English 560: Studies in British Literature (repeatable)
  • English 570: Topics in Cultural Studies (repeatable)
  • English 575: Studies in Women’s Literature (repeatable)
  • English 580: Studies in Film (repeatable)
  • English 594: Practicum in Teaching
  • English 598: Research in the Teaching of English (repeatable)

English 520, 525, and 535 (see creative writing courses) may also be used for literature credit, depending on the nature of the final project. The same class may not be used for both literature and creative writing credit.

THESIS: (10 credits granted upon program completion)

  • English 690 Thesis Writing

Note: A student may, with permission, take up to 5 credits in approved 400-level courses. A student may have only 10 credits total/combined 400-level and/or 500 (Independent Study) credits. Students are encouraged to fill out their two years of study with electives that stress creative writing, pedagogy, editing/publishing, literature, or rhetoric, as dictated by the student’s interests and career goals. Must be enrolled each quarter for a minimum of 8 credits as a TA (Teaching Assistant) or 10 credits for Financial Aid.


  1. Fulfillment of the English Graduate Program Language Requirement.
  2. Successful completion of the Creative Writing Graduate Exam.
  3. A successful creative thesis, with a critical preface, approved by the student’s Creative Writing Thesis Committee and the Graduate School.