Jul 18, 2024  
2017-2018 Catalog 
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Creative Writing, MFA

Department of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

55 Credits

Graduate Faculty

Beasley, Bruce, PhD, creative writing (poetry), American literature.
Brown, Nicole, PhD, rhetoric and composition, technical writing, visual rhetoric, service learning and cybercultural studies.
Cushman, Jeremy, PhD, rhetoric and composition, workplace writing, public rhetorics, digital humanities and postmodern research methodologies.
Denham, Kristin, PhD, linguistics, syntax and grammar, dialect, Native American languages and literatures.
Dietrich, Dawn, PhD, cinema studies, literature and technology, cyberculture, critical theory.
Geisler, Marc, PhD, Renaissance literature and culture, literary theory, politics and literature.
Giffen, Allison, PhD, American literature, women’s literature.
Goebel, Bruce, PhD, American literature, postmodern literature, English education.
Guess, Carol, MFA, creative writing (creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry), gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender literature and theory.
Johnson, Nancy J., PhD, children’s literature, English/language arts education.
Kahakauwila, Kristiana, MFA, creative writing (fiction and non-fiction), editing and publishing, Pacific Literature.
Laffrado, Laura, PhD, American literature, gender studies.
Loar, Christopher, PhD, British literature, early American literature, eighteenth-century culture, critical theory, literature and science.
Lobeck, Anne, PhD, linguistics, literary theory, gender studies.
Lucchesi, Andrew, PhD, rhetoric and composition, professional and technical writing, disability studies.
Lundeen, Kathleen, PhD, British literature, critical theory, intermedial art, literature and science, prophetic literature.
Lyne, William, PhD, American literature, African-American literature, cultural studies.
Magee, Kelly, MFA, creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, multi-genre).
Metzger, Mary Janell, PhD, early modern literature, critical theory, English education, women’s literature.
Miller, Brenda, PhD, creative writing (fiction and nonfiction), autobiography.
Paola, Suzanne, MFA, creative writing (nonfiction and poetry), women’s studies.
Qualley, Donna, PhD, composition theory and pedagogy, literacy, rhetoric and social class.
Rivera, Lysa, PhD, American literatures and culture, Chicana/o and African-American literature, cultural studies, critical theory.
Shipley, Ely, PhD, creative writing (multi-genre, poetry).
Trueblood, Kathryn, MFA, creative writing (fiction), publishing and editing.
VanderStaay, Steven, PhD, English education, creative writing (nonfiction), and linguistics.
Vulić, Kathryn, PhD, medieval British and Continental literatures and culture, manuscript studies.
Warburton, Theresa, PhD, feminist theory, women’s literature, Native literature, transnational and multiethnic literature, and memoir.
Wise, Christopher, PhD, comparative literature and critical theory.
Wong, Jane, PhD, creative writing (poetry).
Youmans, Greg, PhD, film and media studies, LGBTQ history and historiography, queer and feminist theory.
Yu, Ning, PhD, American literatures, science and literature.

 Contact Information

Director of Graduate Studies & Program Advisor
Christopher Loar
Humanities 361

Graduate Program Coordinator
Erica Dean-Crawford
Humanities 325


Western Washington University’s English Department offers a 2-year MFA program in Creative Writing within a community that values creative development and intellectual versatility. We encourage a focus on multigenre or cross-genre writing, based on our view that creative writing graduates need to be versatile in their comprehension of genre conventions and conversant in the way diverse genres inform one another. A variety of courses we offer stress either a multigenre focus or encourage experimental works that blur genre boundaries.

Creative writing practice and literary study are synergistic in our program. Students take seminars in creative writing and literature, as well as courses in rhetorical thinking and composition, digital and technical writing, film studies, and linguistics. We offer Graduate Assistantships that provide quality teacher training, as well as opportunities to gain editorial experience with the award-winning journal Bellingham Review.


The MFA program in English is designed for those who desire to prepare for:

  • Life as a serious author, with an understanding of the literary marketplace and publication
  • PhD programs, as well as other advanced degrees in fields such as law or teaching
  • Teaching at both two- and four-year colleges and universities
  • Public or private teaching (elementary, middle, secondary)
  • Careers in technical writing and communication
  • Careers in editing and publishing
  • Careers in nonprofit and other business organizations

Students will attain the following skills:

  • Fluency in multigenre or cross-genre writing and comprehension of genre conventions, as well as the way diverse genres can inform one another
  • Professionalism in creative writing, along with in-depth literary study in areas that might include national and global literatures and cultures, critical and cultural theory, film and media, pedagogy, composition and rhetoric, technical writing, professional writing, editing and publishing, and linguistics
  • Teaching experience (if awarded a teaching assistantship or internship)
  • Professional editing with scholarly and creative writing journals, such as the Bellingham Review
  • Professional communication, oral and written
  • Competency in the use of classroom and communications technologies
  • Awareness of diversity, educational equity, and social justice issues
  • Awareness of ethical and reflective pedagogical practices


Undergraduate major in English or Creative Writing, or departmental permission. Candidates with an insufficient background in English are normally requested to acquire 30 upper-division credits in creative writing, literature, and/or criticism with a grade of B or better in each course. The department reserves the right to approve a course of study.

Application Information

Deadlines: Applications for the following academic year must be complete — all materials on file — by January 15 for priority consideration. Applications completed after that date may be considered on a space-available basis. Applications completed after June 1 will be considered for the following year. Admission into the program is for fall quarter.
Teaching Assistantship Deadlines: Same as above.

The materials submitted for admission must include:

  • A statement of purpose: this statement should explain intellectual and/or creative interests, and professional goals. If you are interested in being considered for a funded Teaching Assistantship, please include relevant experience and information that will aid the department in making funding decisions.
  • Two writing samples. Creative Writing: 10 to 15 pages of prose (fiction or creative nonfiction); or 10 to 15 pages of poetry; or a combination of genres, 15 pages total; AND a Critical writing sample: 7 to 12 pages of analytical work in literary study.
  • Appropriate admissions forms.
  • The department expects a strong analytic score and a verbal score of at least 153 on the GRE (“Revised” General) exam.

Program Requirements

Other Requirements

Students must demonstrate reading competence in a second language acceptable to the department’s Graduate Studies Committee or take an additional 5-credit 400- or 500-level course focused on the study of language. (Credits taken to meet with requirement do not count towards degree.) Normally competence in a second language is demonstrated by successfully completing the final course in a second-year language sequence or by passing a reading competency exam in the language.

Students must also pass a written Graduate Exam in their concentration.

A successful creative thesis, with a critical preface, approved by the student’s Creative Writing Thesis committee and the Graduate School.