Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Publishing, and Editing is designed

  • to assist students in their development as writers of fiction, poetry, and/or creative nonfiction;
  • to provide practical, hands-on experience in the field of editing and publishing;
  • to deepen a student’s critical engagement with language and literature, and
  • to prepare students for careers as published authors, as well as teachers of creative writing in community colleges and universities, secondary schools, prisons, libraries, and community centers of various types.

Additional information: Reference the Program Landing Page for additional information, such as cost, delivery format, contact information, or to schedule a visit

Students seeking admission to the MFA in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing must supply the following materials directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Graduate Application: The Graduate Application is an institutional application required by SHSU. Students must provide biographical and educational information and information relevant to determining State of Texas residency.
  2. Application fee: An application fee is required for all applications to graduate programs at SHSU.
  3. A statement of purpose, of 500 to 1000 words, articulating the applicant's intentions for pursuing an MFA from our program.
  4. Transcripts documenting all prior degrees.* (Note: Students with credentials from foreign universities must have their transcripts reviewed by a transcript evaluation service.)
  5. Three letters of recommendation that discuss the applicant’s potential for success in a creative writing graduate program.
  6. A creative writing sample of either 20 pages of prose or a collection of 8 - 10 poems.
  7. International applicants ONLY: Official TOEFL scores​

The MFA Program only accepts applicants for the Fall semester; the priority deadline for applying to the Fall semester is March 15th.

*Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts for review by the admissions committee. However, under university policy, admission decisions are contingent upon receipt of official transcripts.

The MFA Program welcomes qualified international applicants; however, an individual who does not hold American citizenship must be accepted in regular admission status, without qualifications.

A holistic review of each applicant's file will be completed, and admission will be granted on a competitive basis.

Note: Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

To earn the MFA in English, students must complete a minimum of forty-eight hours of graduate credit with a focus in either Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Poetry, as indicated below.

  • All MFA students are required to take ENGL 5340 at the first opportunity.
  • Before beginning work on a thesis or undertaking a directed study, the student must have completed at least twelve hours of graduate English coursework at Sam Houston State University, including ENGL 5340 in good standing.
  • All MFA students complete a two-semester thesis sequence (ENGL 6096 and ENGL 6097).
  • All MFA students must pass the MFA program's portfolio requirement. Students must be enrolled in the University for the terms in which they complete and defend the portfolio.
  • A student may take ENGL 5312 twice, with approval of the Department Chair.
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing
Specified Courses
ENGL 5340The Writer's Life3
ENGL 5331Creative Writing: Fiction3
or ENGL 5334 Creative Writing: Nonfiction
ENGL 5333Practicum: Editing and Publishing (Students take 6 hours of practicum)6
ENGL 5332Creative Writing: Poetry3
ENGL 5336Narrative Theory3
or ENGL 5337 Poetic Theory and Prosody
ENGL 5331, 5332, 5334 (Students take 9 additional hours from these three courses)9
Literature, Language, & Pedagogy Courses (Students must take 15 hours from among the following):15
Graduate Research: Methods and Theories
Literary Theory
History of the Development of the English Language
English Linguistics
American Literature: Pre-Civil War
American Literature: Post-Civil War
United States Ethnic Literatures
British Literature: Pre-Industrial
British Literature: Post-Industrial
Anglophone Literature
Directed Study
Practicum in Teaching College Composition
Gender, Sexuality & Literature
Rhetoric & Composition Theory
Literary Theory Seminar
Seminar in Major Author
English Linguistics Seminar
Literary Movements Seminar
Literary Genre Seminar
Global Ethnic Literatures
ENGL 6096MFA Thesis I3
ENGL 6097MFA Thesis II3
Total Hours48

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The MFA in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Effective written and oral communication.
  • Critical Thinking.
  • Editing skills for publishing industry.