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Degree Requirements

The MFA is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of the following:

  • Six to nine quarters of full-time registration.
  • A minimum of 72 quarter units of approved coursework.
  • A public reading or presentation of the first year's work.
  • Completion and submission of a final project (thesis).
  • Public reading or presentation of the final project.
  • Discussion of the final project with the thesis committee.

Additional information about the degree is provided below.

Time to Degree

The minimum time required to complete the degree is two years of full-time enrollment; the maximum time allowed is three years. The academic year consists of Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. The MFA program goes on hiatus during the summer.

Full-time study is required. The student must enroll for a minimum of 12 units of pre-approved graduate seminars, guided independent study, or teaching apprenticeship each quarter.


Requirement Min. Units Max. Units Description
History and Theory 8 8

LTTH 250 Writing and Theory
LTTH 255 Modern Art Movements and Aesthetics

Graduate Seminars in Literature 4

Graduate seminars in Literature outside of the Writing section or, with prior permission, upper-division courses or guided independent study in Literature. At least 4 units must be from a graduate seminar.

Graduate Seminars in an Art Practice or Theory 4

Graduate level courses or guided independent study in an art practice or theory offered outside of Literature (this could be in Visual Arts, Music, or Theatre), or graduate seminars offered by the Literature Department in a language other than English. NOTE: Preapproval from the MFA director is required for courses used to satisfy the art practice/theory requirement.

Writing Workshop 20

LTWR 215 Cross-Genre Workshop

Apprentice Teaching 4 12

Guided teaching at UC San Diego. Teaching Assistantships carry 2-4 units of credit per quarter. Students may petition to apply up to 24 units of TAship credit to the degree or to substitute graduate seminar units for the teaching apprenticeship.

MFA Thesis 8 12

Research guided by faculty, culminating in an acceptable manuscript of fiction or poetry.

First-Year Presentation

The student will give a public reading or performance of his work in Spring quarter of his first year. The event is organized by the department and is held on campus.


The student will complete a final project consisting of a manuscript of fiction (120 pages) or poetry (65 pages) or cross-genre (65-85 pages) that her MFA committee deems to be of high quality. The manuscript will be the culmination of two or three years of course work within the student’s chosen genre and will have undergone extensive editing and revision before submission for the final project.

There is no written final examination for the degree but great weight is given to the candidate’s final presentation and capstone discussion of the final project.

Final Presentation

The student will make a public presentation of his final project during his graduating quarter. The event is organized by the department and is held on campus.

Thesis Discussion

Two or three weeks before the end of the graduating quarter, the student will meet with her thesis committee for a discussion of the final project. The committee will be composed of four faculty members the student has selected and worked with during the two or three years of their program---three faculty from the Literature Department and one from another department.


2015 Admissions

Application Period
September 1–December 1, 2014

Admission Notifications
February 2015

Program Begins
September 2015

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