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MFA@FLA Requirements (2018)

The MFA takes three years to complete, and requires 54 credit hours of the following:

Each of the courses above carries 3 credit hours. Graduate courses on offer in the English department can be found here. Please note that the “Time(s)” listed on this page are not hours but UF course periods. A detailed explanation of the UF course period system can be found here.


Students are required to take one workshop in their genre of specialization each semester during the first two years of the program: either poetry (CRW 6331) or fiction (CRW 6130). You will be enrolled automatically in these workshops. As electives, you may take up to two more workshops outside your genre with the permission of the instructor, MFA@FLA directors, and the Graduate Coordinator. Capacity is twelve.


These are any English Department graduate-level course, excluding workshops, CRW forms courses, the reading tutorial, and independent studies (ENG 6906). All graduate seminars offered by the English Department are open to MFA students. There are no prerequisites or special requirements. It is, however, recommended that in selecting these courses you carefully consult the course descriptions available on the Graduate Studies website to choose courses that are suitable for your interests, needs, and preparation. Help in selecting courses is available from the Graduate Coordinator, the directors of MFA@FLA, the creative-writing faculty, and your fellow MFA students. Questions about a particular course’s subject matter or suitability may be addressed to the professor teaching the course.

Forms courses

These are courses that approach fiction and poetry from a craft perspective, taught by members of the creative-writing faculty. Students are required to take one forms course for the degree, in the genre of specialization, and may take more as electives. An elective forms course may be in genre of specialization or out, with permission of instructor, MFA@FLA directors, and Graduate Coordinator. Capacity is twelve.

You are required to take one forms course (CRW 6166) in your genre; we strongly recommend you take your forms course in genre your first year, thereby fulfilling your forms course requirement. Additional forms courses in either genre may be taken for elective credit during your second year. Though you can in principle take a forms course during your third year, bear in mind that priority is given to first-year and second-year MFAs. Please see our document on workshop and forms-course policy and scheduling for more specific guidance (and seating priorities) in this area.

Reading tutorial

The reading tutorial (CRW 6906) is individually arranged between a student and a faculty member in the English Department. The tutorial is intended to expose students to areas they may not get in course work. The course is to be a short list of books to be read, generally six to ten, in a specific period, genre, author, or subject. At semester’s end, the student and professor will hold a brief (perhaps hour-long) informal discussion of these texts. The course should not be onerous. It is a low-load reading course with no writing required. Students take only one reading tutorial.

It is up to the student and the faculty member to work out a specific arrangement for the work required. To take a tutorial, students need to get a tutorial form (available in Turlington 4012), fill it out, obtain the signature of the faculty member directing the tutorial, and return it to the Graduate Coordinator’s office.


This category may include English Department graduate seminars beyond the three required, CRW forms courses, workshops out of genre (see above), and independent study projects (ENG 6906) to be arranged between the student and a member of the faculty. Unlike a reading tutorial, an independent study project requires writing. Elective credit is also offered to students who work on Subtropics, our literary magazine. (For more information on Subtropics, please contact David Leavitt or Ange Mlinko.) MFA students may take courses for elective credit outside the department so long as these courses are graduate level (5000 and above). Note that in order to take courses outside the department, you must obtain the permission of the instructor and the Graduate Coordinator. As with the reading tutorial, if you choose to take an independent study course, ask Peggy to send you the necessary form to be completed.

Flexible Hours

Most MFAs use the 6 “flexible hours” (the equivalent of two one-semester courses) to work on their own writing. If you are considering pursuing a PhD in English, however, you may want to use these flexible hours to take extra English-department seminars or other elective courses. The graduate coordinator and the program directors can offer you advice on these decisions.

Overall Strategy

Our program is designed to give you maximum flexibility in deciding which courses you want to take and when to take them. (The attached MFA worksheet should help you to figure out the strategy that works best for you.) A few things to bear in mind:

  • Thesis defenses must be held before spring break of the third year, which is usually the first week of March. Therefore in most cases, the semester when you will want the most free time to write will be the fall semester of your third year.
  • We recommend that you complete your course requirements, excepting thesis/research, as early as possible, and certainly before the last semester of your third year. If you do need to take a course, other than thesis/research, in that semester, you should plan well in advance what you are going to take in order to avoid an emergency scramble and your having to take an unsuitable course.


The thesis is, at minimum, 125 pages of fiction or 30-36 poems.

Thesis Hours

The MFA requires 12 research/thesis hours of ENG 6971 (Master’s Research). Students may, in addition, take up to another 6 hours of ENG 6971, or may instead take two more classes (additional seminars, electives, forms courses, independent studies, or workshops outside their genre). Students register for thesis hours whenever convenient, but they must register for three hours of ENG 6971 in the semester in which they intend to graduate. Students who fail to do so will be required to pay for ENG 6971 hours at extra cost.

A possible sequence of course work for the MFA is below. For each semester, four courses are proposed, out of which you will want to take three. We stress that suggested scheduling is not rigid, except for the workshop in genre. Workshop is taken every semester the first two years. When you take seminars or electives is up to you.


First YearSecond YearThird Year
Fall SemesterSpring SemesterSummerFall SemesterSpring SemesterSummerFall SemesterSpring Semester
Workshop 1Workshop 2Workshop 3Workshop 4Elective 3Seminar 3
Forms CourseSeminar 1Elective 2Seminar 2Research/ Thesis 4Research/ Thesis 6
Research/ Thesis 1Elective 1Research Thesis/ 2Research/ Thesis 3Research/ Thesis 5Reading Tutorial

Credit hours

How many credit hours to take in a given semester is governed by several factors. Here are the rules and some tips to help you plan your course of study:

These are the basic rules regarding credit hours:

  • The MFA degree requires a total of 54 credit hours.
  • Teaching assistants need to register for a minimum of 9 credit hours per spring/fall semester, and 3 credits per summer semester if you are teaching during the summer. Your tuition waiver pays the tuition on 9 credit hours worth of tuition during fall/spring and 3 credit hours during summer.
  • If you are not teaching or receiving a full fellowship, you will need to register for a minimum of 9 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. You will also need to pay for all 9 hours. (This situation arises very rarely and only in cases where students choose not to accept the fellowship.)
  • All MFAs immediately receive in-state tuition rates in conjunction with their appointment as teaching assistants.
  • You will be assessed fees, apart from tuition, on a per-credit-hour basis for the degree. Information on fees can be found here.

Guidelines for Satisfactory Progress toward the MFA

Teaching Assistantships are awarded competitively, and are granted and renewed with the stipulation that the recipient “maintain satisfactory performance as a student and as an instructor.” Satisfactory progress is defined as follows: “By the end of the first academic year (two semesters), you must have completed four graded courses (12 credit hours), exclusive of reading tutorials (CRW 6906). The four courses normally include two workshops, and all courses must satisfy degree requirements. You must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5.” Current departmental policy is to provide support for MFA students for three years.

By the end of the spring semester of the third academic year, the MFA student should have completed the 54 credit hours required for the MFA degree.

All students are subject to an annual review of their progress late in the spring semester. If your GPA is below 3.5 at this time, your appointment may not be renewed. Normally, students who have raised their GPA above 3.5 by the end of the spring semester will receive a teaching assistantship for their second year.

If your GPA falls below 3.0, the Graduate School will not process your fee waiver for the following semester and will not approve reappointment for the following year. If the low GPA can be raised by finishing an Incomplete, you may be able to clear the Incomplete before it affects your status. If at any point you expect to have problems with grades, please see the Graduate Coordinator to discuss your options.

At UF, grades convert into points as follows:


A grade of I (Incomplete) is calculated as an E (that is, as a 0.0 grade) if it is not converted to another grade within one semester of its assignment. In other words, for every course you fail to finish in the fall, you will have the equivalent of an E factored into your GPA by the end of the following spring term; for every course you fail to finish in the spring, you will have an E calculated into your grade by the end of summer. It is therefore crucial that you do the work to remove an I grade as expeditiously as possible.

View more information on UF grading

Summer Teaching

MFA students making satisfactory progress may receive a summer teaching assignment during the summer after the second year. Although summer teaching is not guaranteed, the Department will do its best to provide at least one summer appointment for everyone who requests one during the time each student is here, but you should expect none.

Finishing On Time

MFAs should finish the degree by the end of the third spring semester. If you need more time to finish your degree, you can enroll for credit during a third summer, but you probably will not be offered a teaching assistantship. It is therefore important to make sure you finish your degree within the expected three years, since your teaching assistantship will likely not extend beyond the spring of your third year. If you do not complete your degree within three years, you have up to seven years to return to defend your thesis. However, you will need to enroll and pay tuition for the semester in which you defend.


In your first year, your advisors are the Directors of Creative Writing and the Graduate Coordinator. In the spring of your second year, if not earlier, you should establish an MFA thesis committee consisting of a director (a member of the creative writing faculty in your genre) and two committee members, selected in consultation with your director. To officially establish your committee, you will need to report to Peggy Lowenstein the names of the faculty members who will form your committee. Once you have established a committee, your director will advise you on your thesis work.