BFA in Creative Writing

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Catalog Year: 2024-2025

Banner Code: LA-BFA-CW

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is one of only thirty BFAs in creative writing available nationwide. With three concentrations to choose from (fiction, poetry, nonfiction), the BFA is structured to give students ample opportunity to learn to write and think creatively while also developing the vocational writing skills that are desperately needed in the workplace. All students pursuing a BFA are strongly advised to complete on-site workplace internships in writing-intensive environments, and finish the degree with a submission of a portfolio of work as part of a final-semester capstone course, with final approval from the faculty.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Honors in the Major

Highly qualified students in the BFA in Creative Writing program may pursue advanced work leading to graduation with honors in the major. To graduate with honors in the major, students must complete a two-course honors sequence and receive a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all courses counted toward the major and, separately, a minimum GPA of 3.50 in their honors courses. Honors courses may simultaneously satisfy concentration and distribution requirements in the major.

Students may satisfy the honors course sequence in one of the following ways:

  • BFA students may take two sections of ENGH 400 Honors Seminar 
  • BFA students may take one section of ENGH 400 Honors Seminar and ENGH 401 RS: Honors Thesis Writing Seminar (Mason Core)

BFA students may write a creative honors thesis in ENGH 401 RS: Honors Thesis Writing Seminar (Mason Core). BFA students may substitute ENGH 401 (if they write a creative honors thesis) for ENGH 495 Capstone and Thesis (Mason Core).

Students interested in pursuing honors in the major should consult the English Department for more information.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Students will complete 21 credits of BFA core requirements, 12 credits from one of 3 concentrations, and 12 credits in English department requirements. 300-level courses in English and linguistics teach the foundational principles for a field of study, include courses of broad scope, and provide an introduction to a genre, literary period, or methodology. 400-level courses in English and linguistics provide an in-depth approach to a field of study, a single genre, literary period, or methodology. They include special topics classes and English honors classes. Some 400-level courses require ENGH 305 Dimensions of Writing and Literature (Mason Core) as a prerequisite.

Students should consult with an English department advisor to learn ways in which the Mason Core requirements can also satisfy college-level requirements or the BFA.

Core Courses in the Major

ENGH 301 The Fields of English 3
ENGH 305 Dimensions of Writing and Literature (Mason Core) 3
ENGH 377 Digital Creative Writing 3
ENGH 396 Introduction to Creative Writing (Mason Core) 3
ENGH 495 Capstone and Thesis (Mason Core) 3
Total Credits 15

English Department Requirements

Literature before 1800
Select one course from the following: 3
Literature of the Middle Ages
English Poetry and Prose of the 16th Century
Introduction to Shakespeare
Studies in Shakespeare
English Renaissance Drama
English Poetry and Prose of the 17th Century
Augustan Age: 1660-1745
Age of Sensibility: 1745-1800
Restoration and 18th Century Drama
British Novel of the 18th Century
Early American Literature
Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
Chaucer
Milton
Total Credits 3
Literature before 1915
Select one course from the following: 3
British Poetry of the Romantic Period
Prose and Poetry of the Victorian Period
British Novel of the 19th Century
Literature of the American Renaissance
Post-Civil War American Literature, 1865-1920
Development of the American Novel to 1914
Beginnings of African American Literature Through 1865
African American Literature: Reconstruction to 1903
Continental Fiction, 1770-1880
Continental Fiction, 1880-1950
A second course from literature before 1800 list above
Total Credits 3
Minority, Folkloric, or Popular Literary and Cultural Traditions
Select one course from the following: 3
Topics: Women and Literature
Folklore and Folklife (Mason Core)
Popular Culture
Beginnings of African American Literature Through 1865
African American Literature: Reconstruction to 1903
African American Literature Through 1946
Contemporary African American Literature
Topics in Ethnic American Literature
Global Voices (Mason Core)
The Idea of a World Literature (Mason Core)
World Literatures in English
Topics in Folklore Studies
Folklore and the Supernatural
Folk Art and Folk Artists
Folklore and Migration
RS: Topics in Folklore Research (Mason Core)
Topics in Popular Literature
Science Fiction
Critical Study of Children's Literature
RS: Writing Ethnography (Mason Core)
Total Credits 3
Writing or Literature Electives
Select one course from the following: 3
Additional Writing Courses
Professional and Technical Writing
Honors Independent Study
Internship
RS: Writing Ethnography (Mason Core)
Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop
Advanced Workshop in Nonfiction
Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop
Topics in Creative Writing
Independent Study
Document Design
Courses in Contemporary Literature
Folklore and Folklife (Mason Core)
Popular Culture
Contemporary African American Literature
Twentieth-Century Poetry
Twentieth-Century Fiction
Modern Drama
Topics in Folklore Studies
Folklore and the Supernatural
Folk Art and Folk Artists
Topics in Popular Literature
Science Fiction
Critical Study of Children's Literature
Topics in Fiction
Topics in Poetry
Topics in Drama
Topics in Literary Nonfiction (for fiction and poetry concentrators only)
Course in Writing for other Arts
Writing for Artists (Mason Core)
THR 380
Playwriting I
THR 381
Playwriting II
THR 382
Screenplay Workshop
THR 480
Advanced Playwriting
Total Credits 3

Required Workshop Courses

The workshops are in the two areas outside of the chosen concentration. The remaining workshop is included as part of the concentration requirements.

Select 6 credits from the following: 6
Poetry Writing
Fiction Writing
Creative Nonfiction Writing
Total Credits 6

Concentrations in the Major

Students must complete one of the following concentrations. 

Available Concentrations

  • Concentration in Fiction (FIC)
  • Concentration in Nonfiction (NFIC)
  • Concentration in Poetry (POE)

Concentration in Fiction (FIC)

ENGH 398 Fiction Writing 3
ENGH 392 Forms of Fiction 3
ENGH 355 Contemporary Fiction 3
ENGH 492 Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop 3
Total Credits 12

Concentration in Nonfiction (NFIC)

ENGH 399 Creative Nonfiction Writing 3
ENGH 393 Forms of Nonfiction 3
ENGH 456 Topics in Literary Nonfiction 3
ENGH 493 Advanced Workshop in Nonfiction 3
Total Credits 12

Concentration in Poetry (POE)

ENGH 397 Poetry Writing 3
ENGH 391 Forms of Poetry 3
ENGH 356 Contemporary Poetry 3
ENGH 494 Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop 3
Total Credits 12

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in creative writing may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing ENGH 305 Dimensions of Writing and Literature (Mason Core).

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
PHIL 1
1

Note that the following courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement:

  • PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 327 Contemporary Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 393 Humanities College to Career 
  • PHIL 460 Senior Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics


Additionally, PHIL 253RELI 235RELI 333, and RELI 339 cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 1 3
ANTH
CRIM
ECON
GOVT
HIST 2
LING
PSYC
SOCI
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography (Mason Core)
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
GGS 304
Population Geography (Mason Core)
GGS 305
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of Eastern Europe and Russia
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia
1

The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and Mason Core requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. 

2

HIST 100 and HIST 125 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
EDSE 115
American Sign Language (ASL) I
EDSE 116
American Sign Language (ASL) II
EDSE 219
American Sign Language (ASL) III
1

Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 300 Civilizations 3
ANTH 302 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 307 Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 308 Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 309 Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 313 Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 314 Zombies 3
ANTH 317 East Asian Cultures 3
ANTH 330 Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western 3
ANTH 332 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 381 Medical Anthropology 3
ANTH 396 Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 360 Topics in Arabic Cultural Production 3
ARAB 365 Black and Minority Cultures in Arabic Literature (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 420 Survey of Arabic Literature 3
ARAB 440 Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 203 Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 204 Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 206 Survey of African Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 317 The Black Pharaohs: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 318 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt 3
ARTH 319 Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 320 Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 382 Arts of India (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 383 Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 384 Arts of China (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 385 Arts of Japan (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 482 RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 318 Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 320 Contemporary Chinese Film 3
CHIN 325 Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 470 Special Topics in Chinese Studies 3
DANC 118 Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core) 3
ECON 361 Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ECON 362 African Economic Development (Mason Core) 3
FREN 454 Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture 3
GGS 101 Major World Regions (Mason Core) 3
GGS 316 Geography of Latin America 3
GGS 317 Geography of China (Mason Core) 3
GGS 325 Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 3
GGS 399 Select Topics in GGS 3
GOVT 332 Politics of the Middle East and North Africa 3
GOVT 333 Politics of East Asia 3
GOVT 338 Politics of Eurasia 3
GOVT 340 Central Asian Politics 3
GOVT 341 Chinese Foreign Policy 3
GOVT 345 Islam and Politics 3
GOVT 433 Political Economy of East Asia 3
HIST 251 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 252 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 261 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 262 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 271 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 272 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 281 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 282 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 326 Stalinism 3
HIST 327 The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II 3
HIST 328 Rise of Russia (Mason Core) 3
HIST 329 Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core) 3
HIST 353 History of Traditional China 3
HIST 354 Modern China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 356 Modern Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 357 Postwar Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 358 Post-1949 China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 360 History of South Africa (Mason Core) 3
HIST 364 Revolution in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 365 Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 366 Comparative Slavery 3
HIST 377 The Vietnam War (Mason Core) 3
HIST 384 Global History of Christianity (Mason Core) 3
HIST 387 Topics in Global History (Mason Core) 3-6
HIST 461 Arab-Israeli Conflict 3
HIST 462 Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core) 3
HIST 465 The Middle East in the 20th Century 3
JAPA 310 Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 340 Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 380 Japan in Motion 3
KORE 300 Korean Culture and Society 3
KORE 320 Korean Popular Culture in a Global World 3
KORE 385 Introduction to Korean Linguistics 3
MUSI 103 Musics of the World (Mason Core) 3
RELI 211 Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core) 3
RELI 212 Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core) 3
RELI 312 Islam (Mason Core) 3
RELI 313 Hinduism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 314 Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions 3
RELI 315 Buddhism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 317 Daoism 3
RELI 318 Korean Philosophy and Religions 3
RELI 338 Qur'an and Hadith 3
RELI 342 Comparative Study of Mysticism 3
RELI 344 Muhammad: Life and Legacy 3
RELI 358 Islamic Thought (Mason Core) 3
RELI 367 Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics 3
RELI 368 Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights (Mason Core) 3
RELI 384 Global History of Christianity (Mason Core) 3
RELI 490 Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 353 Russian Civilization (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 354 Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core) 3
WMST 407 Transnational Sexualities 3
1

A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (lower-level) 3
Oral Communication 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3
Information Technology and Computing 3
Exploration Requirements
Arts 3
Global Contexts 3
Global History 3
Literature 3
Natural Science 7
Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Just Societies (optional) 1
Integration Requirements
Written Communication (upper-level) 3
Writing Intensive 2 3
Mason Apex 3 3
Total Credits 40
1

In addition to covering content related to the designated category, Exploration level courses marked with a Just Societies "flag" are specifically designed to help students learn how to interact effectively with others from all walks of life, including those with backgrounds and beliefs that differ from their own. Courses marked with the Just Societies flag are available for students starting in Fall 2024. Students admitted prior to the Fall of 2025 are not required to take courses with a Just Societies flag but may wish to do so to increase their knowledge and skills in this important area. Students interested in this approach to completing their Mason Core Exploration Requirements should work closely wiht their advisor to identify the appropriate Just Societies-flagged courses.

2

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.

3

Minimum 3 credits required.