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MFA Creative Writing | Courses & Internships


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Battelle Tompkins, Room 237

Burgtorf, Michael R
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4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8047

LIT-700 Advanced Fiction Workshop (3)
Course Level: Graduate

A graduate level writing workshop in which students produce and critique original fiction.  Course may include additional assigned reading and craft exercises, depending upon instructor.   Usually offered every term. May be taken pass/fail only, and may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: admission to MFA in Creative Writing program or permission of instructor.


LIT-701Advanced Poetry Workshop (3)
Course Level: Graduate

A seminar run according to the workshop model in which students submit work weekly to be critiqued by professor and their peers. The workshop uses class visits, texts by contemporary poets and the analysis of poetic forms. An intensive approach to the techniques of writing verse, the graduate workshop represents the highest level of mastery of the writing of poetry. Usually offered every term. May be taken pass/fail only and may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: admission to MFA in Creative Writing program or permission of instructor.


LIT-704 Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop (3)
Course Level: Graduate

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Intensive critical workshop in writing memoirs and personal essays, emphasizing the development of the first-person voice. Usually offered every semester. Prerequisite: admission to MFA in Creative Writing program or permission of instructor. May be taken pass/fail only and may be repeated for credit.


LIT-705 Seminar on Translation (3)
Course Level: Graduate

This required course introduces students to the international community of writers by providing approaches to and models for the translation of literary works as well as experience in translating. It is expected that students will learn about the use of their own attitudes toward the English language in the process. Fluency in another language is helpful but not required; all students will be required to work with a co-translator who is a native speaker of the language in which they are working. Prerequisite: admission to MFA in Creative Writing program or permission of instructor.


LIT-710 The Art of Literary Journalism (3)
Course Level: Graduate

A required workshop in which the craft of literary nonfiction is studied and practiced. Clear expository writing is the aim, tied to established criteria for sound critical approaches in journalism. Students will be offered practical instruction in finding and assessing publishing venues, writing story proposals, and crafting both long and short form articles, with the eventual goal of publication. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: Enrollment in the MFA Program in Creative Writing or permission of instructor.  


Lit-730 Teaching Composition (3)
Course Level: Graduate

This Seminar offers students an introduction to the field of composition studies as well as the theory and practices of teaching academic writing. Students read research and theory which examine fundamental questions about the personal, social, and cultural dimensions of literacy. We explore the nature of written discourse, the composing process,  and learning ; we discuss issues and examine current approaches in teaching for contemporary composition classrooms. Usually offered every fall.
Through extensive reading, writing, and discussion, students can expect to

  • Better understand the way individuals construct—and are constructed by—writing.
  • Study the dynamics of written discourse, of learning, and of  teaching.
  • Become familiar with major theories of composing and approaches to teaching composition.

(Recommended for Fall of 2nd year)



1.  Teaching Internships (3 hours credit, P/F)
Both options allow students to acquire training and experience in

  • responding to and evaluating student writing
  • creating writing assignments
  • working with student writers


Lit-690 College Writing Classroom (3)
Course Level: Graduate
Working closely with a faculty mentor for the semester, observing and participating in one section of a College Writing Seminar taught by a mentor teacher.  Interns attend all class meetings of the course and do supervised teaching, grading, and meeting with students. Students develop skills in classroom management, course planning and teaching, evaluation and grading. Usually offered every spring.  LIT 730 isprerequisite, and internship is competitive, based on performance in LIT 730 , availability of mentors, and an application process.


Lit-691 Writing Center Internship (3)
Course Level: Graduate

Receiving training and experience in one-on-one teaching through work in the Writing Center, working with a wide variety of writing assignments and writers, including international students.  Interns also explore an issue in literacy education through research  and may tailor  their semester  to a focus on working with non-native speakers of English or planning and facilitating writing workshops in a classroom setting. Students develop their skills in talking about writing with students, conducting productive writing conferences, and working with a wide variety of student needs and learning styles.


2. Other Internships (3)

Other internship options allow students to acquire training and experience in writing-oriented professional environments, including:

  • The Writer’s Center in Bethesda,
  • The Folger Shakespeare Library,
  • The Library of Congress,
  • Writers-in-the-Schools programs,
  • The National Endowment for the Arts,
  • WAMU 88.5 fm/American University radio
  • National Public Radio,
  • affiliations with in-house and trade publishers. 

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See Also

AU Registrar for current class offerings and times

Rome Summer MFA Program