Degree Requirements

Wilkes offers two graduate degrees in creative writing: Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts.

Master of Arts (M.A.) degree

The M.A. in Creative Writing requires 30 credits and is typically completed in 18 months. It is offered online, with limited campus visits, in two convenient formats.

  • Low-residency: eight-day residencies in Wilkes-Barre each January and June 
  • Weekender: four weekends during the first month of the semester, all online. 

A bachelor's degree in any field is accepted for admission. (You do not have to have majored in English or Creative Writing.) If you do not have a degree, please call us to discuss program options at (800) WILKES-U Ext. 4547.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree

Once you've earned the M.A. from Wilkes (in three semesters), you're eligible to complete your MFA in Creative Writing (in two more semesters). The MFA is the recognized terminal degree in the creative writing field. It will help prepare you to teach, work in the publishing field, or simply excel in your writing career. An internship (online or in person) with a university, publisher, film producer, or writing organization(s) is required during your final semester.

30 total credits

First residency/Weekender sessions
CW 501R: Foundations of Creative Writing (3 credits)

First project semester (select two)
CW 502: Writing Fiction (3 credits)
CW 503: Writing Poetry (3 credits)
CW 504: Writing Screenplays (3 credits)
CW 505: Writing Plays (3 credits)
CW 506: Writing Creative Nonfiction (3 credits)

Second residency/Weekender sessions
CW 510R: Planning the Writing Life (3 credits)

Second project semester
CW 512: Genre and Context (3 credits, reading intensive)
CW 514: Writing Projects (3 credits, writing intensive)

Third residency/Weekender sessions
CW 516R: Final Project/Thesis Plan (3 credits)

Third project semester
CW 520: Final Project (6 credits)

Final residency/Weekender sessions
CW 525R: Masters Capstone (3 credits)

Optional: CW 530* (1-6 credits)
*This is a continuous registration course for students who need more time to further revise and complete final project, or who want to write a new project in one semester..

19 additional credits

First residency
The MFA program begins with orientation during the CW 525 residency for Wilkes students who are completing their M.A. degrees and for alumni who decide to return at a later time to pursue the MFA

First project semester
CW 612: Literary Analysis (6 credits)
CW 614*: Revision Term (3 credits)
*CW 614 may be taken in either the first or second project semester.

Second residency
CW 616R: Writing in Education/Publishing (3 credits)

Second project semester
CW 620: Writing in Education/Publishing Internships (6 credits)

MFA Final Residency
CW 650: The Professional Writer (1 credit) 

Optional: CW 630* (1 to 6 credits)
*This is a continuous registration course for students who need more time to further revise and complete creative thesis, or to write a new project in one semester..

M.A. Capstones

As a graduation requirement, you will present your creative theses in a format appropriate to your genre.

Creative Nonfiction

Writers will present a formal, ten-minute reading from their completed manuscript followed by a question-and-answer session.


Writers will present a formal, ten-minute reading from their completed manuscript followed by a question-and-answer session.

Screenwriting / Writing for Television

Screenwriting and Writing for Television students will work with their mentors to prepare part of their script for a table read. Readers will include actors, cohort members, and other film professionals. Screenwriting students must be prepared to present a "pitch" to a film producer, agent or director before the reading and to answer process questions after the table reading.


Poets will present a formal, ten-minute reading from their completed poetry chapbook, followed by a question-and-answer session. Some or all their poetry must be recited. 

Spoken word

Spoken Word students will present a ten-minute performance of their work, followed by a question-and-answer session. All their poetry must be recited. 


Playwrights will work with an assigned director to cast and prepare their play for a formal staged reading. Experienced actors appropriate to the work must be utilized. Playwrights will rehearse with the cast and meet with the director to prepare for the reading. Playwrights will be prepared to answer questions about their work and processes following the staged reading. Finished scripts must adhere to play format.


Students will present their small press or literary journal as if they are launching a new company. They will make a formal presentation to a panel of publishers, editors, and agents and create supporting materials, including a business plan, marketing materials and a first product (e.g. a novel or journal) to be launched with the company.


MFA Internship

You can select an internship experience in arts education (e.g. teaching creative writing), publishing, or some other writing field. During your internship, you will work in a wide range of settings while interacting with your cohort online. The program director and faculty mentors will work with each student to create an internship that is rigorous, stimulating and resume-building.

Arts Education

Internships include teaching creative writing in K-12 and higher education environments, or hosting writing workshops for personal or professional development.

Publishing and other writing-related fields

Internships have included book launches with Etruscan Press, filming and research for SenArt films, reading and script coverage for Resonate Entertainment, building websites and online presence for Kaylie Jones Books, Northampton House Press, and, working for a literary agency, or reviewing books for a variety of publishers.