Wilkes University

Degree Requirements

Wilkes offers two graduate degrees —the Master of Arts and the Master of Fine Arts.

Master of Arts (M.A.) degree

The M.A. requires 30 credits and can be completed in as little as 18 months. It is offered online with limited campus visits. It is offered in two convenient, online formats.

  • Low-residency: eight-day residencies in Wilkes-Barre each January or June
  • Weekender: four weekends during the online semester in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree

Once you've earned the M.A. from Wilkes, you're eligible to complete your M.F.A. The M.F.A. is the recognized terminal degree in the creative writing field. It will help prepare you to teach, working in the publishing field or simply excel in your writing career.  It requires 18 additional credits and can be completed in as little as one additional year of study.

In pursuit of the M.F.A., you will complete an analytical paper and a semester-long internship in the arts education or publishing field. Internships can be completed close to your home or in an online format as appropriate.

30 total credits

First residency/weekend session
CW 501R: The Professional Writer (3 credits)

First project semester (select two courses)
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/weekend session
CW 510R: Planning the Writing Life (3 credits)

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

Third residency/weekend session
CW 516R: Final Project/Thesis Plan (3 credits)

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

Final residency/weekend session
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.

18 additional credits

First residency
The M.F.A. 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 M.F.A.

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)

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.

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, 10-minute reading from their completed manuscript followed by a question and answer session.


Writers will present a formal, 10-minute reading from their completed manuscript followed by a question and answer session.


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


Poets will present a formal reading from their finished poetry chapbook. Some or all work must be recited. Students will answer questions about their writing process and poems, following the reading.


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 novel or journal to be launched with the company.

Making documentary films

Filmmakers will present their documentary film as if launching it at a film festival. They will create supporting materials including interview and research transcripts as well as marketing materials.

M.F.A. Internship

You can select an internship experience in two tracks: arts education and publishing. During your six-month 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.


Internships have included book launches with Etruscan Press, filming and research for SenArt films, reading and script coverage for Michael Mailer Films, and building websites and online presence for Kaylie Jones Books, Northampton House Press, and Havescripts.com.