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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature

Degree Requirements

The MFA program at Carolina was life-changing: it was at USC that I found my voice.
- Carl Jenkinson

The MFA at USC is a three-year, 45-hour program, and provides broad exposure to literary studies and literary theory as well as the more traditional creative writing curriculum.

For our students, particularly those who seek to teach at the college or university level, this enhanced curriculum translates into stronger qualifications for a wider array of academic jobs, as well as a deeper understanding of the interplay between those who produce literary texts and those who study and analyze them.

All MFA students pursue the following curriculum:

  • 15 hours of workshop courses
  • 9 hours of literature courses
  • 6 hours of theory
  • 9 hours of approved electives
  • 6 hours of thesis writing
  • Oral defense of thesis


A book-length creative work in your genre, of a quality that compares favorably with work being published by university presses and commercial publishers. (The thesis is usually a group of poems, a novel, or a short story collection.)

For more detailed information about MFA degree requirements, see the English Graduate Student Handbook.