Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Creative Writing
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
Shanks Hall houses the departments of English and Communication.
323, Mail Code:0112 Blacksburg VA 24061
Shanks Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
MFA Degree in Creative Writing
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Jan 18
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Shanks Hall

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Department Chair : Kelly Pender
Graduate Program Director : James Vollmer (MFA Program Director)
Professors: Edward Falco; Nikki Giovanni; Lucinda Roy; James Vollmer
Associate Professors: Jeffrey Mann; Khadijah Queen
Assistant Professors: Evan Lavender-Smith
University Distinguished Professor Emerita: Nikki Giovanni
Alumni Distinguished Professor: Lucinda Roy

Creative Writing Introduction

The goal of MFA in Creative Writing is to immerse graduate students in a culture of productive creativity by doing the following: providing them with an opportunity to work in apprenticeship fashion with writing faculty; helping them to acquire a keen sense of the evolving landscape and the challenges in the field of creative writing; empowering them to create a dynamic learning community of writers in the heart of Southwest Virginia; and enabling them to develop the requisite skills they need in order to publish full-length collections of poetry and fiction. The program will also prepare students for teaching at the college-level.
Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 620.0
    • iBT
      • 90.0
    • IELTS
      • 8.0
The MFA in Creative Writing is designed to be completed in three years. Students may specialize in Fiction or Poetry. A minimum of 49 hours is required for this terminal degree. A series of creative writing workshops, courses in form and theory, new media writing, composition pedagogy, and literature and theory electives are designed for students wishing to pursue careers as writers or writer/scholars at the college level. Students also have the opportunity to work as editors on the minnesota review and The New River: a Journal of Digital Writing and Art. A creative thesis, a written final exam, and an oral defense are required.

The 49 hours required for the degree must be distributed as follows:

Creative Writing Workshops: 15 hours (6704/Fiction, 6714/Poetry, 6724/Playwriting, 6734/Creative Nonfiction, 6744/New Media Writing); at least 9 hours must be in the designated specialty; students are encouraged to explore other genres in 6 hours of workshops.

Form and Theory Courses: 6 hours (5734/Form and Theory of Fiction, 5744/Form and Theory of Poetry).

GTA Training and Composition Pedagogy: 3 hours.
Creative Writing Pedagogy and Practicum: 3 hours.Graduate School GTA Training: 1 hour.

Editing a Literary Journal (5774): 6 hours 
Graduate English courses: 9 hours; students may use an independent study in Editing a Digital Journal to help fulfill this requirement.

Research & Thesis (5994): 6 hours; a book-length creative thesis (a collection of poetry; a collection of short stories, or a novel)

Creative Writing Facilities Introduction

The Creative Writing program is located on the second, third and fourth floors of Shanks Hall.

Shanks Hall

 The MFA program in Creative Writing is housed in the second, third and fourth floors of Shanks Hall. The main office for the English Department is 323 Shanks Hall. The Graduate Programs Coordinator, Marie Trimmer, is located in 310 Shanks Hall. The office of the MFA Program Director, Matthew Vollmer, is in 403 Shanks Hall.