Genre Fiction

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Master of Arts

Degree Type

Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts

Department

Graduate Program in Creative Writing

To elevate your writing practice, deepen your understanding of genre, and learn how to become a professional writer, join Western’s Genre Fiction concentration.

Program Overview

Turn your passion into your profession.

For over a decade, Western’s Genre Fiction concentration has offered one of the few genre-specific MFA/M.A. degrees in the country, and one of the only such programs west of the Mississippi. In our low-residency MFA program, you’ll gain a mastery of your craft, a familiarity with different genres—from romance and science fiction to comics and graphic novels. You’ll learn how to engage different kinds of reading audiences. And you’ll create a creative thesis that takes your writing to the next level.

Our faculty—award-winning, internationally published professionals in their fields— create vibrant educational opportunities to teach you how to write for your audience and engage professionally with the publishing industry.

One-of-a-kind

Western Colorado University’s Genre Fiction Concentration offers one of the few genre-specific MFA/M.A. degrees in the country, and one of the only such programs west of the Mississippi.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Concentration in Genre Fiction

The Concentration in Genre Fiction includes instruction in writing for such forms as science fiction/fantasy, the mystery, romance, and other forms of mainstream commercial fiction. Study includes short and long written forms, the business aspects of writing and publishing in the current market, and teaching pedagogy. 

The MFA Concentration in Genre Fiction requires the following 60 credits:

CRWR 600Summer Orientation (taken three times with different emphasis each summer)3
CRWR 601Fundamentals of Writing Genre Fiction I2
CRWR 602Fundamentals of Writing Fiction II2
CRWR 604Career Planning for Genre Writers2
CRWR 608Genre Writing I- Romance and Mystery Fiction6
CRWR 609Genre Studies I-Romance and Mystery6
CRWR 618Genre Studies II- Western, Speculative, and YoungAdult Fiction6
CRWR 619Genre Writing II- Western, Speculative, and Young Adult Fiction6
CRWR 620Short Forms Genre Fiction Writing6
CRWR 621Business Fundamentals for Genre Writers6
CRWR 684Pedagogy and Practicum6
Select one of the following out-of-concentration courses during the second Fall term:6
CRWR 614
Traditional Publishing I (with permission of the Publishing Concentration Director)
CRWR 623
Independent and New Model Publishing I
CRWR 646
Narrative Poetry
CRWR 665
Screenwriting Genre
CRWR 685
Craft of Creative Nonfiction
Three credits of:3
CRWR 694
Capstone (must be taken for a total of three credits)
Total Credits60

Genre Fiction as a Second Concentration

Students pursuing this second MFA concentration must earn 30 credits as follows:

CRWR 600Summer Orientation1
CRWR 604Career Planning for Genre Writers2
CRWR 608Genre Writing I- Romance and Mystery Fiction6
CRWR 609Genre Studies I-Romance and Mystery6
CRWR 618Genre Studies II- Western, Speculative, and YoungAdult Fiction6
CRWR 619Genre Writing II- Western, Speculative, and Young Adult Fiction6
Three credits of:3
CRWR 694
Capstone (must be taken for a total of three credits)
Total Credits30

Students may count CRWR 609 Genre Studies I-Romance and Mystery or CRWR 610 Genre Fiction Writing and Reading Survey toward the second concentration if they have already taken it to fulfill the out-of-concentration course required by their primary concentration. 

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

The Program

Advance your writing career in our flexible, low-residency program.

Western’s Graduate Creative Writing program follows a low-residency format. Faculty and students interact online during the academic year and gather in person on Western’s campus for two weeks each July for intensive classes and to work closely with nationally recognized authors on their writing.

  • Residency: MFA students attend three summer residencies. The first prepares students for the first academic year; the second residency focuses on coursework; and the third residency prepares graduates to present their work.
  • Academic Year: During the academic year, full-time MFA students take two courses each semester. These six-credit courses make use of video conferencing and web platforms for online work.
  • Additional Opportunities: Guests throughout the year compliment course instruction. MFA students also take an out of concentration class in another Creative Writing concentration (Nature Writing, Poetry, Publishing, or Screenwriting).
  • Matriculation: To complete the MFA, students work on a culminating thesis project throughout their final year.
  • Alternate Courses of Study: M.A. students pursue a similar curriculum to MFA students. They attend for one academic year, do not write a final portfolio, and attend two summer residencies.

Developing the writers of tomorrow

Our graduates gain a mastery of their craft, a familiarity with the many forms genre takes— from romance and science fiction to comics and graphic novels, and encompassing reading audiences from middle grade and young adult to adult.

Inspiring opportunities, careers and partnerships

  • Study with successful, currently publishing, award-winning authors.
  • Meet and ask questions of industry professionals, including some of the best editors and agents in the industry.
  • Participate in independent study opportunities allow for creative growth.
  • Build relationships through mentorship and community support.
  • Discover the best methods for crafting and pitching your novels as well as constructing a long-term career beyond your first book.

Award-winning faculty

Our award-winning faculty comprised of internationally published professionals in their fields—help students learn how to write work that will find its audience and engage professionally with the publishing industry.

News & Research

Nature Writing MFA names new director

Nature Writing MFA names new director

Read More
New York Times publishes op-ed by Western’s Genre Fiction Director

New York Times publishes op-ed by Western’s Genre Fiction Director

Read More
Genre Fiction Director, Fran Wilde

Western Announces New Director of Genre Fiction

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Western announces new Nature Writing MFA

Western announces new Nature Writing MFA

Read More

Department Information

Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Director

Tyson Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.

Director, Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Program Support Coordinator

Corinne Sublette

Program Support Coordinator

Contact Information

970.943.2163

csublette@western.edu

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Quigley Hall 117
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231