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Graduate Program in Creative Writing (GPCW) 3+2

Bachelor of Arts, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Degree Type

Accelerated Degree Programs

Department

Graduate Program in Creative Writing

If you aspire to become a professional writer in a specific discipline, you’ll thrive in Western’s Creative Writing 3+2 pathway. In this program, you have the opportunity to earn an MFA in Creative Writing, paired with a B.A. in English or Environment & Sustainability.

Program Overview

A student claps for her classmate after they read their creative work during the open mic night at I Bar Ranch

Discover your niche as a professional writer.

In the Creative Writing 3+2 pathway, you’ll earn your bachelor’s degree in either English or Environment and Sustainability and your MFA in Creative Writing in just five years.

As an undergraduate, you’ll be able to explore your writing interests in a variety of classes that will prepare you for graduate-level work while you discover what form of writing you are most passionate about. In your fourth year, you’ll transition into the graduate portion of the program, choosing to work in one of four Creative Writing concentrations: Genre Fiction, Screenwriting, Poetry or Nature Writing. Whichever concentration you choose, you’ll work with world-renowned writers to hone your skills, learn the business of being a professional writer and create a portfolio of publishable work.

You’ll graduate with a B.A. in English or Environment and Sustainability, and an MFA in Creative Writing, in addition to gaining ample industry knowledge and the skillset to become a successful writer in a specific discipline.

Fast track your education

Students on the Creative Writing 3+2 pathway earn their bachelor’s degree in either English or Environment and Sustainability and their M.F.A in Creative Writing in just five years.

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.

Creative Writing English (3+2 with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing) allows students to complete the B.A. in English (ENG) and the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA) at Western in five years. To remain qualified for the 3+2, upon earning 60 credits each student must: 

  • maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA, and 3.0 within the emphasis in the major;
  • earn a minimum grade of B+ in at least two English courses;
  • submit an 800- to 1,000-word personal statement describing the student's writing experience and commitment to writing;
  • submit a creative writing sample of at least ten pages appropriate to the MFA concentration the student is applying to;
  • provide two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be an academic reference addressing the applicant's ability to succeed in a low-residency program.

If any aspect of a student's performance is found to be insufficient, the relevant MFA Concentration Director will recommend denial of acceptance to the GPCW Program Director and the Graduate Studies Dean, and the student will need to find a new emphasis or minor in order to complete the undergraduate degree. Upon meeting the requirements, and completing Year Three (reaching 93 credits in this plan-see "DEGREE PLAN") holding to the same GPA and general performance standards outlined above, the School of Graduate Studies will designate the student as an "MFA candidate in Creative Writing with provisional acceptance." Upon completion of Year Four (reaching 12 8 credits in this plan-see "DEGREE PLAN"), the student will receive their BA and the School of Graduate Studies may designate the student as an "MFA Creative Writing degree-seeking student." Students who have completed Year Four and all other requirements of the 3+2 program and all Western undergraduate requirements (120 total credits, 40 upper-division credits, general education requirements, the ENG undergraduate courses listed under the English Comprehensive Emphasis) but choose to leave the MFA program before completion of Year Five will still have completed the undergraduate ENG Comprehensive Emphasis and have earned the 120 credits necessary for a Western undergraduate degree.

A minimum of 45 credits is required for the B.A. components of the emphasis including a three-credit, upper-division literature elective. In the fourth and fifth years, an additional 60 credits of Creative Writing MFA coursework results in the MFA in Creative Writing degree. 

Course List
Code Title Credits
ENG 161Introduction to Creative Writing (GT-AH1)3
ENG 250Critical Approaches to Literature3
ENG 358Global Literatures: Studies In: Topic Variable3
ENG 371Literary Theory and Criticism3
ENG 405Advanced Writing3
ENG 445Literary Magazine Submission and Production3
ENG 463Major British Authors: Cont. Lit. & Film3
ENG 464Major American Authors:3
ENG 493Senior Seminar I: Studies in: Social Justice3
ENG 494Senior Seminar: Studies in:3
Select one of the following: 3
ENG 151
Borderlands: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
ENG 152
Women and Literature
ENG 153
Literary Culture of the American West
ENG 230
Environmental Literature (GT-AH2)
ENG 255
Ancient World Literature (GT-AH2)
ENG 331
Literature and Ethnicity: Studies in:
ENG 337
Women Writers
ENG 370
Myth and Culture
Select two of the following: 6
ENG 300
Creative Writing: Fiction
ENG 301
Creative Writing: Poetry
ENG 303
Creative Writing
ENG 305
Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction
Select one of the following: 3
ENG 372
British Literature: Medieval and Renaissance Texts
ENG 373
British Literature: Milton through the Romantics
ENG 374
British Literature: The Victorians to the Present Day
Select one of the following: 3
ENG 384
American Literature Early to Civil War
ENG 385
American Literature-Civil War to Present
Total Credits45


Core Creative Writing MFA Courses, to be taken in Summer before Year 4 of 3+2 (Year 1, Summer 1 of MFA):

Course List
Code Title Credits
CRWR 600The Common Read & Writing Craft2
And any ONE of the following: 3
CRWR 601
Fundamentals of Writing Genre Fiction I
CRWR 630
Foundations of Poetry
CRWR 660
Scenes & Sequences
CRWR 681
Introduction to Nature Writing
Total Credits5


Core Creative Writing MFA Courses, to be taken in Fall of Year 4 of 3+2 (Fall 1 of MFA):

Course List
Code Title Credits
Select any ONE of the following pairs:12
CRWR 608
Genre Writing I- Romance and Mystery Fiction
CRWR 609
Genre Studies I-Romance and Mystery
OR
CRWR 664
Adapting the Feature
CRWR 665
Feature Structure & Genre
OR
CRWR 634
Poetry Now
CRWR 648
Poetry Craft and Technique
OR
CRWR 685
Craft of Creative Nonfiction
CRWR 686
Genres of Nature Writing
Total Credits12


Core Creative Writing MFA Courses, to be taken in Spring of Year 4 of 3+2 (Spring 1 of MFA):

Course List
Code Title Credits
Any ONE of the following pairs:12
CRWR 618
Genre Studies II- Western, Speculative, and Young Adult Fiction
CRWR 619
Genre Writing II- Western, Speculative, and Young Adult Fiction
OR
CRWR 667
Writing the Television Screenplay
CRWR 669
TV Structure & Genre
OR
CRWR 635
Poetry Workshop I
CRWR 644
Poetic Lineages
OR
CRWR 680
Writing Place: New Forms and Techniques
CRWR 688
Writing about Nature and Society
Total Credits12


Upon successful completion of the prescribed courses listed above, University defined General Education, and elective requirements totaling 120 credits (with 40 at the 300-level or higher), students are eligible for their B.A. conferral. Students electing to complete the MFA in Creative Writing must complete the courses of their declared emphasis curriculum. 31 credits of the the following including:

Core Creative Writing MFA Courses, to be taken in Summer before Year 5 of 3+2 (Year 2, Summer 2 of MFA):

Course List
Code Title Credits
CRWR 694MFA Thesis2
And any ONE of the following: 3
CRWR 602
Fundamentals of Writing Fiction II
CRWR 640
From Thesis to Book
CRWR 670
Visual Storytelling
CRWR 682
Book-Length Considerations
Total Credits5


Core Creative Writing MFA Courses, to be taken in Fall of Year 5 of 3+2 (Fall 2 of MFA):

Course List
Code Title Credits
CRWR 694MFA Thesis3
And any ONE of the following: 6
CRWR 620
Short Forms Genre Fiction Writing
CRWR 645
Poetry Workshop II
CRWR 672
Screenwriting Workshop I
CRWR 687
Nature Writing Workshop
Total Credits9


Core Creative Writing MFA Courses, to be taken in Spring of Year 5 of 3+2 (Spring 2 of MFA):

Course List
Code Title Credits
CRWR 694MFA Thesis1
Select any ONE of the following pairs:12
CRWR 621
Business Fundamentals for Genre Writers
CRWR 626
Pedagogy & Practicum
OR
CRWR 673
The Concept & The Pitch
CRWR 674
Screenwriting Workshop 2
OR
CRWR 649
Special Topics in Poetry
CRWR 653
The Writing Life
OR
CRWR 689
Special Topics in Nature Writing
CRWR 695
Professional Development in Nature Writing
Total Credits13


Core Creative Writing MFA Courses, to be taken in Summer after Year 5 of 3+2 (Summer 3 of MFA):

Course List
Code Title Credits
CRWR 697Special Topics1
And any ONE of the following: 3
CRWR 604
Career Planning for Genre Writers
CRWR 650
Graduate Poetry Seminar
CRWR 679
Screenwriting Thesis Production
CRWR 683
Thesis Seminar in Nature Writing
Total Credits4
Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
ENG 102 Writing and Rhetoric I (GT-CO1) 3
MATHEssential Skills 3
Gen Ed Gen Eds 3
Gen Ed Gen Eds 3
Gen Ed Gen Eds 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
 Credits16
Spring
ENG 103 Writing and Rhetoric II (GT-CO2) 3
ENG 161 Introduction to Creative Writing (GT-AH1) 3
ENG 250 Critical Approaches to Literature 3
Gen Ed Gen Eds 3
Gen Ed Area II 4
 Credits16
Year Two
Fall
Elective 3
ENG 230
or ENG 151
or ENG 152
or ENG 153
or ENG 255
or ENG 331
or ENG 337
or ENG 370
Environmental Literature (GT-AH2)
or Borderlands: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
or Women and Literature
or Literary Culture of the American West
or Ancient World Literature (GT-AH2)
or Literature and Ethnicity: Studies in:
or Women Writers
or Myth and Culture
3
ENG 372
or ENG 373
or ENG 374
British Literature: Medieval and Renaissance Texts
or British Literature: Milton through the Romantics
or British Literature: The Victorians to the Present Day
3
Gen Ed Area II 4
Gen Ed Gen Eds 3
 Credits16
Spring
ENG 371 Literary Theory and Criticism 3
ENG 358 Global Literatures: Studies In: Topic Variable 3
ENG 300
or ENG 301
or ENG 303
or ENG 305
Creative Writing: Fiction
or Creative Writing: Poetry
or Creative Writing
or Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction
3
ENG 384
or ENG 385
American Literature Early to Civil War
or American Literature-Civil War to Present
3
Elective 3
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
ENG 493 Senior Seminar I: Studies in: Social Justice 3
ENG 464 Major American Authors: 3
ENG Elective Upper Division Literature 3
Elective 3
Elective 3
 Credits15
Spring
ENG 463 Major British Authors: Cont. Lit. & Film 3
ENG 494 Senior Seminar: Studies in: 3
ENG 300
or ENG 301
or ENG 303
or ENG 305
Creative Writing: Fiction
or Creative Writing: Poetry
or Creative Writing
or Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction
3
Elective 3
Elective 3
 Credits15
Summer
CRWR 600 The Common Read & Writing Craft 2
CRWR 601
or CRWR 630
or CRWR 660
or CRWR 680
Fundamentals of Writing Genre Fiction I
or Foundations of Poetry
or Scenes & Sequences
or Writing Place: New Forms and Techniques
3
 Credits5
Year Four
Fall
ENG 405 Advanced Writing 3
Choose one of the following sets: 12
CRWR 608
Genre Writing I- Romance and Mystery Fiction
CRWR 609
Genre Studies I-Romance and Mystery
OR
CRWR 634
Poetry Now
CRWR 648
Poetry Craft and Technique
OR
CRWR 664
Adapting the Feature
CRWR 665
Feature Structure & Genre
OR
CRWR 685
Craft of Creative Nonfiction
CRWR 686
Genres of Nature Writing
 Credits15
Spring
ENG 445 Literary Magazine Submission and Production 3
Choose one of the following sets: 12
CRWR 618
Genre Studies II- Western, Speculative, and Young Adult Fiction
CRWR 619
Genre Writing II- Western, Speculative, and Young Adult Fiction
OR
CRWR 635
Poetry Workshop I
CRWR 644
Poetic Lineages
OR
CRWR 667
Writing the Television Screenplay
CRWR 669
TV Structure & Genre
OR
CRWR 680
Writing Place: New Forms and Techniques
CRWR 688
Writing about Nature and Society
 Credits15
Summer
CRWR 602
or CRWR 630
or CRWR 670
or CRWR 682
Fundamentals of Writing Fiction II
or Foundations of Poetry
or Visual Storytelling
or Book-Length Considerations
3
CRWR 694 MFA Thesis 2
 Credits5
Year Five
Fall
CRWR 620
or CRWR 645
or CRWR 687
or CRWR 672
Short Forms Genre Fiction Writing
or Poetry Workshop II
or Nature Writing Workshop
or Screenwriting Workshop I
6
CRWR 694 MFA Thesis 3
 Credits9
Spring
CRWR 694 MFA Thesis 1
Choose one of the following sets: 12
CRWR 621
Business Fundamentals for Genre Writers
CRWR 626
Pedagogy & Practicum
OR
CRWR 649
Special Topics in Poetry
CRWR 653
The Writing Life
OR
CRWR 673
The Concept & The Pitch
CRWR 674
Screenwriting Workshop 2
OR
CRWR 689
Special Topics in Nature Writing
CRWR 695
Professional Development in Nature Writing
 Credits13
Summer
CRWR 604
or CRWR 650
or CRWR 679
or CRWR 683
Career Planning for Genre Writers
or Graduate Poetry Seminar
or Screenwriting Thesis Production
or Thesis Seminar in Nature Writing
3
CRWR 697 Special Topics 1
 Credits4
 Total Credits159

Careers

Take the first steps toward your dream career.

Career preparation is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling role in hundreds of professional fields after graduation.

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Find Your Career

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Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

The GPCW is deeply committed to raising funds to support our students. Each year we offer substantial direct-funding scholarships.

The GPCW is currently offering several scholarships for new, full-time MFA / M.A. students who enroll for the next academic year. Scholarships range from $2,000/yr. to $5,000/yr., depending on available funding.

Applicants may fill out the scholarship application at the same time as they complete the application for admission. Scholarship applications will be considered only after a student has been admitted to the program. Please note that once you register, these scholarships are not refundable. Should you withdraw from the program or fall below full-time enrollment, your scholarship will be forfeited.

To apply, complete the application linked below:

Scholarship Application

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2023. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Writing Workshop

Expand your network and apply your knowledge.

There are so many ways that you can maximize your educational experience at Western. Take advantage of these opportunities to grow personally and professionally.

  • Teaching Assistantships: Students help fellow students in challenging writing courses.
  • Writing Center: Work as a writing consultant for the greater campus community.
  • Pathfinder Magazine: Submit your creative work for a chance to be published in Western’s annual creative work publication.

A helping hand

Writing Center consultants can help students at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to polishing final drafts.

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Graduate Program Pushes Caps on Enrollment During Pandemic

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Additional Resources

GPCW MA/MFA SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION

The GPCW at Western offers several scholarships for full-time MA or MFA students each year, depending on available funding. Scholarships range from $2,000/yr. to $5,000/yr. and continue for the length …

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How It Works

Program Structure Prospective students apply to Western as traditional undergraduate students and choose either an Environment and Sustainability major (which leads into the Nature Writing MFA …

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Tuition and Aid

For their first three years on the 3+2 pathway, students in the program pay undergraduate tuition and are eligible for both undergraduate financial aid and program-specific scholarships.

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Learn More about the GPCW

Interested in learning more about the Graduate Program in Creative Writing? There’s no better way to get to know our program than through the voices of our faculty and students. Tune in to watch this informational video about everything you’ll look forward to as a student in our program.

Learn More

Department Information

Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Director

Tyson Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.

Director, Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Associate Director

CMarie Fuhrman, MFA

Associate Director; Director, Poetry Concentration; Faculty, Nature Writing Concentration

Executive Assistant

Anna Stileski, M.A.

Executive Assistant

Program Coordinator

Sarah Goettsch

Graduate Program in Creative Writing Coordinator

Contact Information

970.943.2014

gpcw@western.edu

Campus Location

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

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