The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Poetics requires commitment, academic integrity, and clear communication. Students are held to the highest standards during the two years they spend undertaking the degree, with the understanding that while we have a set and carefully-plotted curriculum, each student’s path will be unique. To ensure successful completion of the program and clearly articulate the expectations of our faculty, we hereby outline general expectations for student performance during coursework and in the process of writing the thesis.
As a faculty, we believe that the heart of the creative enterprise is the generation of one’s own intellectual work, even when such work is citational, appropriative, or otherwise based on found materials. To that end, any work turned in during coursework and thesis work must be the student’s own writing. All students are expected to familiarize themselves with the rules on plagiarism and fair use, and if questions arise, contact an advisor or seek help in the University’s Writing Center.
The MFA program abides by the University of Washington’s policies on academic integrity, and those regulations will be enforced. You are responsible for knowing what constitutes a violation of the University of Washington Student Code, and you will be held responsible for any such violations whether they were intentional or not.
Please consult Student Code of Conduct and Library Resources on Academic Integrity.
Satisfactory Performance and Progress
What follows here aligns with the policies of the UW Graduate School on Academic Performance and Progress, outlined in Memorandum 16.
Coursework (BCWRIT 500, 501, 502, 510, 511, 512 & second-year electives)
Student performance is calculated not only based upon GPA, but on academic integrity and cohort citizenship. Students who are disruptive to the cohort dynamic or who fail to observe the regulations of academic integrity jeopardize not only their own success, but that of their peers.
Enrolled students are expected to:
- Complete the first-year coursework along with their cohort in the sequence in which it is offered.
- Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 (cumulative and quarterly) throughout coursework. Cumulative and quarterly GPA’s are calculated on numerically-graded courses at the 400- and 500- level. As per Memo 16, “Failure to maintain a 3.00 GPA, either cumulative or for a given quarter, constitutes low scholarship and may lead to a change-in-status action by the Graduate School.” Change in status actions proceed along a continuum from Warning, to Probation, to Final Probation, and Recommendation to Drop, if performance or progress is not corrected and realigned with program requirements.
- Abide by the Student Conduct Code, without exception
- Be an active presence in courses, not only attending, but contributing substantively to the conversation.
- Attend the annual Fall Convergence on Poetics and Spring Festival, barring unforeseen circumstances, since these are central events for the MFA community.
- Attempt to attend regularly-scheduled Wednesday night Salons, where second-year students share thesis work in progress and faculty and students have the opportunity to mingle outside the classroom setting.
Academic performance and grades for all enrolled students will be reviewed on a quarterly basis, both by Graduate Program staff and by faculty in the courses in which the student is enrolled. Faculty must alert the MFA program director to any students whose performance in a given quarter is unsatisfactory. Likewise, Graduate Program staff must alert the director to any instances of unsatisfactory performances warranting potential change of status action (ie, academic warning or probation), requests for withdrawals, requests for leave, or conduct violations (as appropriate). Students whose performance falls below satisfactory levels will be evaluated and will also be informed of their status (see below).
Alternative Completion Plans
Students who are prevented from completing the first-year required coursework along with their cohort may petition for permission to complete missing courses out of sequence. Such applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of two current MFA faculty and one member of the Graduate Programs staff.
If granted permission, the student may undertake the missing courses during the summer or during their second year. In the event a student opts to complete first-year coursework during the second year, their thesis work will be deferred until first-year coursework is completed. The degree will not be conferred until all required courses are completed. A completion plan must be approved by both the Program Director and Graduate Office before students may continue in the program.
Thesis Work (BCWRIT 700): Satisfactory Performance and Progress
The MFA program requires and allots 15 credits for the completion of of the master’s thesis. Thesis work is graded C/NC and can take a variety of forms. Satisfactory progress and timelines should be agreed upon with the student's thesis advisor at the beginning of each quarter. All students should make a plan with their thesis advisor within the first 14 days of the quarter outlining their intentions and schedule for the subsequent weeks. Students who fail to communicate with their advisor or repeatedly miss meetings risk not receiving credit for the quarter; thus open dialogue is key to each student’s success.
Students should be expected to submit new work at least 3-4 times during the quarter and can expect their advisors to provide verbal or written feedback. Normally the thesis advisor will alert a student when concerns over production arise or when progression in the thesis is deemed unsatisfactory. If performance or productivity does not improve, the advisor will notify the Program Director and Graduate Office, and the student will receive a letter of warning. Continued poor productivity after receiving a warning may result in a recommendation to extend the timeline for thesis completion or the receipt of a NC grade, and/or a change in status leading to academic probation.
Satisfactory Performance While Not in Residence
The MFA is structured so that students wishing to travel or relocate may do so during the second year, completing their thesis and elective coursework remotely. Students working while not in residence are held to the same expectations of productivity and performance as those who remain local. Satisfactory progress and timelines should be agreed upon in advance with the student's thesis advisor and regular intervals of correspondence and communication are expected.
In the event a student does not make satisfactory progress in the thesis, their thesis advisor will alert the student that they must create a plan for satisfactory completion on a new schedule, which will be approved by both the Program Director and the Graduate Office.
Maintaining Active Student Status
If you must pause in your studies and enrollment for any reason, you must petition the program and the Graduate School for on-leave status in order to maintain active student status. You must renew this petition for each quarter you do not enroll, and pay quarterly fee of $25/ quarter.
If you let your active student status lapse, you will need to petition for reinstatement and pay a reinstatement fee of $250 before enrolling again.
Time to Completion
While the MFA is designed as a two-year, full-time cohort program, students have up to six years from their date of initial enrollment in the MFA to complete all degree requirements, as per UW Graduate School policy.