Policies and Procedures

Selecting a Thesis Advisor

At the end of your first year, you will have an opportunity to select a thesis advisor, choosing from the MFA Core Faculty and Visiting Thesis Advisors. You will have an opportunity to prioritize three different choices, and no more. Choosing a thesis advisor is a very important decision and you need to prioritize your choices very carefully. Please read in advance of answering these questions, the stipulations for thesis work at UW Bothell on the website, under program curriculum.

You will be asked questions concerning:

Thesis Work

Please describe the creative work and poetics paper / artist statement you wish to undertake and give a sense of the percentage you wish to devote to each. The minimum for an artist statement / poetics paper is 10 per cent of your total thesis, which would amount to a 10-20 page paper. If you are undecided about just what work you wish to undertake, please write out as specifically as possible what this indecision consists of. 


Please describe your future goals. Are you concerned about finding work in a specific area or pursuing a Ph.D. program? How would you describe your writerly and pragmatic ambitions? How can this MFA program best help you to achieve these goals in the second year program? Try to prioritize your goals some—and think these through. Keep in mind that trying to do too much of everything is not going to help you achieve what you are setting out to do.

Thesis Advisor Nominations

Please list three MFA core and thesis advisor faculty members with whom you would wish to do your thesis work. Please prioritize this list, indicating which is your first, second and third preference. Please do not list more than three priorities, keeping in mind that any one thesis advisor is limited to three or four students. If in fact you do not have strong preferences, please indicate this as well. Do give some thought to this list, as it is very important. We try to give people either their first or second priority, although sometimes we need to go to your third choice. In order to do our job well, most faculty members will be conducting two to three theses only so that we can give your work more attention.

Changing Your Thesis Advisor

Changing thesis advisors is generally discouraged except in the event that you have irresolvable differences. It is a thesis advisor’s prerogative to ask you to revise your work and to limit your page length: these are not generally considered adequate reasons for changing an advisor. In the event that you feel you can no longer work with your thesis advisor, you need to undertake the following steps in the order listed below: 

  1. Students may submit a Petition to Change of Advisor. The petition is routed through the IAS Graduate Office to the Director of the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics first, and the current and proposed advisors next.  Students may wish to consult their current and prospect thesis advisors before beginning this process, or may meet with the Graduate Programs Advisor first to discuss. 
  2. Approval of the petition will be needed from the Director, the current advisors (thesis advisor and second reader) and the proposed advisor in order to make the change. Students will be asked to talk to both their current and proposed advisors to obtain their approval of the change. 
  3. The IAS Graduate Office/Graduate Programs Advisor must document in writing the approval of all concerned parties: new advisor, old advisor, and second reader.  Once final approval is given from all parties, the Graduate Office will notify the student that the change is official.