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 the UWB on the website, under program curriculum.

You will be asked to answer the following questions:


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. 


In what areas do you plan to pursue your electives? Why?


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.


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 thesis advisors is generally discouraged except in the event that you have irresolvable differences with your thesis advisor. It is a thesis advisor’s prerogative to ask you to revise your work and to limit your page length, so 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. Student requesting a change in advisors notifies the Director of the MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics and the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs in an email briefly stating their reasons for doing so.
  2. The Director reviews the students’ reasons for wishing to change advisors and then instructs them that they must get approval from the current thesis advisor and the proposed thesis advisor in order to make the change. They are required to talk to both of these people and obtain their approval of the proposed change. Once they ascertain that the advisor change is acceptable to the preceding and new thesis advisor, they need to discuss this change with the second reader and attain their approval.
  3. After completing the above steps, student needs to request a change of advisor form from the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs and fill it out. Student must then submit this form for review from the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs and the Director of the MFA.
  4. If the form is adequately addressed, the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs then sends the form to all concerned parties for their final email approval: new advisor, old advisor, and second reader.
  5. Once final approval is given from all parties, the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs will notify the student that the change is official.