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May 5, 2008

Proposed online M.F.A. in creative writing: a first in Louisiana

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (M.F.A.), a proposed online graduate program at The University of Louisiana at Monroe, gained initial approval from the UL System Board of Supervisors. The BOS approved ULM's letter of intent for the program—the first of its kind in Louisiana—April 25 in Baton Rouge.

Next, the letter of intent will be reviewed by the Louisiana Board of Regents. ULM will continue to work with the BOR and BOS in developing the degree, which is slated to begin offering classes in the fall of 2010.

The M.F.A. provides advanced study in the writing of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, with a mix of online workshops and literary seminars. With the exception of the introductory seminar, this degree, which prepares its graduates for careers in professional writing and in the teaching of creative writing, will be delivered entirely online.

Dr. Jeffrey Cass

The proposed online program will benefit many, said Dr. Jeffrey Cass, Arts & Sciences dean.

“This online degree will meet the needs of many people interested in creative writing, in and beyond the region, inasmuch as many cannot come to campus regularly yet have professional aspirations in creative or other forms of professional writing.”

The program includes the following activities: two years of study; a creative thesis (book length collection of creative work); completion of required coursework; a thorough introduction to the theories and professional practices associated with creative writing; and a two-week introductory seminar that all participants will be required to attend on site.

Benefitting the workforce:

The National Commission on Writing, sponsored by The College Board, reported in 2005 that because a significant number of employees fail to have requisite writing skills for their positions, the private sector spends a quarter of a billion dollars annually to improve the quality of writing in the workplace. Knowledge of many kinds of writing gives potential employees a distinct market advantage over their peers who have not been so trained.

Regardless of undergraduate major, an advanced knowledge of writing provides a great deal of added value in the students’ chosen profession.

With the M.F.A. in Creative Writing, students would be exposed to a number of writing contexts, essential for any career in writing or communications, and they would naturally gain necessary experience and knowledge for their own publishing ambitions, according to the M.F.A. letter of intent.

For more information about the degree, contact Cass at

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