Rivera Library

Courses & Requirements

Breadcrumb

Earn Your Degree

  • To earn your degree, you will take a minimum of 56 units (14 courses) plus eight units of manuscript/thesis units for a total of 64 units. 
  • You will focus on one genre of emphasis: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, screenwriting, or playwriting.
  • You will be admitted in a genre within either the Creative Writing Track (fiction, nonfiction, poetry) or the Writing for the Performing Arts Track (playwriting and screenwriting).
  • The normative time to degree is six quarters, which is typically completed in two academic years.

If You Are in the Creative Writing Track

You will complete: 

  • Six workshops in your primary genre (24 units)
  • Three graduate seminars from Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts (12 units)
  • One graduate seminar from any department outside of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production and Creative Writing. Subject matter must be relevant to your manuscript/thesis. The requirement can be met with upper-division courses if you receive instructor approval to enroll in concurrent 292 units (four units).
  • Four electives (16 units) of workshop, graduate seminar, or manuscript/thesis units. You may take a maximum of six workshops (24 units) within your chosen genre and a maximum of 12 manuscript/thesis units within six quarters. All cross-genre workshops require prior instructor approval.
  • Your manuscript or thesis project (eight units):

    In the Creative Writing Track, your manuscript/thesis can be a poetry collection, novel, short story collection, novella, memoir, essay collection, or a book-length nonfiction project.

    You will invite one or two faculty members to serve as your manuscript/thesis advisor(s). In addition to these advisors, two faculty readers will evaluate your manuscript/thesis.

    The length of your manuscript/thesis depends on your genre: 

    Poetry: 40 to 65 pages
    Fiction: 100 to 150 pages
    Creative Nonfiction: 100 to 150 pages

If You Are in the Writing for the Performing Arts Track

You will complete: 

  • Five workshops in your your primary genre (20 units)
  • Three graduate seminars from Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts (12 units)
  • One graduate seminar from any department outside of Theatre, Film and Digital Production and Creative Writing. Subject matter must be relevant to your manuscript/thesis. The requirement can be met with upper-division courses if the student receives instructor approval to enroll in concurrent 292 units (four units).
  • Five electives (20 units) of workshop, graduate seminar, or manuscript/thesis units. You may take a maximum of six workshops (24 units) within your chosen genre and a maximum of 12 manuscript/thesis units within six quarters. All cross-genre workshops require prior instructor approval.
  • Your manuscript or thesis project (eight units):

    In the Writing for the Performing Arts Track, your manuscript/thesis project can be a full-length play of two or three acts, a screenplay, or a teleplay. It will be 90-130 pages long.

    You will invite one or two faculty members to serve as your manuscript/thesis advisor(s). In addition to these advisors, two faculty readers will also evaluate your manuscript/thesis.

Sample Schedule

Full -time students are required to take a minimum of 12 units per quarter. This typically equates to three classes. 

A typical schedule each quarter would consist of a primary genre workshop and a seminar, and either an out-of-genre workshop, an additional seminar, thesis units, or an out-of-program course.

Past Seminar Topics

Seminar topics change each quarter. Here are some recent seminars we have offered and the instructors who taught them:

CWPA 200 – Advanced Play Analysis (Erith Jaffe-Berg)
CWPA 246 – Forms of Narration (Charmaine Craig)
CWPA 252E - Revision and the Writing Process (Goldberry Long)
CWPA 279 – The Fire This Time: Twentieth -Century Poetry of Witness (Katie Ford)
CWPA 252E – Novel Boot Camp (Susan Straight)
CWPA 214 – Acting for Writers (Kimberly Guerrero)
CWPA 252E – Books into Movies (Jane Smiley)
CWPA 252E - Transformative Books of Fiction (Michael Jayme)
CWPA 252F - Landscapes, Waterways, and Breath: Docupoetics, Geospatial Poetics, Ecopoetics, Environmental Writing, Climate Work, and Deep Time Resolve (Allison Hedge Coke)
CWPA 252G – The Book Proposal (Reza Aslan)
CWPA 252F - Art of the First Book of Poetry (Allison Benis White)
CWPA 252G – Reimagining Justice (Emily Rapp Black)
CWPA 252G  - Reviews, Interviews, and Review Essays (Tom Lutz)
CWPA 282 – Film Noir: Stories and Cinema from the Shadows (Steve Erickson)
CWPA 252F – Creating a Body of Work (Allison Hedge Coke)
CWPA 252G – Narratives of Difference (Emily Rapp Black)
CWPA 246 – Folktale-Derived Sci-Fi and Fantasy (Nalo Hopkinson)
CWPA 252E – International Voices Today (Charmaine Craig)