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).

If You Are in the Creative Writing Track

The normative time to degree is six quarters.

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 

The normative time to degree is six quarters.

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 of the most 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 279 – The Fire This Time: Twentieth -Century Poetry of Witness
CWPA 252E – Novel Boot Camp (Susan Straight)
CWPA 214 – Acting for Writers (Kimberly Guerrero)
CWPA 252E – Books into Movies (Jane Smiley)
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 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 – Performance of Poetry and Prose (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)