The Masters of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) Writing Option

The Creative Writing Option

The MAPH Creative Writing option is intended for students who plan to do a creative writing thesis project in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. Unlike MFA programs at other institutions that offer more strictly professionally oriented training in writing, students at Chicago are encouraged to to develop their writing skills in the context of interdisciplinary humanistic study. Students may wish to do so in the course of a year of intensive study of literature, or, perhaps, philosophy, music, or art history.

In addition to completing the MAPH core course, students in the Writing Option take:

  • 1 CRWR course in the student's chosen genre in fall quarter
  • 1 CRWR " Thesis/Major Projects" workshop in winter quarter
  • 3 academic courses relevant to the proposed thesis area
  • 2 elective courses to be taken in any area of student interest.

Writing Option thesis projects must have both a creative component and a brief critical essay about the work. In practice, the Writing Option is designed to provide a flexible structure for creative thesis work.

Instructor permission is required for most creative writing courses. This process requires submission of previous creative writing work by fixed deadlines prior to the start of each quarter. Students who apply to and are admitted to the Writing Option in the spring before their MAPH year have priority for spots in autumn quarter CRWR classes, but must still submit writing samples to be admitted for courses requiring them. They also automatically have a place reserved for them in the genre-specific Big Thesis/Major Projects workshop in winter. The creative writing faculty member who leads the winter workshop will also be available to serve as the student's thesis director during spring quarter.

MAPH students have the opportunity to switch into the Writing Option even if they did not originally apply to the Option. Any student contemplating a creative thesis in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction should take a creative writing course in the relevant genre during fall quarter. With instructor permission, they may then enroll in the Thesis/Major projects workshop in winter. Successful completion of the autumn course will reserve a space for the student in the winter quarter Thesis/Major Projects workshop. A student who decides to do a creative writing thesis too late to apply for a creative writing course in fall quarter may still switch into the Option, if their writing sample qualifies them for by applying to and being admission to Thesis/Major Projects workshop in winter quarter.

Applicants interested in the Writing Option should submit two writing samples with their MAPH applications:

  1. a 10-15 page critical essay
  2. two copies of a creative writing sample

For further information on the Masters Program in the Humanities, please visit the program's website.