The aim of the MFA Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine is the training of accomplished writers who intend to make writing their life. What the program expects of its students is passionate precision, character, and stamina. What the program wants most for its students is that each will sooner or later write something that lasts. To facilitate such writing, the faculty keeps the program small in order to ensure the high quality of the students, as well as to permit teaching on a one-to-one basis and to allow students to consult frequently with the faculty and staff for assistance with their work. Workshops in fiction and poetry are at the core of this two-to-three-year program. From over five hundred applicants, a maximum of twelve new students are enrolled each year. Graduates of the Programs in Writing receive a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in English.
Each quarter the candidate will be enrolled in either the poetry or fiction section of the Graduate Writers’ Workshop, which will constitute two-thirds of a course load, the other course to be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor. It is expected that M.F.A. candidates will complete at least one supervised teaching seminar.
In addition to course work, the candidate is required to present as a thesis an acceptable book-length manuscript of poetry or short stories or a novel. The normative time for completion of the M.F.A. is three years, and the maximum time permitted is four years.