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The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is one of only thirty BFAs in creative writing available nationwide. With three concentrations to choose from (fiction, poetry, nonfiction), the BFA is structured to give students ample opportunity to learn to write and think creatively while also developing the vocational writing skills that are desperately needed in the workplace. All students pursuing a BFA are strongly advised to complete on-site workplace internships in writing-intensive environments, and finish the degree with a submission of a portfolio of work as part of a final-semester capstone course, with final approval from the faculty.


Acceptance into the program is competitive. Admission to the university does not guarantee admission to the BFA program.

After acceptance to Mason, students who wish to pursue a major in creative writing should inform the academic coordinator in the English department or the director of the creative writing program of their interest in the program and should seek evaluation of any prior coursework as well as guidance on courses to take and the sequence in which to take them. In the program, students enroll in a series of courses intended to introduce them to all forms of creative writing, and then they select a core set of courses built around a specialization in fiction, nonfiction or poetry, along with upper-level writing, literature and advanced studies courses.

Students planning to enter the BFA program are initially designated as "pre-BFA" until they have successfully completed the requirements for full admission. Full admission requires a minimum of three creative writing courses successfully completed with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher in those courses. Alternatively, students who have taken creative writing courses at another institution or in their early undergraduate coursework at Mason may gain full admission status to the BFA program on the strength of recommendations from the instructors in those courses, subject to departmental approval, which is obtained from the Mason creative writing faculty and the director of the creative writing program.

A student admitted to the university and intending to enter the BFA program may designate a major in English and complete English major courses before attempting to move into admitted BFA status. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to full BFA status.


For policies governing all undergraduate degrees, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Students pursuing this degree must complete 45 credits (15 courses) in English/Linguistics beyond ENGH 300 Cover to Cover (not including ENGH 302 Advanced Composition (Mason Core)) with a minimum GPA of 2.00.

At the discretion of the department, transfer students may substitute transferred lower level creative writing classes for some BFA requirements. With permission of the department, BFA students may select a substitute for concentration required coursework from the list of courses approved for the writing or literature elective requirement. Substitutions must be justified as specifically relevant to the student's study. Substitutions will not satisfy more than one requirement within the major.

Banner Code: LA-BFA-CW

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Students will complete 21 credits of BFA core requirements, 12 credits from one of 3 concentrations, and 12 credits in English department requirements. 300-level courses in English and linguistics teach the foundational principles for a field of study, include courses of broad scope, and provide an introduction to a genre, literary period, or methodology. 400-level courses in English and linguistics provide an in-depth approach to a field of study, a single genre, literary period, or methodology. They include special topics classes and English honors classes. Some 400-level courses require ENGH 305 Dimensions of Writing and Literature as a prerequisite.

Students should consult with an English department advisor to learn ways in which the Mason Core requirements can also satisfy college-level requirements or the BFA.

Core Courses in the Major

ENGH 301The Fields of English3
ENGH 305Dimensions of Writing and Literature3
ENGH 377Digital Creative Writing3
ENGH 396Introduction to Creative Writing (Mason Core)3
ENGH 495Capstone and Thesis (Mason Core)3
Total Credits15

English Department Requirements

Literature before 1800
Select one course from the following:3
Literature of the Middle Ages
English Poetry and Prose of the 16th Century
Shakespeare: Special Topics
English Renaissance Drama
English Poetry and Prose of the 17th Century
Augustan Age: 1660-1745
Age of Sensibility: 1745-1800
Restoration and 18th Century Drama
British Novel of the 18th Century
Early American Literature
Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
Total Credits3
Literature before 1915
Select one course from the following:3
British Poetry of the Romantic Period
Prose and Poetry of the Victorian Period
British Novel of the 19th Century
Literature of the American Renaissance
Post-Civil War American Literature, 1865-1920
Development of the American Novel to 1914
Beginnings of African American Literature Through 1865
African American Literature: Reconstruction to 1903
Continental Fiction, 1770-1880
Continental Fiction, 1880-1950
A second course from literature before 1800 list above
Total Credits3
Minority, Folkloric, or Popular Literary and Cultural Traditions
Select one course from the following:3
Topics: Women and Literature
Folklore and Folklife (Mason Core)
Popular Culture
Beginnings of African American Literature Through 1865
African American Literature: Reconstruction to 1903
African American Literature Through 1946
Contemporary African American Literature
Topics in Ethnic American Literature
Global Voices (Mason Core)
The Idea of a World Literature (Mason Core)
World Literatures in English
Topics in Folklore Studies
Folklore and the Supernatural
Folk Arts and Folk Artists
Ethnicity and Migration in Folklore
RS: Topics in Folklore Research
Topics in Popular Literature
Science Fiction
Critical Study of Children's Literature
RS: Writing Ethnography (Mason Core)
Total Credits3
Writing or Literature Electives
Select one course from the following:3
Additional Writing Courses
Professional and Technical Writing
Honors Independent Study
RS: Writing Ethnography (Mason Core)
Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop
Advanced Workshop in Nonfiction
Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop
Topics in Creative Writing
Independent Study
Document Design
Courses in Contemporary Literature
Folklore and Folklife (Mason Core)
Popular Culture
British Poetry after 1900
British Novel after 1900
British and Irish Drama after 1900
Development of the American Novel since 1914
American Drama of the 20th Century
American Poetry of the 20th Century
Contemporary African American Literature
Modern Drama
Topics in Folklore Studies
Folklore and the Supernatural
Folk Arts and Folk Artists
Topics in Popular Literature
Science Fiction
Critical Study of Children's Literature
Topics in Fiction
Topics in Poetry
Topics in Drama
Topics in Literary Nonfiction (for fiction and poetry concentrators only)
Course in Writing for other Arts
Writing for Artists
Playwriting I
Playwriting II
Screenplay Workshop
Advanced Playwriting
Total Credits3

Required Workshop Courses

The workshops are in the two areas outside of the chosen concentration. The remaining workshop is included as part of the concentration requirements.

Select 6 credits from the following:6
Poetry Writing
Fiction Writing
Creative Nonfiction Writing
Total Credits6

Concentrations in the Major

Students must complete one of the following concentrations. 

Available Concentrations

Concentration in Fiction (FIC)

ENGH 398Fiction Writing3
ENGH 392Forms of Fiction3
ENGH 355Recent American Fiction3
ENGH 492Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop3
Total Credits12

Concentration in Nonfiction (NFIC)

ENGH 399Creative Nonfiction Writing3
ENGH 393Forms of Nonfiction3
ENGH 456Topics in Literary Nonfiction3
ENGH 493Advanced Workshop in Nonfiction3
Total Credits12

Concentration in Poetry (POE)

ENGH 397Poetry Writing3
ENGH 391Forms of Poetry3
ENGH 356Recent American Poetry3
ENGH 494Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop3
Total Credits12

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in creative writing may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing ENGH 305 Dimensions of Writing and Literature.

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 13
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of the Soviet Succession States
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia
Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
American Sign Language (ASL) I
American Sign Language (ASL) II
American Sign Language (ASL) III
Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)3
ANTH 300Civilizations3
ANTH 302Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ANTH 307Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)3
ANTH 308Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)3
ANTH 309Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)3
ANTH 313Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)3
ANTH 314Zombies3
ANTH 330Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western3
ANTH 332Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)3
ANTH 381Medical Anthropology3
ANTH 396Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core)3
ARAB 360Topics in Arabic Cultural Production3
ARAB 420Survey of Arabic Literature3
ARAB 440Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core)3
ARTH 203Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 204Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 206Survey of African Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 318Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt3
ARTH 319Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core)3
ARTH 320Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core)3
ARTH 382Arts of India (Mason Core)3
ARTH 383Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core)3
ARTH 384Arts of China (Mason Core)3
ARTH 385Arts of Japan (Mason Core)3
ARTH 386The Silk Road (Mason Core)3
ARTH 482RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art3
CHIN 318Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core)3
CHIN 320Contemporary Chinese Film3
CHIN 325Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core)3
CHIN 470Special Topics in Chinese Studies3
DANC 118World Dance (Mason Core)3
ECON 361Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ECON 362African Economic Development (Mason Core)3
FREN 451Topics in Sub-Saharan Francophone Literature and Culture3
FREN 454Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture3
GGS 101Major World Regions (Mason Core)3
GGS 316Geography of Latin America3
GGS 325Geography of North Africa and the Middle East3
GGS 330Geography of the Soviet Succession States3
GGS 399Select Topics in GGS3
GOVT 328Global Political Theory3
GOVT 332Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa3
GOVT 333Government and Politics of Asia3
GOVT 338Government and Politics of Russia3
GOVT 340Central Asian Politics3
GOVT 341Chinese Foreign Policy3
GOVT 345Islam and Politics3
GOVT 433Political Economy of East Asia3
HIST 251Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 252Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 261Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 262Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 271Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 272Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 281Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 282Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 326Stalinism3
HIST 327The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II3
HIST 328Rise of Russia (Mason Core)3
HIST 329Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core)3
HIST 353History of Traditional China3
HIST 354Modern China (Mason Core)3
HIST 356Modern Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 357Postwar Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 358Post-1949 China (Mason Core)3
HIST 360History of South Africa (Mason Core)3
HIST 364Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 365Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 366Comparative Slavery3
HIST 367History, Fiction, and Film in Latin America3
HIST 387Topics in Global History (Mason Core)3-6
HIST 426The Russian Revolution3
HIST 460Modern Iran (Mason Core)3
HIST 461Arab-Israeli Conflict3
HIST 462Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core)3
HIST 465The Middle East in the 20th Century3
JAPA 310Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core)3
JAPA 340Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core)3
KORE 320Korean Popular Culture in a Global World3
MUSI 103Musics of the World (Mason Core)3
RELI 211Religions of the West (Mason Core)3
RELI 212Religions of Asia3
RELI 240Death and the Afterlife in World Religions3
RELI 272Islam3
RELI 313Hinduism (Mason Core)3
RELI 314Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions3
RELI 315Buddhism (Mason Core)3
RELI 337Mysticism: East and West3
RELI 365Muhammad: Life and Legacy3
RELI 374Islamic Thought (Mason Core)3
RELI 375Qur'an and Hadith3
RELI 379Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics3
RELI 387Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights3
RELI 490Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core)3
RUSS 353Russian Civilization (Mason Core)3
RUSS 354Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core)3

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40

Honors in the Major

Highly qualified students in the BFA in Creative Writing program may pursue advanced work leading to graduation with honors in the major. To graduate with honors in the major, students must complete a two-course honors sequence and receive a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all courses counted toward the major and, separately, a minimum GPA of 3.50 in their honors courses. Honors courses may simultaneously satisfy concentration and distribution requirements in the major.

Students may satisfy the honors course sequence in one of the following ways:

BFA students may write a creative honors thesis in ENGH 401 RS: Honors Thesis Writing Seminar (Mason Core). BFA students may substitute ENGH 495 Capstone and Thesis (Mason Core) for ENGH 401.

Students interested in pursuing honors in the major should consult the English Department for more information.

The accelerated master's program listed below specifies the BFA in creative writing as a feeder degree for its program. It is important to note, however, that many accelerated master's programs are available for any bachelor's degree at Mason, including these. See the full list of degrees with accelerated programs at George Mason. In addition, as a student with a BFA in creative writing you may be particularly interested in the accelerated MA in English with a concentration in linguistics.

English, BA or Creative Writing, BFA/Curriculum and Instruction, Accelerated MEd (Secondary Education English concentration)


Highly-qualified Mason undergraduates may be admitted to the bachelor's/accelerated master's option and obtain both a BA in English or a BFA in Creative Writing and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction (concentration in secondary education English) in an accelerated time-frame after satisfactory completion of 149 credits. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degree for policies related to this program.

This accelerated option is offered jointly by the Department of English and the School of Education.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions Policies. For information specific to this accelerated master's program, see Application Requirements and Deadlines.

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students complete the following courses in their senior year:

Fall SemesterCreditsSpring SemesterCredits
SEED 5403EDRD 6193
SEED 5693SEED 6693
 6 6
Total Credits 12

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students are able to apply two of the courses listed above to both the bachelor's and master's degrees. These courses are considered advanced standing for the MEd. A minimum grade of B must be earned to be eligible to count as advanced standing. The other two courses are taken as reserve graduate credit and do not apply to the undergraduate degree. Early in their final undergraduate semester, students must submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form to the CEHD Admissions Office and specify which of the four courses are to be designated as advanced standing and reserve graduate credit.