Image of student hanging up her thesis on a line

The capstone experience of the MFA degree in creative writing is the writing of a thesis. The thesis is to be a book-length manuscript (at least 50 pages of poetry; 150 pages of fiction or non-fiction prose; a full-length play) of high artistic quality in the area of the student’s concentration. Six hours of thesis credit are required. Normally students will enroll for three thesis hours during the last two semesters of study.

Part I


Six hours of thesis credit are required. Normally you will enroll for three thesis hours during each of the last two semesters of study. The procedures for thesis registration differ on each of the four consortial campuses. You must consult your individual department guidelines and your Campus Coordinator before registering for thesis hours.

If your Thesis Director is from a different gateway university from yours, you must cross-register your thesis hours with the gateway where the Thesis Director is a faculty member.


In forming your thesis committee, you may seek advice from your Campus Coordinator or other faculty with whom you have studied. Generally, students select for their Thesis Director and Committee professors with whom they work well and whose feedback has aided them in the construction of their thesis.

You should begin seeking a director during the semester before you take your first thesis hours. The committee will consist of three (or, in some cases, four) NEOMFA faculty from at least two consortial universities, one of which must be your gateway university, e.g. if your gateway is Akron, you must have at least one professor from Akron on your committee and at least one professor from Kent or Cleveland.

Once you’ve chosen your thesis committee members, have them sign this form and return it to the NEOMFA office. Individual gateway campuses will also need you to fill out separate forms; your Campus Coordinator will have these for you.

Part II


The guidelines for submitting the final copy of a thesis differ slightly at each consortial university. Students should consult with their campus coordinators and the graduate office of the department. Normally, students will need to file appropriate forms for the intent to graduate in the semester before they expect to complete the degree. The thesis must be completed and in the hands of the committee no later than eight weeks before commencement.

All three universities require that two copies of the thesis be submitted to the appropriate graduate office. The policies regarding electronic submission differ however, and students should consult with their departments well in advance. In addition, NEOMFA students are required to submit one paper copy and one electronic copy of the final thesis to the NEOMFA director’s office no later than one week before commencement.

Keep in mind that all three gateway universities also require a university-specific thesis committee form and a prospectus, which must be submitted internally to the appropriate graduate office. Please consult your department’s Administrative Assistant or Graduate director as well as your Campus Coordinator for advice on which forms your university requires.


The thesis defense for students in the NEOMFA will consist of: (1) a meeting with all members of the thesis committee, and (2) a separate public reading of the work with other graduating students. The thesis defense meeting will be a question and answer session that is directed primarily toward the thesis, but may contain other topics with which the student would be expected to be familiar at the completion of the MFA degree. The committee director will schedule the defense meeting, which
must take place at least two weeks prior to commencement. All members of the thesis committee are required to attend the thesis defense meeting, and the NEOMFA director must be kept informed of the time and the place that the group will meet. When the thesis defense meeting is completed, the members of the committee will notify the NEOMFA director and submit the appropriate completion form to the gateway institution. Specific processes leading to completion and filing of the thesis and graduation deadlines differ across the three universities. It is the student’s responsibility to work with the gateway university graduate office to assure that all the necessary paperwork is

Below is the form that lets you graduate after your successful thesis defense. You will need to have this form on hand for your thesis defense date.

Part III


The graduate reading is a public celebration of your graduation and thesis. Each student graduating that semester will read an excerpt from their thesis project. This reading will be coordinated and advertised through the office of the NEOMFA director and will showcase the work of multiple students in several genres from multiple gateways. Faculty, students, and administrators of the NEOMFA consortium universities will be invited to attend as will selected members of the community and graduating students’ family and friends.