MA in English (Creative Writing)

Total units required for the MA:  30

Program Description

The M.A. In English with a Concentration in Creative Writing is recommended for students preparing to teach at the community college level, for those students whose objective is to pursue an M.F.A. or Ph.D. in creative writing, and writers seeking to advance their understanding of creative writing practice and theory.

In general, the M.A. degree in each of its concentrations seeks to enhance students' skills in: critical reading; analysis of language, ideas, and the formal attributes of texts; creative engagement with the writing traditions of its two disciplinary fields; and independent research.

The two concentrations of the English M.A. offer preparation for students who aspire: to teach writing or literary study in high-school or community-college settings; to teach English to adult learners and to students abroad; to pursue career opportunities in fields such as journalism, publishing, law, and creative writing, advertising, arts administration, or civil service; or to pursue study at the doctoral level.

Because many graduate students work during the day, most graduate courses are scheduled for late afternoon and evening hours.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in English requires:

For: All Applicants to the MA in English
  • a baccalaureate degree;
  • a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 units of all university level coursework or a 3.0 GPA in courses in the English major on the transcript from the degree granting institution;
  • a minimum of 27 units of upper division courses in English;
  • (for foreign students from non-English speaking countries) a TOEFL score of 600 or higher (or a score of 250 or higher on the Computerized TOEFL) and a score of 5 on the Test of Written English; and
  • a minimum of fifteen units of upper-division coursework in literature 
  • at least one course must primarily address British literature and at least one course must primarily address American literature;

Application Materials Required by the English Department for All Applicants

In addition to the materials that must be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies as outlined in "Application Materials Required by the University" (below), students must also send additional material by the application deadline.

Before submitting the materials, please check with the English Department website (http// for updates and specific deadlines.

Please include the following as part of the supplemental application:

  • Personal statement of no more than 300-500 words. The personal statement should discuss the applicant's interest in the program concentration (literature or creative writing) that he or she has chosen and the experiences (academic and non-academic) that have shaped this interest and prepared the applicant for graduate work in this field.
  • Three confidentially submitted recommendation forms (found on the department website) for all students (both California State University, Sacramento and other institutions). Students graduating from universities other than California State University, Sacramento, must also provide formal letters from their three recommenders in addition to the completed recommendation forms.
  • Writing sample for Creative Writing applicants only (for prose or fiction, the writing sample should be no more than 15 pages; for poetry, the writing sample should consist of approximately 5 or 6 poems).
  • Students graduating from any institution other than California State University, Sacramento, must send directly to the English Department an official copy of all transcripts from each institution of higher education that they have attended.
  • A completed Department of English Supplemental Application found on the University's online application for admission.

The Graduate Coordinator will screen all applicants according to these requirements and a ranking system devised by the department. Applicants who have deficiencies in these admission requirements which can be removed by specified additional preparation will be ranked accordingly but may be admitted with conditionally classified graduate status. Any deficiencies will be noted on a written response from the Graduate Coordinator to the student's admission application.

Application Materials Required by the University

In addition to any materials sent directly to the department, all prospective graduate students including California State University, Sacramento, graduates, must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies, River Front Center 215, (916) 278-6470:

  • an online application for admission;
  • one set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than California State University, Sacramento; and
  • TOEFL scores, if applicable.

Note: For materials that must be sent as part of the supplemental application, see "Application Materials Required by the English Department" as listed above.

Applicants are accepted as long as room for new students exists or until the deadline passes. Applicants should file as early as possible.

For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Minimum Units and Grade Requirements for the Degree

Units required for the MA:  30
Minimum Cumulative GPA:  3.0.  No units with a grade lower and "C" may apply towards the degree

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • completed at least 12 units of English 200-level courses in the Master's Degree program with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0; and
  • taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver.

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with an English faculty advisor. The completed form is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Program Requirements

Required Courses (16 Units)
ENGL 200AMethods and Materials of Literary Research 14
ENGL 220ATeaching College Composition 4
ENGL 275Seminar in Literary History4
ENGL 201DContemporary Theory4
Concentration in Creative Writing (12 Units)
Select one course from the ENGL 230 series (Creative Writing)4
Selection one additional course from the ENGL 230 or 130 series (Creative Writing)4
ENGL 230XMaster Class in Writing Fiction4
or ENGL 230Y Master Class in Writing Poetry
Culminating Requirement (2 Units)
ENGL 500Culminating Experience 22
Total Units30