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Creative writing Thesis

Format and Content Requirements

Approval by thesis director

The prospective Creative Writing Thesis Director will assess Master of Arts in English students’ readiness to undertake a Creative Writing Thesis (i.e., competency and/or credit hours).

Students wishing to submit a Creative Writing Thesis must, like other master’s degree candidates, obtain approval from a thesis adviser and submit a prospectus. Students are encouraged to submit projects that have undergone a rigorous process of discussion with the Creative Writing Thesis advisor. 

Note: If a student assembles an interdisciplinary committee, the thesis itself must still adhere to M.A. in English Creative Writing Thesis Guidelines.


Thesis Format

The Creative Writing Thesis must include an introductory chapter, of a minimum 12 pages but no more than 25 pages, giving the reader a scholarly overview of the literary traditions in which the student’s creative work participates; thus, it must do the following:

  • Analyze relevant genres, using critical sources 
  • Situate the writer in relation to predominant craft-related challenges 
  • Explain recurrent themes, the revision process, and/or influential authors/texts
  • Include a thorough bibliography for readers eager to conduct additional studies on the creative work and its tradition(s).


Acceptable genres of the Creative Writing Thesis include poetry, fiction, drama, and the literary non-fiction essay. Other genres and formats may be considered.

Thesis Length 

The Creative Writing Thesis itself, not including the introduction, generally should range from 60 to 80 pages, plus bibliography. Appropriate manuscript length will be determined in consultation with specialists in each genre.

Thesis Format

The final result is an original manuscript. The format of the introductory chapter and bibliography must follow formal guidelines established by the UW Oshkosh Master of Arts in English program and The Graduate School and Research. These guidelines are published in the following manuals:

  • MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 2nd ed. (New York: Modern Language Association, 2008)
  • Format Policy and Style Manual (The Graduate School and Research, UW Oshkosh).

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