Learn about electives, alternate genres, internships and January term.

As part of the requirements for graduation, MFA students must take at least two electives.  The following graduate-level courses are offered as electives.  Students may also satisfy this requirement by taking additional craft seminars or upper division undergraduate courses related to their theses.  

Alternate Genre (English 250)

A Writing Workshop course in an alternative genre, such as playwriting, screenwriting, or young adult fiction. This course explores the form’s tradition, techniques and possibilities, and focuses on the analysis and discussion of student works-in-progress.

Internship (English 280)

Students have the opportunity to pursue internships either for elective credit or as an extracurricular activity.  The teaching internship is designed to permit the student to observe the conduct of a college course and to share the pedagogical activity of a supervising instructor.  Students also have the opportunity to receive credit for internships in publishing, arts administration, or teaching writing in the community. Though students may pursue an internship in publishing or arts administration at any time in their studies, the Program encourages students to do so in their second year. Furthermore, teaching internships are only available to second-year students.


January Term

Any upper-division January Term course will fulfill an elective requirement.  MFA students are not required to take January Term courses.  Please note that due to a College policy, graduate students may take a travel course only if there are openings after the registration period.  For all other courses, graduate students register with seniors to receive preferential placement.

Writing Across The Curriculum Pedagogy (English 201)

This weekly, one-hour course is designed to prepare students for creating and presenting writing-in-the-disciplines workshops and for working one-on-one with student writers. Students will explore the pedagogical theories behind effective practices for collaboration and writing instruction. This course involves the one-hour weekly meeting and about an hour of outside work each week. The material covering one-on-one pedagogy will prepare participants for both tutoring and the individual conferences that accompany classroom teaching. That coursework, coupled with the material on collaboration and presentation techniques, also could be valuable for anyone considering work outside of academia that involves mentorship, leadership, or professional communication.

After taking this course, some first-year graduate students might be interested in applying to become paid Writing Across the Curriculum Advisors, who do individual tutoring and create and present workshops for courses of many disciplines.  This is a competitive application process; those interested may seek details from the Director of Saint Mary’s Center for Writing Across the Curriculum. The Director will hire graduate students who exhibit excellent interpersonal skills, work ethic, and academic writing skills, as well as interest in collaboration and in the pedagogies taught during the first semester of this course.

Students who are hired as Advisors will continue to enroll in this course during every semester they work in the Center. Though the course number remains the same each semester, the coursework evolves. The weekly meeting for the current Advisors is separate from the weekly meeting for students in their first-semester pedagogy course. For those currently on staff, the weekly course meeting consists of targeted learning about facets of writing pedagogy that coincide with the Advisors’ everyday work in the Center. Discussion topics could include empathic understanding, plagiarism, aspects of grammar, or the particular demands of an academic discipline. Advisors will be responsible for preparing some of the trainings for their peers, further increasing their opportunities for learning and for leadership development.