Graduate Timeline & Exams

MFA Program Timeline
Our MFA program follows a three-year curriculum, the basic timeline for which is provided below. These dates and deadlines assume a traditional fall enrollment and three-year plan of study. You should consult your program director or the Graduate School office if you have questions or extenuating circumstances. Below, all the forms within quotation marks can be located on the Grad School's "Forms" webpage; on that site, you'll need to search for the appropriate form within the listed categories, which will allow you to submit all paperwork electronically.

In a Fairbanks winter, snowy trees lines a snowmachine path.MFA Program – Year One

  • Submit your "Graduate Study Plan" by the end of the spring semester.
  • Submit your "Report of Advisory Committee" by May 15.

MFA Program – Year Two

  • Form your thesis committee and submit your "Appointment of Advisory Committee" by the end of the fall semester.
  • With approval from your thesis advisor, choose five additional texts for your Comprehensive Exams Reading List (linked below); submit a signed, printed copy of the exams list to Department Administrator Audrey Gibson by the end of the fall semester.
  • Complete your comprehensive exams (more information below), which are typically held on the Saturday ending the fifth full week of spring classes.
  • Submit your "Report on Comprehensive Exam" immediately upon confirmation of passing your comprehensive exams.
  • Submit your "Report of Advisory Committee" by May 15.

MFA Program – Year Three (see also: "Graduation Requirements" via the UAF Graduate School)

  • Submit your "Advancement to Candidacy" by October 15.
  • At the beginning of the spring semester, consult with your thesis committee to determine a defense date; ideal times are toward the end of February or the beginning of March, and you should provide your committee with a completed version of your thesis two weeks in advance of your defense date.
  • Submit your "Report on Thesis/Dissertation/Project Defense" upon confirmation of your successful thesis defense.
  • After your successful thesis defense (no later than March 24), email a PDF file of your thesis to CLA Dean Ellen Lopez and CLA Coordinator Miriam Stelges with the subject line "English MFA Thesis for Approval"; please also cc: your thesis advisor on the email.
  • After approval of your thesis by CLA Dean Ellen Lopez (no later than April 7), submit your "Approval of Thesis/Dissertation/Project."
  • Upload the final version of your thesis to the ProQuest ETD Administrator website no later than April 7; your thesis must be approved by your committee, the English Department Chair, and the CLA Dean before being uploaded.
  • Submit your "Report of Advisory Committee" by May 15.

Again, all the above forms indicated with quotation marks can be located on the the Grad School's "Forms" webpage.

MFA Comprehensive Exams
MFA candidates take comprehensive exams toward the beginning of their fourth semester. The exams consist of two three-hour sessions, in which students write short essays assessing the craft, forms, and techniques of certain literary texts. In the exams, students should demonstrate a solid base of knowledge in their chosen genre. In some cases, literature and forms courses will assign books from the reading list as part of the curriculum. Thesis advisors will also provide students with additional support about their individualized reading lists (five additional texts of the students' own choosing). Students are encouraged to begin reading from the examination list when they first enter the program.

The dates below refer to the years in which each exam taken; for instance, if you entered the program in Fall 2022, you will take your exams in Spring 2024 and should study from the 2023–24 document in your genre. MFA faculty update the reading lists every two to three years.

MA Timeline & Best Practices
Our MA program follows a two-year timeline, and students may be admitted for the fall or spring semesters. MA candidates take comprehensive exams during their second year in the program. (The timeline might vary for students pursuing the MFA/MA degree.) The following document provides an overview of the MA degree process, and students will receive further assistance on their comp exams and thesis development from faculty advisors.