College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > English > Graduate Programs > Creative Writing and Publishing (MFA) > Thesis


DePaul's MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing will require the writing of a thesis. A thesis should be an original and independent body of creative writing that will be at least 100 pages of prose or 30 pages of poetry. Writing a thesis should not be undertaken lightly, as it is a substantial and serious project and, when completed, may become available to current and future MFA students.

MA students considering applying to the MFA should consult the program director about their plans for a thesis. Please see the Guidelines on Theses and Dissertations for College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

All thesis projects begin with extended thought, discussion, and research. The thesis must be planned and written in close consultation with the thesis director. The thesis director must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member with significant experience and expertise in the subject and/or the genre treated by the thesis. The thesis committee must also include a second reader whose fields of research and teaching will provide additional resources for the thesis writer and director.

Before writing the thesis, a student must submit a short thesis proposal to the MFA director. It is often wise to let a thesis proposal develop from work originally written for a graduate course, but in any case the proposal should result from in-depth consultation with the thesis advisor. Students should also consider taking an independent study (ENG 500) under the direction of the proposed thesis director in the term before enrolling for thesis credit.

The thesis proposal should be 2-3 pages long and should (a) explain clearly the topic of the thesis, (b) describe briefly what prior work the thesis will arise from, (c) explain why the student has chosen to do a thesis, and (d) present a short, tentative outline of deadlines toward completion.

After the MFA Program Director approves the thesis proposal, the student may register for four credit hours of ENG 501: Thesis Research by using the Independent Study form. Only four credit hours of ENG 501 will count toward the Master's degree, and they will count as an elective in the MFA program. Note that the thesis must be completed and approved in order for the ENG 501 credits to count toward the Master's degree.

A student writing a thesis should consult frequently with the director of the thesis committee. The director should offer timely and constructive written and oral commentary as the thesis proceeds, chapter by chapter or section by section. When the thesis director approves a draft of the entire thesis, it should be presented to the second reader.

When the thesis has been approved by a thesis director and second reader, the student must complete the Final Requirements Confirmation form. Theses may be approved either as Standard or With Distinction.


Thesis Submission

Upon completion and approval of the thesis, the student must submit the following documents to the LAS Graduate Student Services office by the last day of the conferral term. Please email all documents to

  • An electronic PDF copy of the final thesis, fully approved and in the correct format (see Sample Title Page)
  • A completed Abstract & Keyword Form
  • A signed copy of the ETD Approval Form (Please note: Unless you choose to embargo your thesis, it will be widely available through internet searches. Please consult with your thesis advisor and program director about the embargo, which we recommend for creative writers.)