Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible for the M.A. in Writing program if I don’t have an undergraduate degree in English?
Yes. While an undergraduate degree in English or another writing-intensive discipline will best prepare you for CCU’s graduate program in Writing, all undergraduate majors are welcome. If you do not have a strong undergraduate English or writing background, you will need to take the GRE and submit 20 pages of original, polished writing with your application.
What is the deadline to apply to the program?
The final deadline for admission to the program for the Fall semester is May 1. The deadline for the spring semester is November 15.
Do I have to take the GRE?
It depends on your other credentials. If you have a minimum 3.3 GPA in 18 hours of coursework in English or related discipline and you submit a 20-page writing sample, GRE scores are not necessary. If you lack one of the above, then you must take the GRE and have your official scores sent to the Office of Graduate Studies as soon as possible. GRE scores that are older than 5 years at the time of application will not be considered.
Do I have to submit a writing sample?
It depends on your other credentials. If you have a minimum 3.3 GPA in 18 hours of coursework in English or related discipline and a recent GRE score of at least 500 verbal or 4.0 Written Assessment, a writing sample is not necessary. If you lack one of the above, then you must submit 20 pages of original, polished writing.
What should my writing sample contain?
Your writing sample should be academic or professional in nature and should demonstrate strong critical thinking. It should be something that you believe best showcases your writing skill. An essay you wrote for a previous course or project is acceptable. If you are interested in creative writing, your 20-page sample may include creative work.
May I submit several shorter samples if I don’t have a 20-page document to send?
Yes. You may submit one 20-page paper or several shorter papers that total 20 pages. Writing samples should be academic, professional, or creative in nature, and should demonstrate strong writing skills.
I haven’t been in school for a long time. Do my recommendation letters have to come from professors?
No. Recommenders should be people who know you well and have worked with you in an academic or professional context. They may be professors, colleagues, supervisors, or anyone else who can attest to your credentials. Personal recommendations from friends or family members will not be considered.
How long does it take to complete the program?
Graduation from the M.A. in Writing program requires completion of 33 credits. Students who attend full time can complete the entire program in two years or less. Students who attend part time must complete all requirements within seven years of matriculation.
May the program be completed on a part-time basis?
Yes. The program is designed to accommodate part-time students with flexible course scheduling, some online courses, and individually-arranged internship opportunities. Students must complete all degree requirements within seven years of matriculation.
I am already enrolled in a graduate program at CCU. May I enroll in the MA in Writing program concurrently?
Yes. Current CCU graduate students who meet our admission requirements may apply and enroll in the MA in Writing program. Credit for graduate courses taken in other departments will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis only.
When will classes be held?
Graduate classes will be held in the afternoons and evenings during the academic year and in the mornings over the summer. We will also offer online courses.
Is there a foreign language requirement?
Do you accept transfer credit for previous graduate work?
Transfer credit for graduate writing courses taken at another school will be considered on a case-by-case basis only. No more than six credits can be transferred from another institution earned prior to acceptance into the program.
What is the difference between an M.A. in Writing and an M.F.A.?
The short answer is that, like the M.F.A., the M.A. in Writing is a master’s level degree, but unlike the M.F.A., the M.A. in Writing it is not a terminal degree (the highest level of education someone can achieve within a specific discipline). Although some programs offer a Ph.D. in creative writing, the M.F.A. is the considered the terminal degree for the arts (creative writing, visual, and performing arts). The M.A. in Writing is not as intensely focused as the M.F.A. or Ph. D., but it will prepare students to move on to those programs if they so choose.
Do students have to declare a focus?
A focus is not necessary to graduate with an M.A. in Writing from Coastal Carolina University. It is strongly advised, however, that you base your coursework on your goals for the program, be they current or future employment ambitions or a desire to move on to higher studies. The program’s diversity is one of its strengths, and all workshops are offered to all students. This breadth of instruction allows students to take classes in creative writing as well as composition and rhetoric studies and business and professional writing.
How many classes are offered each semester?
Currently, four classes are offered each semester.
What are the credentials of the professors?
All professors teaching graduate level courses hold the terminal degree and actively publish in their discipline.
What is the learning focus for students, writing or teaching?
Students in the program have varied interests and goals. Some are teachers, some want to teach. Some want to be writers, some are writers (actually, they are all writers). And some are here purely for fun. The program is broad, so students can, in many ways, take the classes that suit them best.
How old is the program?
The inaugural session began in the fall of 2010.
Coastal Carolina University was founded in 1954 as Coastal Carolina Junior College and became an independent university in 1993. C.C.U. is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the baccalaureate degree and master's degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Coastal Carolina University. All other inquiries about the University should be directed to Coastal Carolina University, PO Box 261954, Conway, South Carolina, 29528-6054, or, 843-347-3161, not the Commission.
How large are the classes?
Classes are currently capped at 12 students.
Will the program offer opportunities for students to interact outside of the classroom?
The instructors urge students to help build a community of writers and scholars. Students have the ability to participate in many university-wide organizations and publications.
For what type of careers are graduates of the program well suited?
Graduates of the program will be well suited for an array of career choices, depending on their individual goals and coursework. Students are encouraged to speak with their advisor and Career Services early-on in their studies.
If I don’t have a background in English, will I survive in the program?
Yes. Although the program builds on the knowledge you already possess in English and writing, the courses explore new topics.
What are the benefits of this degree as opposed to a master’s degree in English?
An M.A. in English course load is literature-heavy. The M.A. in Writing at Coastal Carolina University offers some courses in literature, but its emphasis is on developing your own writing skills. This broad approach allows students to take courses in literature, creative writing, editing, and the pedagogy of writing and writing instruction. This allows students to study the multiple facets of writing, from its history to contemporary practices and practical knowledge.
If I am interested in teaching at a university, will I be able to do so with this degree?
Each university will have its own requirements for teaching, but in general an M.A. will enable you to teach at the university level. The M.A. is not the terminal degree, however, so you may be limited to teaching introductory-level English, Communication, and Journalism courses. The M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees would allow you to teach higher-lever courses in your discipline.
If I receive this degree, should I consider pursuing an M.F.A. as well?
Again, this would depend on your individual goals, but if your goal is to teach creative writing at the University level, then yes, you should consider an M.F.A.
Will this program prepare me for doctoral studies?
Yes. The 33 credit hours required to complete the program would prepare you for any higher level of education. The skills you will learn in terms of both research and writing will prepare you for an array of opportunities. Talk to your advisor early to discuss your options and determine which courses are the best fit for you.
Are there many other M.A. in Writing programs in the country?
Yes. Many master’s level writing programs exist, but each program differs in terms of course offerings and requirements.
Do students need a student identification card?
All students at Coastal Carolina University are required to have a photo identification card, called the CINO card. The first card is free. Visit the CINO Card Office at Atheneum Hall.
Is there an orientation?
Currently, there is no required orientation for the graduate program, though a meet-and-greet is held at the beginning of every fall semester.
Are parking decals required?
Yes. Parking decals are $50.00 for the academic year and may be purchased at the Department of Public Safety inside Atheneum Hall.
Are there graduate assistantships?
Yes, but graduate assistantships are limited. Apply early.
Where do the graduate assistants work?
Assistantships are available for the Department of English, the Office of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the Writing Center. Other assistantships are available. Please contact the Graduate Director or Office of Graduate Studies with further questions or to express interest.
Where is CCU located?
CCU is located in Conway, S.C. The campus is less than 11 miles from Myrtle Beach, S.C.
If I moved to Conway, S.C., where would I live?
CCU offers some help in relocating. Please visit the following site for help in finding off-campus housing. http://offcampushousing.coastal.edu/