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Mainer


Jan 23, 2007, 5:29 PM

Post #376 of 764 (13092 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Umass: "I came across several dozen new programs just *randomly* in doing my research--many at very, very small or less well-known schools"

This is the statement that bothers me. Several dozen? Several? As in thirty-six or more? I'd love to see the names of the schools (not listed on the Dozen Dozen MFA Programs blog list).


Clench Million
Charles

Jan 23, 2007, 5:30 PM

Post #377 of 764 (13091 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Piratelizzy:

Let me clarify first that when I say I think people should try for top programs I mean roughly in the top 30 or 40, not that people should only apply to Iowa and UVa or something. I think you make some good points, but I would still recommend personally that people apply for top programs, at least their first round or two. I think that too many people settle on weaker programs because they feel they have to get in the first round they apply. Many of these people would be better served, I think, by working on their writing and applying again (and maybe again and again) to when they are selected somewhere that will give them quality help. J. Lahiri and other famous writers went this route, taking a few years to get into the program they wanted, to good effect. Perhaps I am cynical, but I've had some experience with bad teachers (i'm sure we all have) and also bad peers in workshop, and often such experiences are detrimental to one's writing.

Individual fit is definitly important, but one should be able to find plenty of quality programs that are a good fit I think. Also, as important as individual fit is, its almost impossible to determine before actually attending a program. Sadly.



piratelizzy


Jan 23, 2007, 5:37 PM

Post #378 of 764 (13087 views)
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Re: [libbyagain] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for your real-world input, libby. Yeah, I'm willing to bet that a lot of programs that fall under the radar are "hungry and nurturing" when it comes to their students. Just as there are several programs I researched that sounded swell on paper, but gave off an aura of aloofness, neglect or arrogance when I tried to get in touch with people there. So, in my case, it didn't make sense to go those routes. I know myself, and I know what I require in those variables. Though I concede that "attitude" of staff may no factor at all in other people's choice of MFA programs.


'sup?!


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Jan 23, 2007, 5:50 PM

Post #379 of 764 (13073 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Speaking of the AWP [In reply to] Can't Post

As a first semester MFA student I was wondering if I should join the AWP to get access to the job postings and all.
Does anyone have a thought of whether or not that is warranted? Or when you normally join?

I won't be able to go to any of the great conferences going on b/c I am still working full time and using almost all my vacation just to do the MFA program.

So just wondering if it is worth joining early on. My understanding of the job market is that they start posting for jobs in October, the year before the need?

THanks for any input on that.

Jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


mingram
Mike Ingram

Jan 23, 2007, 6:40 PM

Post #380 of 764 (13057 views)
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Re: [jacarty] Speaking of the AWP [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm pretty sure that as an MFA student, you're given an automatic (free) membership in AWP. At least that was the case when I was in grad school. In my first month or so, I got an email with a username and password, and it was good for my two years as a student.

It is a good resource; this year I ponied up the money for a membership, mainly for the job info. Then again, you can get a lot of that job info through the Chronicle web site as well (though you have to maybe sift through more non-writing-related academic jobs).


jargreen

e-mail user

Jan 23, 2007, 7:40 PM

Post #381 of 764 (13040 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm ... see, I'd rather not have the bartending job, and just be paid to focus all of my energies on writing. I've been living off of financial aid (mostly grants, a few loans) while I've finished up these last two years of my undergrad degree. $17,000 a year. The two schools that I would consider "safe" schools - which, incidentally, are Honorable Mentions on the Kealey List - are going to pay my tuition and then give me $12-$15K for living expenses. My only job is to really focus all of my time and energies on developing as a writer, while going to class a couple nights a week, and perhaps teaching a class, which would rock. I'm hoping that Michigan or Florida wants me to do this at their place, but I suspect I'd gladly accept such an offer from Southwestern Central Idaho Tech.


umass76


Jan 23, 2007, 8:56 PM

Post #382 of 764 (13017 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Mainer,
What can I tell you? I posted an addendum to my post minutes after I posted it, and it's only now (hours later) that I see that the system ate it (I was working in the "basic" editor because I couldn't get the "advanced" editor to work, and that must have caused the problem).

In the addendum, I told you of (and gave the link for) the primary website for compiling data on MFA programs, and said that its website lists 189 programs. However, some of those schools might only have PhD. programs. I pointed out that it's rare, however, for a school to offer a Creative Writing PhD. but not an M.F.A.; in fact I'd be surprised if there were more than 10 such schools. But I could be wrong. In any event, it seems to me that it's equally likely that this website missed a few schools that do have M.F.A.s, so I said it seemed probable that the number of M.F.A. programs, presently, is close to 200. As to how I know that "way" more than 30 MFA programs have been created since 1997, as I said in my response I must have come across three dozen programs in my research that I couldn't find in the USNWR rankings. I can't provide a list because a) I never kept a list, so I'd have to re-do the research, which I just don't have time to do, and b) you either trust me or you don't, and if you don't, you'd probably just as soon think that I wrote this website myself--

http://www.gradschools.com/...reative_writing.html

--i.e. the one which lists the 189 schools. Just kidding there. :-) The point is, you can look at the gradschools.com list yourself and see dozens of schools there which weren't in the USNWR97 top ninety-five schools...so, my observation that more than 30 new programs have been created would seem to be empirically true, if (if!) we assume that USNWR ranked all the programs which existed in 1997. I believed that it had done that, you seem to imply I might be wrong there, and you might be right in correcting me. So, if USNWR didn't rank all the schools, then for all I know there aren't 30 new programs, though my belief would still be that there probably are--my impression being that the last decade was the decade for growth in the M.F.A. system.

So, anyway, I took your comment--"I would hope that your interest in creating new rankings would compel you to research the facts available"--as being wholly understandable, given that my "ON EDIT" addendum was erased by the system.
S.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jan 23, 2007, 10:13 PM)


Mainer


Jan 23, 2007, 10:25 PM

Post #383 of 764 (12983 views)
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Re: [umass76] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Umass,

PhD programs at universities without MFA programs:
1. University of Denver
2. University of Missouri
3. University of Nebraska
4. Ohio University
5. University of Georgia
6. University of Tennessee
7. University of Southern Mississippi
8. University of Illinois at Chicago
9. Texas Tech
10. Oklahoma State.

That's ten programs found in ten minutes via Google. Not so rare. This exactly why I'm not inclined to believe your vague pronouncements and assumptions.

There are closer to 144 MFA programs than 400 and I have seen nothing to convince me that there are "close to 200."


(This post was edited by Mainer on Jan 23, 2007, 10:30 PM)


umass76


Jan 23, 2007, 11:49 PM

Post #384 of 764 (12953 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Mainer,
Kind of strange, isn't it, asking questions you could find the answer to yourself, then getting snarky when someone tries to answer you with what he admits is only an estimate?
S.

P.S. I'm not sure I trust your research, either. I think your desire to score points here may have trended you toward not getting your facts straight ("ten programs found in ten minutes via Google," s/he crowed). The first school I decided to double-check you on (because I did do research for my rankings, which let me know immediately that your list was wrong, whereas you just started looking into this), U. of Georgia, does in fact have an MFA

http://www.english.uga.edu/...ive/graduate/ma.html

--I imagine at least a few of your other "catches" are wrong, too. Anyway, I'm not really interested in playing the game here. If you can find out the answer to a question yourself, do your own research, however slapdash.

[You wrote:

"Umass,

PhD programs at universities without MFA programs:

...5. University of Georgia"

From the University of Georgia website:

"The University of Georgia offers the MFA and PhD in English with creative thesis or dissertation and is one of the few universities in the U.S. to provide writers with the opportunity for stimulating course work in literature and an intense and nurturing workshop experience. MFA students complete a two-year degree culminating in a creative thesis. PhD students complete three years of course work, take comprehensive exams, and write a book-length work of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction"

I'd note that an MFA in English with a creative thesis is not treated differently from an MFA in creative writing for hiring purposes, as you well know. That's why U.S. News & World Report ranked Georgia #62 among "creative writing programs with MFAs." Oh, and most of the other programs you listed were ranked also: Ohio U., Missouri, Denver, etc. etc.].



(This post was edited by umass76 on Jan 23, 2007, 11:58 PM)


Mainer


Jan 24, 2007, 12:18 AM

Post #385 of 764 (12937 views)
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Re: [umass76] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

I apologize if my posts came across as snarky. I merely disagree w/ the statements you made. My research regarding PhD programs at schools without MFA was admittedly slapdash (ten minutes on Google). I'm not trying to play a game, merely separate fact from hyperbole. My haste obviously led to a mistake in listing UGA, but the point remains: I found a lot of programs quickly that offer MA and PhD, without MFA. The fact that they appeared in USNWR's rankings only proves that USNWR didn't rank only MFA programs.

I'm really not interested in sparring with you or anyone else here. I only spoke up to point out that the "400 CW MFA programs" statement that has been repeatedly thrown around this message board is inflated and misinformed.


(This post was edited by Mainer on Jan 24, 2007, 12:21 AM)


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Jan 24, 2007, 7:40 AM

Post #386 of 764 (12907 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Mainer/Umass,

This actually the first year UGA has offered the MFA. As recently as past spring when I was trying to pick a program they didn't know if the state's board of reagents would give them the go ahead (there were fears that an MFA at UGA would draw students away from the program in Atlanta). When USNWR listed UGA (at 62 did one of you say?) the school offered only the MA and the PhD in creative writing.


Clench Million
Charles

Jan 24, 2007, 10:18 AM

Post #387 of 764 (12879 views)
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Re: [GDClark] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Mainer/Umass,

This actually the first year UGA has offered the MFA. As recently as past spring when I was trying to pick a program they didn't know if the state's board of reagents would give them the go ahead (there were fears that an MFA at UGA would draw students away from the program in Atlanta). When USNWR listed UGA (at 62 did one of you say?) the school offered only the MA and the PhD in creative writing.


Yes, the USNWR ranked a lot of programs that were not MFAs (BU is an obvious one, I think Johns Hopkins wasn't yet an MFA in 97, etc.) so the fact that something was ranked on USNWR is not proof that it has an MFA by any means.


umass76


Jan 24, 2007, 1:00 PM

Post #388 of 764 (12835 views)
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Re: [GDClark] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

This is one of those questions which sounds like I'm asking it sarcastically but I'm really not, I swear--why, for purposes of determining how many MFA programs there are, does it matter that a program is an MA rather than an MFA? Now, let me stress that I do know the difference between the two from a technical standpoint. It just strikes me that for employment purposes and for academic purposes the two types of programs do not differ so much "in kind" as "in degree" (using "degree" in the non-academic sense here). As in, they're different takes on the same general idea, and both employers and prospective students know that. E.g., I've never heard someone say, "Well, I won't apply to BU because it's an MA; I won't apply to Cincy because it's an MA; I won't apply to UNH...etc. etc." Or we could put it this way: there isn't one class of applicants for MFAs and another separate class or demographic for MAs. So, isn't it just semantics which causes us to say, "There are _____ MFA programs in the country...[if you don't count any of the MA programs in creative writing or those that have a focus/concentration in creative writing]..."? Isn't that a pretty big disclaimer? Personally, I'm inclined to count MA/MFA programs in one category provided we're talking about Writing, Creative Writing, or English with a focus/concentration in Creative Writing programs (as, frankly, there are MFAs that fit into these different categories too, I believe). But I'd like to hear the argument against. I might be missing something important here.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jan 24, 2007, 1:03 PM)


Mainer


Jan 24, 2007, 1:08 PM

Post #389 of 764 (12824 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, this should have been posted in reply to my good friend Umass...

The MFA is widely regarded as the terminal degree in creative writing. As more schools offer PhDs, that may change. I was told by the chair of my undergrad English department that, for hiring purposes, an MA w/ publications would not be equal to an MFA w/ publications, because an MA is not considered by anyone to be a terminal degree. I'd be curious what others have heard.


(This post was edited by Mainer on Jan 24, 2007, 1:10 PM)


jargreen

e-mail user

Jan 24, 2007, 1:15 PM

Post #390 of 764 (12813 views)
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Re: [umass76] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

All I know is that I never considered working towards an MA in creative writing, because the MFA has been widely accepted for many years to be the terminal degree in my field. The MA seems to have always been the intermediate step in the Ph.D.'s study of literature. Only in recent years, it seems, has a Ph.D. in creative writing been more widely offered and desired (though evidently not required) for a position in academia. Of course, we are led to believe that the MFA doesn't get one anywhere; that despite top programs such as Columbia and Florida marketing it to prospective students as the only degree one has to have to teach writing at the college level, one apparently has to be Salman Rushdie to lecture at a modest state university or small rural college.


umass76


Jan 24, 2007, 1:20 PM

Post #391 of 764 (12805 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

I too have been told that the MFA is a terminal degree, yet the number of schools which now offer a PhD. in Creative Writing (when I researched this a year ago I recall there being at least twenty such programs) causes me to question whether this feature of the MFA--which, I agree, is what marks it as different from an MA--is still worthy of being considered such a distinguishing characteristic or is even wholly accurate in the way it's couched. Also, I can't offer any conclusive proof re: hiring, I guess no one can, but it just doesn't sound right to me that you can study for a Master's degree (MA) under Robert Pinsky and Derek Wolcott, create a creative thesis, publish regularly, and still not be equal in your credentials to an MFA graduate of a similarly ranked/regarded program with a similar publishing history.


jaywalke


Jan 24, 2007, 1:43 PM

Post #392 of 764 (12792 views)
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Terminal degrees [In reply to] Can't Post

Not that Wiki is perfect, but it's a good conversation starter.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_degree

This language has a lot in common with what I've seen on faculty contracts:
http://www.csufresno.edu/aps/apm/304.pdf

An MA allows you to teach at a community college in most places or perhaps as an adjunct, but not as a permanent faculty member without a lot of hoop-jumping.

This line is from the Wikipedia entry for MFA:
"The MFA differs from the MA in that it is more concerned with practical application in the field, while the latter is interested in the academic study of the field."
I would also add that the MA is usually just a step on the road to a PhD, so much so that some programs don't separate the two. The MA just sort of happens around the end of your second year in the Ph.D. program.

The difference between an (MA-)Ph.D. and an MFA in Theatre, where the two have coexisted for years, is the difference between theory and practice. Both are (ostensibly) 3-year programs that require a thesis, but if you want to write critical papers, teach theatre history, present at conferences and discuss the theoretical underpinnings of theatre you would likely be attracted to the Ph.D. If you want to direct, act, design (or teach any of those hands-on) you would likely get an MFA. There are variances, but it seems to hold mostly true. I'm currently knee-deep in a tenure-track search where the department expressly requested an MFA rather than a Ph.D. because they want application, not theory.

Creative Writing is a whole new ball game, as the Ph.D. seems to be growing while we watch. It is too early to tell if the same delineation can be made. I think it will, but only time and the market will tell.


(This post was edited by jaywalke on Jan 24, 2007, 1:58 PM)


mingram
Mike Ingram

Jan 24, 2007, 1:52 PM

Post #393 of 764 (12781 views)
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Re: [umass76] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

There is indeed a difference when you go to get a teaching job, in two ways:

1. You won't be considered for a tenure-track job at a major university with an MA, since it's not a terminal degree.

2. If you work as an adjunct (as many post-MFAers do) you'll be paid more if you have an MFA. An MFA gets you the PhD rate, while MAs are paid less. That may not be true at all schools, but it's true where I work.

I think it's yet to be seen how the PhD in creative writing will be valued in this picture. I doubt it will strip the MFA of its terminal-ness. It may -- MAY -- help a candidate get past a hiring committee, since seeing PhD next to your name looks nice. Though my impression is departments won't equate a PhD in creative writing with a PhD in Lit, or Rhetoric, etc., when it comes to making hiring decisions.

Which is not to knock the PhD programs. My impression is most people in CW PhD programs are looking for more funded time to write, rather than a particular teaching/career-related outcome.


alishein


Jan 24, 2007, 2:18 PM

Post #394 of 764 (12765 views)
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Re: [mingram] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in the last semester of an MA program (fiction) and I've applied for MFA programs for this coming fall. I want to do the MFA because I want to teach and there's no way I could get hired to do that at this point. My MA program doesn't have any TA component and I think that's true of a lot of purely MA programs in other fields as well. So, at this point, I have no teaching experience -- even if an MA could get a teaching job (and I agree with all the posts saying that the MFA a terminal degree vs. the MA which is not) I wouldn't want me in a classroom. For me, my MA was a way to build a stronger portfolio for applying to MFA programs.


Clench Million
Charles

Jan 24, 2007, 5:36 PM

Post #395 of 764 (12715 views)
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Re: [umass76] Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

There is both a practical difference and a substantial difference between the two:

a) As stated, MFAs are terminal and MAs are not. You can't get a permenant job without a terminal degree.

b) Substantially they are different. The MA has an academic focus and the MFA has a craft or practical focus. This is a simplification, but it is almost like taking an art history class versus taking an art class. The MFA programs which require other classes (which is good thing IMO) typically provide craft courses where students can read and study work from a craft angle. MAs typically offer mostly academic classes. In my MFA experience so far, I've never once had to turn in a critical essay discussing class consciousness in the female characters of James Joyce or anything like that.

When I was in undergrad you could major in english and creative writing, but the major was basically the exact same as a regular english major plus a few extra workshop classes and a creative thesis. I think that most MA programs are along those lines.


Personally I've heard lots of people say they wouldnt' apply to BU or other MA programs and only wanted MFAs.


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Jan 24, 2007, 11:13 PM

Post #396 of 764 (12646 views)
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Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Although the MFA vs. PhD discussion is interesting and certainly has merit, the topic here is MFA rankings. The present discussion might be better suited to a topic like Your goals in getting an MFA or even MA vs. MFA.


(This post was edited by motet on Jan 24, 2007, 11:15 PM)


Windiciti



Jan 25, 2007, 7:37 AM

Post #397 of 764 (12593 views)
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Re: [pongo] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

True about the rankings.
Also, because it's like getting a new job, You can interview and visit 100 times, but you won't really know it's a good fit for you until you are working there. Research will generally just tell you where you DON"T want to be, school or job.

In addition, if you are not single and free, you can only look at LOCAL or low res programs for yourself; and that will be about a handful near you, and of course as many LOW RES as you want and/or have the energy to apply to.

BTW my own MCW program at NU is planning on becoming an MFA program for Fall 2008! This is great news however....
The candidates in the MCW have to reapply! I was not pleased about the message conveyed by this....we have a few really BAD writers in our current program!
I was also told that those who were not up to par for the MFA would be considered for MY CURRENT PROGRAM, which is quite expensiveIMO.
Although I was reassured that I would be accepted, I was very displeased by the unspoken message here: that my "prestigious" program which had the toughest application requirements of all the five programs to which I applied was not so.
Besides the portfolio,they required a crippling, for me, analytical 10 plus page essay on a literary writer, work of fiction, etc. It took me a month to write! And I almost didn't make it...it was sooo scary for me.
Well, I love my program but this was insane news for me! And I will go for the MFA of course.


Windiciti



Jan 25, 2007, 7:47 AM

Post #398 of 764 (12592 views)
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Re: [franz] What are your rankings? [In reply to] Can't Post

YES! Great informative list.
I wd. have picked Iowa, Michigan, Madison, Notre Dame, Indiana, and OSU in the Midwest if I cd. have moved.
However your viewpoint coincides w/ mine and Tom Keally's (?) : FOLLOW THE MONEY! Don't get into debt if you can prevent it.


wiksty


Jan 26, 2007, 2:54 PM

Post #399 of 764 (12412 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] What are your rankings? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in the midwest now, what is so great about the programs you listed?

I'm trying to move AWAY from the md.W but if there are great programs right here...maybe I should reconsider...why would you have picked those graduate schools?

I've only just begun my searching, and I'm trying to find programs out of this area (better weather, more to see and do, different experience, etc).

Any advice or suggestions are more than welcome, I'm looking to begin a program Fall 2008 :)

Thanks in advance!!!

~Wiksty


wiksty


Jan 26, 2007, 3:14 PM

Post #400 of 764 (12404 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

NU...New York? I'm considering schools on the east coast, and looking to be accepted to a program Fall 2008!!! If this is true...if NU is New York, lol (i'm not up to par with knowing the names by their initials) that would be fantastic for me! Could you give me details on the program, school, and what you like about it? That'd be wonderful *winks*

Thanks in advance!!!

~Wiksty

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