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Feb 4, 2007, 11:01 PM

Post #426 of 764 (23790 views)
Re: [malber] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Are you applying to csu simply based off of the location? The program looks cool (based off of the site and such… so that is what led me to apply… in combination w/ location, of course) I was just wondering if anyone had anything to say about the faculty…


Feb 4, 2007, 11:33 PM

Post #427 of 764 (23771 views)
Re: [malber] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To:

Junior: Yeah, Stefan is great. He's actually a good friend of mine, and his novella is completely stunning in parts. How did you come across it?


Wow, small world. I was in a bar in Austin, actually, talking to a stranger about books. He told me to do myself a favor and check out Kiesbye. Very glad I did. And then I think at the back of the book his bio mentions Michigan, which got me very interested in their program.

six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Feb 4, 2007, 11:36 PM)


Feb 4, 2007, 11:54 PM

Post #428 of 764 (23759 views)
Re: [ecphraticknolls] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Are you applying to csu simply based off of the location?

I'm applying for fiction. And I had a friend who was going there for poetry who really loved it. So I decided to give CSU a shot with another dark horse app (American University being the other, a school no one really says anything about either). Unfortunately, that friend of mine dropped out after the first semester claiming exhaustion from too difficult a teaching load. However, I don't think it's a worse load than other schools. Certainly no worse than Indiana's.

Oh, and that ranking wasn't my own. Just a random grouping of some schools I applied to. Here's the master list in no real order. Any thoughts?


I'm not really ranking them because who knows if I'll get in at all. But in a perfect world I'd like to go to Umass I think.

(This post was edited by SalPane on Feb 4, 2007, 11:55 PM)


Feb 5, 2007, 12:17 AM

Post #429 of 764 (23745 views)
Re: [minna pratt] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Minna -- Do you (or does anyone) know if/where Deborah Eisenberg is teaching this summer? Also, yes, Irvine is a planned community, it looks like a large suburb. Some people love it, but I don't find it inspiring.



Feb 5, 2007, 7:43 AM

Post #430 of 764 (23715 views)
Re: [SalPane] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Speaking of dark horse programs, I'm left to assume that University of Maryland fits the bill. I applied there in poetry, despite my hesitation to live in the sprawling, track-housing mess that is the greater D.C. area, but their faculty is too stellar to pass over: Stanley Plumly, Michael Collier [who also directs Bread Loaf], and Elizabeth Alexander. And their alumni are coming out with solid books (Patrick Phillips, James Hoch are two recent examples).

I see that Seth's rather comprehensive list leaves U-MD completely unranked. I understand they don't fund everyone, but neither does Pittsburgh or Hollins or ________[any number of other programs].

As for my own app. list, I'd have to rank them:

1. Cornell
2. UT-Michener Center
3. Wisconsin (accepted 2/14)
4. Oregon - UVa
6. Michigan
7. Maryland - Minnesota
9. Arkansas

Edited to update my rankings.

(This post was edited by whiskeytown on Feb 21, 2007, 10:19 AM)


Feb 5, 2007, 8:02 AM

Post #431 of 764 (23709 views)
Re: [malber] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe Pittsburgh admits 6 for each genre (F, P, CNF) and funds 2 of those people (per genre). I got in last year, but without funding. Lovely city, though, and solid program.

George David Clark
e-mail user

Feb 5, 2007, 8:35 AM

Post #432 of 764 (23697 views)
Re: [bullscheidt] Current MFA Rankings/Deb Eisenberg [In reply to] Can't Post

Eisenberg won't be teaching this summer, at least not here at UVA. She teaches each fall and spends most of the rest of the year in NYC.

Minna, I'm a poet but I had the opportunity to take Eisenberg's Forms and Fiction class last semester. She's pretty wonderful. I don't know that I've ever met a more passionate reader. She taught the second year fiction workshop last semester also and those guys raved about her. She invested a great deal in their work.


Feb 5, 2007, 9:17 AM

Post #433 of 764 (23679 views)
Re: [Fear&Loathing] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a little confused...are these the numbers for explaining the amount of students let into the programs every year at said school? Or the number of grant applicants let in at said school?


Feb 5, 2007, 8:02 PM

Post #434 of 764 (23573 views)
Re: [wiksty] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post


Stanford accepts 10 students each year, evenly between fiction and poetry, out of more than a thousand applicants. Over the last six years, they've accepted 60 students. Each student receives a full fellowship. "Arizona 5" means that of the 60 students accepted over the last six years, 5 received their MFAs from Arizona.



Feb 6, 2007, 5:18 PM

Post #435 of 764 (23473 views)
Re: [Fear&Loathing] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh wow, tough comp.

Blah, for now I'll worry about writing great poems, then getting some of them published, than getting into a great program, I guess.

I've looked at a few different set of rankings lately, everyone seems to just throw in their opinion based on location, faculty, etc. Its nice to see some numbers! Allowing myself an actual opportunity to be accepted is important!

Thanks :)



Feb 18, 2007, 5:31 PM

Post #436 of 764 (23311 views)
Re: [wiksty] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey all,

Just wanted to let everyone know that the 2007 TSE Composite Ranking and 2007 LJPW Reader Poll of creative writing programs have both been updated using additional data from this and other sites.

The number of participants in the LJPW Reader Poll is now 168, and the TSE Composite continues to look more and more like a ranking of schools I think might actually be somewhat helpful to folks.

To find the rankings, use the right-hand frame of this website for navigation:



(This post was edited by umass76 on Feb 18, 2007, 5:32 PM)


Feb 20, 2007, 4:56 PM

Post #437 of 764 (23169 views)
Re: [umass76] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks :)

Do you know how long it will be before the programs are ranked again? I'm not trying to get in until Fall 2008 but I'm sure the schools wont change THAT much...just wondering if I should be on the lookout for another posting before then???


Clench Million

Feb 20, 2007, 10:47 PM

Post #438 of 764 (23090 views)
Re: [wiksty] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

The schools haven't been ranked by any kind of official organization since the US News and World Report did rankings in 1997.

You can find those here: MFA Rankings.

More subjective and personal rankings like Umass's crop up every year though, if that is what you are looking for. Certainly people give their opinions here on the Speakeasy every year.

I'd heard rumors, on here, that there was going to be another official ranking done in 2007... but I haven't seen it yet.

ETA: It was the National Research Council that is supposed to be ranking MFAs sometime in 2007. Don't know if anyone here knows any info on that though?

(This post was edited by Clench Million on Feb 20, 2007, 11:00 PM)


Feb 21, 2007, 1:39 AM

Post #439 of 764 (23052 views)
Re: [wiksty] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post


I agree with Clench that you should look at the National Research Council rankings when they come out in the fall, though I'll note that--if the Council's rankings of PhD. programs or undergraduate institutions are any indication--there's going to be some head-shaking going on around these parts this autumn. The NRC tends to heavily weight the financial resources of the various schools (e.g., endowment), though it's not clear whether they'll do this for MFA programs or not. Also, the NRC, because they tend to use mathematical formulas, is more likely to rank programs by, say, the number of grants and awards won by its professors, than by the "mushier" question of which poets and writers are actually most respected in their respective fields.

As Clench is well aware, the rankings I put on my blog aren't "personal" because they're not based on my own opinions or data I "created." They're based a) on the rankings in a book by Tom Kealey, and b) a poll taken on several websites, and c) data taken from the various schools' websites (as to number of applicants and acceptees and, more recently, 2006 and 2007 response times), and d) the Stegner website and the pages of the Legitimate Dangers anthology (poetry only). While Clench is right to imply that none of the data on TSE is scientific, and wrong to omit that I never said it was, it's a fact that no one has ever compiled rankings in this way before, and that since December 31st thousands of visitors to my website have perused the rankings and (if e-mails and web-posts are any indication) often found them enormously instructive--if not dispositive (nor should they be) of anyone's final decisions.

If anyone thinks rankings of this level of complexity and structure (e.g., taking a poll with more than 165 samples) come out "every year," I'm sure he/she will provide a link to those rankings right now. As in, immediately.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Feb 21, 2007, 1:43 AM)

Clench Million

Feb 21, 2007, 10:08 AM

Post #440 of 764 (22983 views)
Re: [umass76] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Umass, we don't have to go over all this again. Your main rankings are indeed quite personal as they are based on criteria you (or you and TK if you wish, though TK said he doesn't endorse or disavow your rankings) and subjective weighting of those various criteria. Put it this way, you can take 14 film criteria and call them "objective" or what not (lighting, soundtrack, acting ability, dialogue, etc) and then make a list of the best movies of 2006 but that doesn't mean the list is not a personal, subjective list. You still choose what critieria was important and you decided how many points to award for soundtrack or for lighting or for title etc. And lastly you subjectively decided that movei A had "poor lighting" while movie B had good dialogue. There is nothing wrong with making lists like this, hell often individual's list strike me as better than the Academy Award picks, but that doesn't mean they aren't less official and more subjective and personal.

Your second list, the "poll" one, is obviously not a personal list, though I clearly wasn't refering to that and the methodology strikes me as so wierd and flawed as to not be very helpful. But if other people find it helps them, more power to them.

I was just giving Wiksty the scoop on the official lists in case that was what he/she was asking about.

(This post was edited by Clench Million on Feb 21, 2007, 10:26 AM)


Feb 21, 2007, 12:14 PM

Post #441 of 764 (22929 views)
Re: [Clench Million] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, Clench, we don't need to rehash it.

I would just point out to Wiksty, and to you, that the 1997 U.S. News rankings were explicitly based on the "personal, subjective" opinions of a few dozen MFA professors and administrators, who were encouraged to do no independent research on the topic and instead vote based on their gut instincts and their biases (the odd "only vote on programs you know" rubric, which not coincidentally most rewards those schools with the most socially- [not even professionally-] connected professors). As near as I can tell, the only thing that makes those rankings different from, say, the LJPW--as neither is scientific, and both are based on respondents' personal opinions and biases--is that they were compiled by "an organization," not an individual. And the disadvantage the professor-driven U.S. News rankings have (apart from being a decade old) is that professors don't have to worry about finances; students do. If you look at the boards right now everyone's decision seems to be coming down largely to money. And what does U.S. News have to say about that? Nothing at all. It's like that ranking has duct tape put over its mouth the second the question of money comes up.

The TKS and LJPW rankings are the only rankings ever done in this field which combine extensive research, hard data, and a large sample size with a consideration of funding. Having said that, I certainly would point independently wealthy people who want to know which schools were prestigious a decade ago to the U.S. News rankings. Otherwise, folks can look at my website and accept or discard anything they see there (and they'll find, very quickly, that most everything there is "hard data" not available elsewhere: for instance, response times for 2006 and 2007; size of accepted classes; number of applicants; number of Stegner Fellows; success in anthologies; popularity amongst a particular subset of the applicant pool; and so on).


(This post was edited by umass76 on Feb 21, 2007, 12:18 PM)


Feb 21, 2007, 12:20 PM

Post #442 of 764 (22919 views)
Subjective is in the eye of the Objector [In reply to] Can't Post

UMass & Clench:

I hate to be all rational and boring, but I think both of you have stated and re-stated your positions sufficiently throughout this discussion. Anyone with the inclination can scan the thread, review the evidence and decide for themselves what is objective and what is not. Is there truly anything new to add to this argument, or is it now simply a case of: "Is not. Is too. Is not."? If your evidence is logical and convincing, is it absolutely necessary to have the final word?

This post represents the opinions of the author, and he doesn't lose a wink of sleep over whether or not you agree with him. :-]


Feb 21, 2007, 12:45 PM

Post #443 of 764 (22887 views)
Re: [jaywalke] Subjective is in the eye of the Objector [In reply to] Can't Post

I second Jaywalker's motion. Think of future applicants who go over this thread! "What! This discussion again?!" Mind you, I do think that the discussion you guys had was to some degree helpful -- despite its painful moments -- and I and many others are thankful for that. You know, discussion on the methodology is helpful. But rehearsing the arguments again will do everyone a disservice: it might incline people to not come back to this thread. And, correct me if I'm wrong, the purpose of both Clench and Umass is to clarify their positions for the sake of future applicants, right?

Clench Million

Feb 22, 2007, 11:46 AM

Post #444 of 764 (22792 views)
Post deleted by motet [In reply to]



Feb 22, 2007, 2:11 PM

Post #445 of 764 (22752 views)
Re: [Clench Million] Subjective is in the eye of the Objector [In reply to] Can't Post

I just hope some of you put as much effort and energy into your writing as you do arguing why your mathematical formula proves that Bowling Green should be ranked ahead of Colorado State, or whatever.

What a disturbing thread.


Mar 23, 2007, 1:36 AM

Post #446 of 764 (22521 views)
Re: [gcsumfa] Subjective is in the eye of the Objector [In reply to] Can't Post

what a load of rubbish. they're all subjective. US News is sorely out of date, but as for Seth's thing being "objective"? what crap. just do your own homework based on what's important to you.


Mar 23, 2007, 11:25 AM

Post #447 of 764 (22441 views)
Re: [onlooker] Subjective is in the eye of the Objector [In reply to] Can't Post

No one said the rankings were "objective." They do, however, use "objective" (i.e., measureable) data points--e.g., where people are applying (and in what numbers), what are schools' acceptance rates, who offers the most money to the highest percentage of students, student-to-faculty ratios--to create unscientific, subjective rankings which are subjective primarily because everyone weights the dozen or more TKS factors differently, and many people also employ odd and likely unreliable non-TKS factors like "what some guy once told me about that program" or "the vibe I get from there" and so on. But it's rubbish to erect the straw man of "objectivity"--i.e., to claim that claim was made--just to knock it down triumphantly. I'm guessing you haven't read the rankings or the introductory essays to the rankings, despite being so opinionated about them. No one, I repeat, no one ever said these rankings were "objective" let alone "objectively correct." They just happen to be the best rankings of their kind available. So get a grip.

Sample quote from just three or four posts above (written by me): "...the LJPW [is not]...scientific...[and is] based on respondents' personal opinions and biases..."

(This post was edited by umass76 on Mar 23, 2007, 11:35 AM)

Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Mar 23, 2007, 5:12 PM

Post #448 of 764 (22353 views)
Re: [onlooker] Subjective is in the eye of the Objector [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
what crap.

The rankings may be biased or objective but one thing is absolutely for sure...we are not going to start another flame over it.



Mar 24, 2007, 8:54 AM

Post #449 of 764 (22264 views)
Re: [umass76] Subjective is in the eye of the Objector [In reply to] Can't Post

OK, my apologies.


Jun 26, 2007, 12:33 AM

Post #450 of 764 (22056 views)
Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Someone just commented on my blog that The Atlantic Monthly/The Atlantic will be releasing MFA rankings in its next (September/October) issue; a similar rumor was being passed around about one of the national academy organizations (can't remember which one, but it's publicly-funded) releasing MFA rankings sometime in the fall. Does anyone know anything about either of these rumors, i.e. can anyone confirm or deny and point me to their source? Thanks in advance.


2007 MFA Rankings: see http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/

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