»

Subscribe | Give a Gift Subscription

Log In or Register | Help | Contact Us | Donate

Advanced Search

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs
Choosing an MFA Program (2008)
Edit your profilePrivate messages Search postsWho's online?
You are not signed in. Click here to sign in.
If you are not a member, Register here!
135893 registered users
First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... 19 Next page Last page  View All


jrumford


Jun 19, 2007, 1:33 PM

Post #51 of 454 (3309 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Clench Million] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Texas State was chosen by Poets & Writers or AWP as one of the top ten MFA programs last year. It is an MFA-only program, whereas University of Houston has an MFA and a PhD in creative writing.

But I didn't mean to imply anything bad about the writing program at UT Austin. I was just being honest in that I didn't have anything to say about it - except what you have now said. But you have to admit - where can you find a prettier campus than Texas State - where the river really does run through it.

Jennifer


__________



Jun 19, 2007, 2:33 PM

Post #52 of 454 (3302 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [jrumford] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Hey there. I've actually attended two of these three schools...

Word on the street is, if you subtract funding from the equation, UT is actually dead last, no question. Its rank is based solely on the huge wad of dough you get to pull from Michener's dead, dead pockets. Houston's good, but mucking things up are the PhD thing, the competetive funding, those two-at-a-time classes you have to teach, and the worst possible location ever. And Texas State -- did the program even exist in '97? I'm not sure, but that program's come a long way in a short time and is well-regarded.


six five four three two one 0 ->


jrumford


Jun 19, 2007, 3:41 PM

Post #53 of 454 (3292 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [jlgwriter] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I went to Goddard College in Vermont - which is one of the earliest low-res programs and spawned several others, including Warren Wilson. Goddard also has a campus in Port Townsend, Washington.

I found it to be a great program. I was told to look for programs who have writers I admire, but I learned instantly that someone can be a writer I admire and not be a good writing teacher. I avoided a few advisors, just like I would have at a regular program (you can smell out the advisors who don't suit you), and I focused on other advisors. Overall, I had some very good advisors at Goddard and I learned more than I ever expected.

For me, the low-res programs have some great things. 1. I didn't have to abandon my family or my job. 2. I learned to write as part of my life (in the early morning, late at night, or waiting at doctor's offices - which is how I still have to do it, since I'm not on easy street from writing yet. It required a ton of work, turning in 20 pages of manuscript plus critical writing and reading every three weeks. I had no idea if I could do it before I started, but I did, and I'm very proud of the work I produced.

Two of my friends have already sold their thesis manuscripts to publishing houses, and probably more have - this is just two in my immediate circle. Another of my friends got her degree in playwriting and after graduation she produced her own play in NYC.

So I think the low-res programs are wonderful, and I suggest you look for a program that has components you are interested in. Does it require a teaching semester? Does it have a literary journal you can work on? Does it require critical writing, as well as creative writing? Is there a broad spectrum of genres - because a fiction writer can learn at a poetry class and a creative nonfiction writer can learn at a dramatic writing class, etc.

Another great thing about the low-res programs is that you develop a circle of writing friends that you maintain throughout the semester via email - so you have these people as resources for crits, encouragement, and advisr after you graduate, too.

Then look for a place you want to spend time in - these programs are scattered all over the country these days. I nearly didn't go to Vermont because I live in Texas and I knew I didn't have the kind of clothes that one needs for January in Vermont! Thank goodness for Eddie Bauer online!

Good luck - I'm sure wherever you go, your work will blossom.

Jennifer


Zash
Zachary Ash

Jun 19, 2007, 9:34 PM

Post #54 of 454 (3264 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Clench Million] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I'm a bit confused by the program(s) at UT-Austin. Their website states they offer two separate, distinct graduate writing degrees: an MA and an MFA. Is the high acclaim strictly for the Michener-associated MFA? If so, what about the MA in creative writing offered by UT's English dept? Is this a highly regarded program? Looking at the rankings for MFAs, I see UT way up there, but do these rankings refer only to the Michener program? Help! Even my questions are confusing.


__________



Jun 20, 2007, 10:06 AM

Post #55 of 454 (3233 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Zash] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
what about the MA in creative writing offered by UT's English dept? Is this a highly regarded program?...do these rankings refer only to the Michener program?



Sort of -- those rankings only refer to the MFA. But on the other hand, those rankings only rank MFA's, not MA's.

The masters program is great, it's hard to get into, but it's a masters. For this reason it's regarded as -- a masters.

And who's doing the regarding in your scenario? Hiring committees? Small literary journals? Really, I think the usual MA vs. MFA argument would apply.


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Jun 20, 2007, 10:09 AM)


hamlet3145


Jun 20, 2007, 6:19 PM

Post #56 of 454 (3203 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Actually . . . if you look at the '97 rankings (wow, 10 years old now), some of those programs are M.A.s. Iowa State for example. Although, now, Iowa State has morphed into an M.F.A. in Enviromental Writing. I got my M.A. in English/Creative Writing there before heading to Montana.


Zash
Zachary Ash

Jun 20, 2007, 8:03 PM

Post #57 of 454 (3190 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Hamlet3145] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

UC Davis has an MA in English/Creative Writing that ranks fairly high (31) on the Kealey Scale. The program looks similar to most MFA programs, although one has to take graduate lit seminars. And who's doing the regarding? I am.


__________



Jun 21, 2007, 9:59 AM

Post #58 of 454 (3150 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Zash] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

It's true Kealey lists a few MA programs; however, from what I remember, those were all programs that didn't also offer an MFA...

My feeling is that you (we) should just apply to the programs that would benefit our writing, whether that means big money or big teachers. The career angle is much more shady. Theoretically you can teach with an MFA, but not an MA. And unless we're talking about Iowa, no one's going to jump up and down and say, "Ooh!" when they read either on your job application or query letter. (This I base on the opinion of my teacher, UT MFA). You gotta have a book, "significant" journal pubs, know someone, or some combination of the three.

With UT, it looks like it all hinges on the money, if you plan to go into the creative writing biz. Now how big of a stipend, if any, do they give you for the MA? Certainly not $25K. (I would check their web site, but it intimidates me!)


six five four three two one 0 ->


Clench Million
Charles

Jun 21, 2007, 11:07 AM

Post #59 of 454 (3138 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

People considering MA programs should just keep in mind that MAs are supposed to be more academic than craft oriented. Which means, probably much of your time will be spent writing about how birds are used a symbol of menstruation in Shakespeare's sexist Richard III or how Othello is a symbol of bourgeoisie complacency and Iago is the lumpen proletariat... or whatever.

Personally, I don't quite understand the appeal of an MA. You are getting it in creative writing, yet unlike an MFA your time isn't totally devoted to craft and writing, and it doesn't seem like the academic side would really help you. An MFA is a somewhat terminal degree, but an MA isn't at all. Maybe a creative writing MA would just be a more fun step on the way to an English PhD?

But the main thing is to keep in mind that MA has a large focus on the academic side of writing and english that MFAs do not, so factor that in when deciding where to apply.


__________



Jun 21, 2007, 11:49 AM

Post #60 of 454 (3130 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Clench Million] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

An MA benefitted a couple of my peers in various ways. One simply gets more dough at his teaching gig, plus the option to count the work towards a PhD. In the other, more interesting case, this guy I know was ready to pursue an MFA, but schools obviously disagreed -- he was summarily rejected. So he got his heartbroken self an MA, and with it, a little more practice. This year both Arizona and Texas State offered him big scholarship money.

Of course, the majority of MA's I know just sit around cursing their degree. Occasionally they'll pretend to shoot lightning from their hands and shout, "I am master...MASTER OF THE ARTS!"


six five four three two one 0 ->


Dime49


Jun 22, 2007, 3:24 PM

Post #61 of 454 (3060 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

As someone who just completed an MA (and is about to start an MFA), I have to say I think the MA is quite a nifty degree. The important thing to note of course is that an MA is not a terminal degree (though people do go on to teach with MAs, either for Jr. College or High School...), so it's not really an MFA substitute. But from a creative writing standpoint the advantage of an MA is that it can be highly flexible for you - it pairs quite nicely with the MFA and of course is a natural lead into a PHD. It can help with teaching gigs later on (if that's your interest) or just give you more time to develop creatively.

As for the balance between literature and craft, it's really not that different from many MFA programs that require a similar 50/50 split, or at least something close to that. Though obviously the MFA places greater emphasis (and intensity) on the creative part of the equation.


Clench Million
Charles

Jun 22, 2007, 4:23 PM

Post #62 of 454 (3054 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Dime49] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I always hear the difference described as craft versus academics, not literature versus craft. Of the MFA programs I'm familiar with, none of them require much (if any) academic studying of literature. We read plenty of books in my program, but they are all studied from a craft angle, not an academic one. I think there is really a huge difference between those two approaches.


hamlet3145


Jun 23, 2007, 12:37 AM

Post #63 of 454 (3015 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Clench Million] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I only had to take two "academic" lit classes for my M.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. The rest of the credits were divided among workshop, special topics and thesis credits. A quick google of Austin's M.A. in C.W. reveals the following requirements:

"Course requirements for M.A. in Creative Writing:
9 hours E385N or E386L or WRT380 or E391L (creative writing workshops or conference courses)
3 hours E380F (Literature for Writers, may be repeated for credit when topics vary)
12 additional hours of English Department or WRT courses (literature or creative writing), three of which may be taken at the upper-division undergraduate level
6 hours of courses outside of both the English Department and the Michener Center for Writers
3 hours E398R (Master's Report) "


Unless I'm reading this wrongly, only one lit class is actually required and it's something called "Literature for Writers." I'd strongly suspect that would be craft based. Regardless, I never considered that I would end my graduate education with the M.A. I took it as two well funded years to work on my writing. One very positive note resulting from my M.A. experience is that I'm sure it helped pave the way for my acceptance to Montana. I was much more confident and had an entire thesis of poems to pick from for my application portfolio.





gcsumfa


Jul 1, 2007, 4:03 PM

Post #64 of 454 (2849 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Hamlet3145] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Most MA/CW programs are just like MFA programs. I have an MA and an MFA. My MA was 6 hours of lit, 9 hours of workshops, 3 hours of a craft seminar, and 6 hours of teaching comp and bib & methods. I also served as an editor of a literary journal published out of the department.

The major difference between both degrees is usually the length of the thesis.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Jul 2, 2007, 10:16 AM

Post #65 of 454 (2812 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [als02] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Sounds like you have done a lot of good research. I wish I had actually applied to more programs myself but when I applied I was working full-time and I had to do low-res. Now that I have quit my job I have been tempted to consider transfering to another program and look into funding, but I really like my program (low-res at Queens).

I always try to mention UNC-Greensboro as a great program because I did my undergrad there. You'd have some excellent faculty and it is a nice mid-sized town. There is also UNC-Wilmington which I don't know as much about and NC State that is now an MFA that you may want to take a peek at. I don't know as much about them but NC State is very selective and UNC-Wilmington is three years I believe.

I'm also a poet so not sure what your concentration will be, but best of luck to you. This will be a stressful and exciting year :)

--Jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


vthach13


Jul 2, 2007, 8:41 PM

Post #66 of 454 (2763 views)
Shortcut
     Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

How important, comparitively, is the GRE? Is there a score that I should aim for? Is it necessary, when not asked for it?


bighark


Jul 2, 2007, 9:10 PM

Post #67 of 454 (2758 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [vthach13] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Vthach,

The GRE is not important. I would rate it up there with the application fee in terms of how much consideration it receives from admission committee members.

If a program requires the GRE (many MFA programs don't), it's because its graduate school requires the test for all graduate school applications. In other words, it's technicality--nobody has ever been admitted to an MFA program on the strength of their GRE scores.

If a school doesn't require the GRE, don't send your scores. Even if they're awesome GRE scores, they wont' be considered, so save yourself $15 in score report fees.


vthach13


Jul 2, 2007, 9:38 PM

Post #68 of 454 (2755 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I read an article that states:

But (and this is a big but) many programs have a two-tiered screening process. The folks in the MFA department are the ones who make the ultimate decision. But first you have to be accepted by the graduate school in question. Take UNCG, my alma mater, for example. The graduate school requires a 3.0 GPA in an applicant's major. So, even if you write like Faulkner, you could still get dinged.

In general, grades and GRE scores are important only if they're exceptionally low, in which case the graduate school might balk, or exceptionally high, in which case the MFA department might make a run at a university-wide fellowship to pay a student's tuition.

This seems reasonable, but is the process still similar?


bighark


Jul 2, 2007, 10:47 PM

Post #69 of 454 (2740 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [vthach13] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

If you are asking if it's possible to get your application tossed out on account of a really crummy GRE score, then yes, it's possible.

It's not likely, but it is possible.

The reason why this is not likely is because any reasonably literate college graduate can get a perfectly acceptable GRE score simply by showing up sober on test day.

As you mention in your quote, the GRE score only matters if it's exceptionally low.

Don't sweat this test. A modest amount of preparation and a good night's sleep is all you need. Focus the rest of your efforts on the manuscript. '

Good luck.


HopperFu


Jul 3, 2007, 7:52 AM

Post #70 of 454 (2707 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Bighark is right about this.
I'd suggest buying one of those Princeton or Kaplan review books for the GRE and studying maybe five to ten hours total. Obviously, the higher you score the better (mostly so you can tell your parents you were in the 98th percentile), but mostly you just need to do better than a rock.
Seriously, five or ten hours with one of those books will be all you need (most likely - I obviously don't know you). They have some good suggestions and tips on strategies that can improve your grade significantly.


rpc
ryan call

Jul 3, 2007, 10:22 AM

Post #71 of 454 (2694 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [HopperFu] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

i accidentally unplugged the computer during
my gre exam

i leaned back to stretch my legs,
and plunk,
out went the computer cord

the attendant figured out a way to get
back all of my answers, except for the essay
which i had to start over

i laugh now because i am a moron

(edited to say that i am sorry that this post is helpful to no people on the topic, except to point out that it can't get much worse in my humble opinion and so do not be worried about this gre forthcoming)


<HTMLGIANT>

(This post was
edited by rpc on Jul 3, 2007, 10:24 AM)


Dewey

e-mail user

Jul 19, 2007, 12:45 PM

Post #72 of 454 (2529 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Does anyone have any information on programs that focus on the novel? The MFA is something I'd like to pursue, but I'm really not so much into writing short stories anymore. My last couple of projects have been novels and that's how I'd like to keep it. So, is anyone aware of or attending a school that encourages novel workshopping?
Thanks.


chitown


Jul 19, 2007, 12:49 PM

Post #73 of 454 (2526 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Dewey] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Columbia College Chicago offers workshops in Novel Writing.


Also, has anyone here had experience with Arkansas's program? I like that they don't charge an application fee until you are accepted. I did a board search but have only found a smattering of info.


Clench Million
Charles

Jul 19, 2007, 12:56 PM

Post #74 of 454 (2523 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Dewey] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Lots of people here at Columbia University workshop novels. I'm planning to do so myself next semester. There are also classes taught on novel writing.

and FWIW The Atlantic article stated that the school of the arts got 1 million dollars in financial aid money, so the incoming 2008 class should have a much better funding situation.


hamlet3145


Jul 19, 2007, 1:24 PM

Post #75 of 454 (2517 views)
Shortcut
     Re: [Dewey] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Kevin Canty seems to teach a novel workshop about every other year at Montana.

First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... 19 Next page Last page  View All

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs

 


P&W Newsletters

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter to stay informed of the latest news, events and more.

Click to Sign Up

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2011. All Rights Reserved