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lovemardou


Jul 30, 2008, 5:51 PM

Post #101 of 1018 (14975 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

poetry!


umass76


Jul 30, 2008, 6:05 PM

Post #102 of 1018 (14972 views)
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     Re: [lovemardou] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Houston:

* Top 20 overall (somewhere #16 to #19)
* Top 10 poetry (faculty Top 5)
* Top 30 fiction
* Top 25 funding (a 75%+ funded program [i.e. 75% receive full/near-full funding])
* "topping-off" fellowships available
* Tier 2 in comprehensive rankings
* very low cost of living (for a city) [Houston is a former pit now making a slow resurgence (think Cleveland 10 to 15 years ago)]
* Also hosts Top 5 Creative Writing PhD. program (Top 2 poetry)
* 10 poets/10 fiction-writers admitted per year (program is considered mid-size)
* Post-graduate publishing record is strong (Top 10 to Top 15)
* Post-graduate placement in academia is not as strong (approx. Top 50)

The one danger: your professors are most likely working off the 1996 USNWR rankings, which had Houston as a Top 5 program--in other words they're paying you a very high compliment indeed, but they also may not be as informed about which schools you can/should target as current conventional wisdom would have it (i.e., I do think many very well-intentioned advisers are still working off the mid-1990s MFA landscape). At this point it isn't a Top 10 program overall, but it's a very, very strong program, and seems likely to hold in the Top 25 for another decade at a minimum. In poetry it should definitely be on anyone's application list, assuming you don't mind living in Texas.

Be well,
Seth


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jul 30, 2008, 6:07 PM)


lovemardou


Jul 30, 2008, 6:11 PM

Post #103 of 1018 (14965 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

thanks so much for all your information! it's really helpful.

i think it was recommended to me largely because of the importance the program seems to place on literary studies (i looked for a long time at getting a critical phd) and academic rigor. while i don't mind the idea of doing a studio mfa, i'd love a program that places some emphasis on critical work while still focusing largely on the writing. an ma in creative writing doesn't really appeal to me -- i'm looking for a terminal degree, among other reasons -- and so houston was suggested to me as a next-best option. i just need to get over the location!


umass76


Jul 30, 2008, 6:26 PM

Post #104 of 1018 (14961 views)
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     Re: [lovemardou] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

LM,

It's true that every program has a different emphasis (or, really, balance) in terms of a "studio" versus "academic" atmosphere, which is usually best and most easily revealed by the program's course requirements for graduation. I do think, at a minimum, an MFA should require one workshop per semester; beyond that, I think the best programs allow the student near-complete flexibility in which electives can be taken, so a student can craft the sort of program they want. Two additional things I'll say: one, look at Cornell and Brown, they do seem to have an emphasis on theory (of course, they're also incredibly tough admits); second, keep in mind that your MFA professors will not be "academics," and won't have PhD. degrees, generally speaking. They're working poets, and some of them--to put it bluntly--don't like academics. Which means, if an academic environment is specifically important to you, and you don't want to go anywhere hostile to an academic/theory-oriented approach, I can't stress enough that you need to find a program where the professors (at least one or two) have PhD. degrees, and therefore won't be adverse to that sort of approach to writing. Otherwise, it's a crap-shoot as to your professors' temperaments (with the one caveat that more experimental poets, PhD. or no, tend by nature to be more open to theory and highly-intellectualized analyses of verse, so definitely read the work of prospective professors to gain some insight into their thinking). Be well,

Seth

MFA Rankings and Acceptance Rates at: http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jul 30, 2008, 6:27 PM)


Raysen


Jul 30, 2008, 7:13 PM

Post #105 of 1018 (14943 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Seth,

From your own experience and knowledge and whatever inside info you may have, could you make a list of schools that are more "academic" and schools that are more "studio"? You don't need to do any research for this. Just off the top of your head based on what you know about the programs and their faculty. Obviously, I will do my own research but your list would be helpful and, more importantly, interesting. Of course, just because you label one school as "academic" doesn't necessarily mean ALL the faculty members are "academic," and vice versa for "studio."

Thanks,
Raysen


NickMcRae
Nick McRae

e-mail user

Jul 31, 2008, 12:31 PM

Post #106 of 1018 (14879 views)
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     Re: [lovemardou] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Bri,

One of my professors at UWG is a Houston alumnus, and according to him, assuming not too much has changed, the Houston program is a real kick in the ass in terms of literary study. But then you already knew that.

Have you been to Houston? I have to say that it is a sprawling industrial monster. It kinda gave me the heeby-jeebies. Though I'm sure it has its charms once you get to know the place. I'll probably be applying too, anyway. If this list will ever stop mutating and just die already.

NM


"You got a song, man, sing it. / You got a bell, man, ring it." - Robert Creeley

Nick McRae
nmcrae1@gmail.com
http://nickmcrae.com/


spamela


Jul 31, 2008, 1:16 PM

Post #107 of 1018 (14864 views)
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     Re: [lovemardou] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

It might be helpful to apply to MFA programs that also offer Creative Writing PhDs. (Houston is one; USC, Utah, FSU, Denver, UNLV, etc.) Usually in these programs, the PhD and MFA workshops are combined and you're guaranteed to have peers and professors with academic/scholarly interests and talents. You could cross list schools with PhD programs and schools that provide full funding and have a pretty good list of options.


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Jul 31, 2008, 3:49 PM

Post #108 of 1018 (14836 views)
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     Re: [spamela] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I don't think Denver has both an MFA and a PhD in Creative Writing, just the PhD. Though it should be noted that Denver is one of the programs that has offered the PhD for the longest. Also, if my memory from the application process serves me correctly, the programs at UNLV and Denver are both a bit experiemental.

Another possibility would be a program that offers an MA in creative writing on a track to a PhD...some programs that come to mind are Missouri and Cincinnati. Good luck!


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


gcsumfa


Aug 1, 2008, 2:01 AM

Post #109 of 1018 (14768 views)
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     Re: [HollinsMFAer] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Western Michigan also offers the MFA and the PhD.


SevenFreckles


Aug 1, 2008, 10:53 AM

Post #110 of 1018 (14731 views)
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     Mystery programs? [In reply to]  

Iím trying to trim down my ridiculous list. So far Iíve actually added more schools to it than Iíve taken away. There are a few programs that Iím looking at that I havenít been able to find a ton of information on. Obviously, Iíve looked at their websites and such, but Iím trying to get what the general feel of the program is. So I figured Iíd just throw some of them out there and see if anyone has any insight. Thanks in advance!


Western Washington U. (MA in creative writing)
Bowling Green
University of Georgia
SUNY Brockport (MA in creative writing)

In particular the program at UGA perplexes me. Their website seems to be one of the least helpful that Iíve looked at. Thanks again. Oh, and Iím applying for poetry.


NickMcRae
Nick McRae

e-mail user

Aug 4, 2008, 8:59 PM

Post #111 of 1018 (14628 views)
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     UGA MFA? [In reply to]  

I had no idea (until your post inspired me to do some research) that UGA even had an MFA now. Can anybody offer any insight as to what kinda of funding is available there? The website is, as was noted above, not very helpful.

Thanks,
NM


"You got a song, man, sing it. / You got a bell, man, ring it." - Robert Creeley

Nick McRae
nmcrae1@gmail.com
http://nickmcrae.com/


Raysen


Aug 7, 2008, 1:33 PM

Post #112 of 1018 (14513 views)
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     Other MFA programs [In reply to]  

Does anyone have information on any of the following schools beyond what is stated in their respective websites:

Purdue
Illinois
New Mexico

No one seems to talk about these schools much (unless, of course, I missed the discussion somewhere).

Thanks!


Zash
Zachary Ash

Aug 7, 2008, 6:09 PM

Post #113 of 1018 (14469 views)
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     Re: [Raysen] Other MFA programs [In reply to]  

I've heard great things about Purdue. It is one of the fast up-and-comers.


Raysen


Aug 13, 2008, 2:56 PM

Post #114 of 1018 (14345 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
FWIW, I think Columbia is indisputably a first-tier program, if you can afford it.

That may not be the case three years from now (for reasons of cohort), but it is at the moment.

S.


Seth, could you explain why you said Columbia may no longer be a top-tier program in three years?

Thanks.


umass76


Aug 13, 2008, 4:17 PM

Post #115 of 1018 (14321 views)
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     Re: [Raysen] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Hi Raysen,

If you look back at the threads from last year, you'll see a full discussion of this issue--but I don't necessarily want to open that can of worms again. As I said in my post above, I think it's a question of cohort (i.e., as a function of decreasing or stagnating selectivity, yield, and applicant pool size). Mind you, many others here and elsewhere don't agree with me, so this is merely one man's opinion of moonlight.

I'd also note--separate from the Columbia issue--that the First Tier of programs (which includes twelve schools) is so stunning at this point (across-the-board: reputation, funding, faculty, et. al.) that even schools which slip into the mid-second or high-third tier must be considered top-notch U.S. MFA programs. Keeping company with the likes of Johns Hopkins, University of Houston, Washington University at St. Louis, University of Washington, University or Oregon, University of Minnesota, and others of that ilk is absolutely nothing whatsoever to sneeze at.

Best,

Seth


(This post was edited by umass76 on Aug 13, 2008, 4:18 PM)


Raysen


Aug 13, 2008, 4:33 PM

Post #116 of 1018 (14313 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Hi Raysen,

If you look back at the threads from last year, you'll see a full discussion of this issue--but I don't necessarily want to open that can of worms again. As I said in my post above, I think it's a question of cohort (i.e., as a function of decreasing or stagnating selectivity, yield, and applicant pool size). Mind you, many others here and elsewhere don't agree with me, so this is merely one man's opinion of moonlight.

I'd also note--separate from the Columbia issue--that the First Tier of programs (which includes twelve schools) is so stunning at this point (across-the-board: reputation, funding, faculty, et. al.) that even schools which slip into the mid-second or high-third tier must be considered top-notch U.S. MFA programs. Keeping company with the likes of Johns Hopkins, University of Houston, Washington University at St. Louis, University of Washington, University or Oregon, University of Minnesota, and others of that ilk is absolutely nothing whatsoever to sneeze at.

Best,

Seth


Thanks Seth! I thought that's what you meant.

I'm curious about all the first tier, second tier, and third tier schools (updated for 2009). I thought I read somewhere that a list was coming out in Tom Kealey's second edition. Also, the Atlantic Monthly may also release a list?

My stab at such a list based on funding, faculty, selectivity, etc:

First tier:
Iowa
Cornell
Michigan
Texas
UC Irvine
Indiana
Brown
Virginia
Columbia
Johns Hopkins
UMass (Amherst)
Wisconsin

Second tier:
Oregon
Washington U (St. Louis)
U of Washington (Seattle)
Houston
Notre Dame
Florida State
Purdue
Colorado State
Montana
Arizona
Minnesota
Ohio State

Others of note:
Illinois
New Mexico State
UNC-Greensboro
UNC-Wilmington
NYU
Penn State
Vanderbilt
Florida
Arizona State


(This post was edited by Raysen on Aug 13, 2008, 4:35 PM)


boberaden


Aug 13, 2008, 9:08 PM

Post #117 of 1018 (14270 views)
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     Certain schools to choose for a teaching career? [In reply to]  

Hello,

I'm narrowing my list and preparing to apply to programs this winter. As well as writing, I wish to pursue teaching as a career. Are there certain schools or types of schools which I should consider as an aspiring teacher? Will having an undergraduate minor in education help at all to be considered for teaching assistantships? Should I highlight this aspiration in my peronal statements?

Thanks,
B Raden


(This post was edited by boberaden on Aug 13, 2008, 9:10 PM)


ejdifili
Emily

Aug 13, 2008, 9:54 PM

Post #118 of 1018 (14260 views)
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     Re: [boberaden] Certain schools to choose for a teaching career? [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Will having an undergraduate minor in education help at all to be considered for teaching assistantships?


Well... possibly, but I doubt it. I am a certified educator in the state of Missouri and have taught high school for several years, but as I understand, K-12 teaching and college-level teaching are perceived as two different animals.

For example, when I finished my MA in Spanish, my grad school pedagogy classes and college-level teaching experience meant basically nothing as I attemped to land a high school teaching position. In the K-12 world, only education coursework and teacher certification means anything. Likewise, in academia, I don't think a background in elementary or secondary education is seen as that meaningful. Unfortunately, I think a lot of academics see education as an inferior field, assuming that prospective K-12 teachers spend all their time coloring and cutting alphabet letters from construction paper.

Personally, I feel confident that my education courses will serve me well as a college-level instructor, whether or not academics recognize it. I was not awarded a TAship by the Creative Writing dept at the university where I'm starting my MFA this year, but I did land a position as an adjunct instructor of Spanish (thanks to my MA). I also got a gig as a tutor at the Writing Center, and my education background probably was useful for that.


NickMcRae
Nick McRae

e-mail user

Aug 24, 2008, 5:35 PM

Post #119 of 1018 (14128 views)
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     Re: [Raysen] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

So I know I already asked this earlier in the thread, but I figured I'd give it another shot now that this thread has died down a bit.

Can anyone offer any insight at all into UGA's MFA program? I am particularly interested in terms of funding. The program structure looks fine, the faculty is good, and I love Athens as a city, but, as has been stated before, their website is incredibly vague where funding is concerned.

Anything? Anyone?

NM


"You got a song, man, sing it. / You got a bell, man, ring it." - Robert Creeley

Nick McRae
nmcrae1@gmail.com
http://nickmcrae.com/


flobelle


Aug 26, 2008, 6:04 AM

Post #120 of 1018 (14014 views)
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     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

How do we decide how competitive we are as applicants? I'm curious because it seems the only programs I'm interested in are very competitive, and I'm a little afraid. I'm applying in fiction mostly.

Looking at:

Michener
Michigan
Iowa (fiction and possibly nonfiction)
Irvine (possibly)
Virginia

and the Stegner.


ejdifili
Emily

Aug 26, 2008, 10:19 AM

Post #121 of 1018 (13990 views)
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     Re: [flobelle] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
How do we decide how competitive we are as applicants? I'm curious because it seems the only programs I'm interested in are very competitive, and I'm a little afraid. I'm applying in fiction mostly.

There's absolutely no way you know how competitive you are. If you've published short stories in prestigious magazines, or if you have a published novel, that's probably a good sign, but not definitive. If you really want to begin an MFA program next fall, I'd suggest applying to some less competitive schools as well. Nonetheless, you don't want to "pad" your list with programs you wouldn't really want to attend. With your list, though, you just have to recognize the fact that you may end up applying multiple years in a row before you get accepted at one of the schools you want, if you do get in at all.


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Aug 26, 2008, 10:47 AM

Post #122 of 1018 (13977 views)
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     Re: [flobelle] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I agree with Emily. There's no reason to pad your list with schools you wouldn't be interested in, but as Seth's new rankings indicate, there are so many quality programs out there right now, that it would be very risky to apply to only those schools.

And as far as the Stegner goes, this is something most people apply to after they've finished their MFA or PhD, so not only would you be competing with the same applicant pool as you would at the other top schools, but you'd be competing with the graduates of these schools...I think the Stegner recieved (last year) something like 1300 applications for 5 spots...and you have to consider at least 100 of these apps are coming from recent graduates of Michigan, UVA, Iowa, Michener, etc...

Just something to think about...


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


flobelle


Aug 26, 2008, 11:13 AM

Post #123 of 1018 (13969 views)
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     Re: [ejdifili] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I don't want to go to a less competitive school. If I don't get in, then I don't get in.


flobelle


Aug 26, 2008, 11:17 AM

Post #124 of 1018 (13967 views)
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     Re: [HollinsMFAer] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

My professors/advisors told me to consider the Stegner in lieu of an MFA program due to my experience as an undergrad. (I took classes in an MFA program). It's 1400 applicants for ten spots, I think, five in fiction and five in poetry, although the fiction applicant pool is larger than poetry, so I don't know the actual breakdown. I think it's something like fewer than 500 poetry applicants and the rest fiction.


MattElz
Matt Elzweig
e-mail user

Aug 26, 2008, 1:59 PM

Post #125 of 1018 (13924 views)
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     Nonfiction MFA (not memoir) -- CUNY? [In reply to]  

I am seriously considering a nonfiction MFA at one of the CUNYs.

Here's my criteria:

-classes available at night/weekends (I work f/t and can't afford to stop)

-my interest is long-form, narrative book-writing (as opposed to memoir)

Please let me know anything you know about these programs and/or how they compare. Thanks.

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