Jul 6, 2011, 4:48 PM
Post #66 of 67
The one-year aspect was the biggest drawback for me too. But, at least in my program, no one finished in just the two semesters alone. About half my class finished in September, I finished in January, and a couple people finished this past May. I took just the two workshops in the fall and the spring and saved the electives for afterward. That seems like a pretty popular choice. I also worked during the program, so there was no way I could take on more than that (playwriting only gets one TA-ship... poets and fiction writers are much more likely to be offered one). The problem is that if you take one or two classes, BU considers you part-time and charges you per credit. If you take more than two, they consider you full-time and charge you for a full courseload (four classes) even if you only take three. Which is ridiculous. The only way you can get around that is usually they allow TA's to take three classes in the spring without extra charge if one of them is the translation seminar (which I've heard wonderful things about, by the way). I was taking a part-time courseload but the facutly signed a form that certified me as full-time, which helps with loan deferrals and things like that. So it helps that you don't need to finish all eight courses by May, but it is also kind of sad when May rolls around and you know there's no more workshops in the summer or next fall. It goes by so fast. My class got really close though, and we formed our own writing group after graduation and meet in the Boston Playwrights' Theatre like before and basically hold class once a month without the professors... it's pretty cool.
As far as summer courses are concerned, they are close to half the price of the regular classes. It's a great way to save money. The only thing is that the offerings can be pretty slim. In my Summer 1, only three courses were available to MFA students, two lit classes and one dramatic lit class at the School of Theater. And two of the classes overlapped each other. Summer 2 had only one course available, and it was on Linguistics in Literature. I had to take that one because I needed to save money, but I would've much preferred to wait and take two courses in the fall if money were less of a concern. As it was, I had gone in with one grad lit course I took the year before BU at UMass, then I did the two workshops in the fall and two in the spring, one elective in Summer 1, another in Summer 2, and one more in the fall. The most common financial aid package appears to be half tuition and a (tiny!!!) stipend, so I only had to pay full price for one course. Overall it wasn't bad financially, and if you were a TA your stipend would be considerably more than the non-TA stipend. Plus poets and fiction writers have more prizes/scholarships available to apply for.
Sorry for writing such a long reply... hopefully this helps! I've heard that Robert Pinsky is great. :) Definitely let me know if you have any other questions.