George Mason University

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MFA Program

Program Established: 
1980
Location: 
Fairfax, VA
Genre: 
Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction
Residency: 
Full
Duration: 
3 Years
Incoming Class Size: 
24-28
Application Deadline: 
January 15, 2020
Application Fee: 
$75
Contact E-mail: 
Core Faculty Includes: 

Poetry: Jennifer Atkinson, Sally Keith, Eric Pankey, Peter Streckfus
Fiction: Courtney Brkic, Stephen Goodwin, Tania James, Helon Habila Ngalabak, Susan Richards Shreve
Nonfiction: Timothy Denevi, Kyoko Mori

Funding/Employment Opportunities: 

The program offers partial funding. The program fully funds 70 percent of its students with teaching assistantships that feature two pedagogical courses plus experience in composition, literature, and creative writing instruction. The program also offers limited professional assistantships that support the development of students’ literary citizenship and publishing practice. Most positions offer stipends, full tuition waiver, and paid student health insurance. Additional funds may be available for conducting research abroad or attending writers’ conferences and retreats.

Priority application deadline: January 15
Funding deadline: February 15
Final deadline: April 1

Affiliated Publications/Publishers: 

Phoebe; So to Speak, Stillhouse PressPoetry Daily

Stillhouse is a student-run small press that allows students to gain experience throughout the realm of book publishing, from manuscript selection to production to marketing. Phoebe and So to Speak are student-edited journals that allow students to experiment with new forms of publishing while developing their aesthetic awareness and developing an editor's eye. Launched in 1997, Poetry Daily moved to Mason in 2019 and guides students in developing their curatorial skills, designing and maintaining a robust website, and managing the work of a daily online poetry journal.

Other Features: 

The program’s mission is to produce better writers with mastery of literary art and smarter authors with unique insight to the world of publishing. Therefore, the program has developed several ways to engage in literary citizenship and publishing practice. It hosts Fall for the Book, an annual festival that over twenty years has become one of the country’s premier literary events, and New Leaves, a weeklong series of literary events each spring.

The program also houses the Cheuse Center for International Writers, named after the late Alan Cheuse, a longtime faculty member and acclaimed writer. The center sends MFA students abroad to research and study, and also brings international writers to the campus to study and collaborate with students.

The program’s Visiting Writers Series brings twelve writers to campus every year (six each semester) for intense classroom experiences capped at ten students, readings that are open to the public and that offer networking opportunities for MFA students. Taken together, Stillhouse Press, Poetry Daily, Phoebe, and So To Speak form a major center of contemporary writing and literature.