Coursework covers rhetoric, writing pedagogy, and differential instruction methods. MFA programs also connect students with teaching internships at local community and nonprofit organizations. Students can expect literature classes to encompass both classic and modern works. Independent study allows students to take classes outside the three main genres.
Possible topics include journalism, gender studies, technical writing, and grant writing. In this class, students learn how to effectively interact with works in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Learners also develop the skills to analyze how such fundamental ideas, like plot, character, and point of view, operate in each genre to achieve desired effects. Poetic Forms This class provides students who already write poetry with the knowledge and practice to advance their art.
Unlike the workshop, this craft class emphasizes literary analysis that enables writers to break down a poem into component parts. Topics include meter, rhyme, rhythm, stanza pattern, and lineation. Students also delve into traditional and experimental poetic forms. The Memoir As one of the most popular creative nonfiction forms, the memoir tells the personal story of an individual or a community.
In this course, writers learn the art of memoir through ideas like tone, voice, structure, and subtext. They also develop knowledge of subgenres, including the autobiographical memoir and those that deal with food, travel, family, addiction, and grief. The Short Story This narrative form represents the premier learning tool for MFA fiction students due to its relative brevity and popularity with literary magazines.
Students also learn about short story history by reading the works of famous authors, such as Donald Barthelme, Alice Munro, and Octavia E. Writing Workshop While the structure of the workshop varies by MFA program and individual professors, this course always focuses on providing students with the feedback needed to improve their writing.
Workshops also help students develop skills as editors and book reviewers. In addition to submitting creative work, students need to turn in written analyses of other students' writing. Like other master's programs, creative writing degrees typically take two years, or 36 credits.
Some schools follow a three-year curriculum. A student's enrollment status affects the timeline. Online and low-residency MFA programs provide more flexibility, allowing students to accommodate busy schedules by taking courses part-time.
They may also offer accelerated degree plans that let students finish seminars and workshops in as few as 12 months. Full-residency programs prefer a structured approach, similar to cohort learning, in which all students in the program take the same classes every semester, advancing through their degree work at a communal pace.
Relatedly, MFA candidates who receive fellowships may not take more than the standard course allotment each term due to how university tuition waivers work. Finally, the nature of a student's capstone project also affects their degree timeline. Many writers want their MFA thesis to be publishable manuscript, so they often take additional semesters to polish their work before submission and defense.
However, prices vary with individual schools. MFA programs operate under the jurisdiction of the college of liberal arts or arts and sciences. This means they usually charge rates that match other graduate programs in that area.
The most renowned and competitive creative writing degrees offer every student a full tuition waiver and monthly stipends. Each degree and university are different, but make sure to look at the cost before you enroll. Many MFA programs do have stipends and assistantships where you can teach to get your tuition paid. This is common at smaller schools, not as common percent wise of course at larger schools.
If you are one of the unlucky ones who do not get the university to give an opportunity to earn your way, you are looking at a steep bill for your writing degree. No guarantee MFAs are like any degree you get in the humanities, there is no guarantee.
It might not get you a book deal. It might not get you published. It might not even get you a teaching job. Yes you can do the work, pay the money and spend the time and still not get a job even related to writing.
This happens in every field, but you have to remember the jobs related to writing tend to be few and far between in many parts of the country. Ask yourself the right questions. Many writers do very well with a creative writing degree. Share This. They are more of an artist in residency program, where you have the opportunity to focus on your writing and explore the craft. There are plenty of better, more focused, and less expensive ways to educate yourself on writing.
If you are considering earning a MFA in Creative Writing, you need to ask yourself why and dig deep for the true answer. Do you hope it will help you get a job in academia or publishing? Then you need to look elsewhere. Do you want time to write and to be challenged? Then a MFA might be for you. When I decided to go to graduate school, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Now you do. Be honest with yourself and your goals, so you can choose the path that will best help you Ignite Your Ink.
Call us bores. Not so in an MFA program. Red ink will cover your pages. This is why MFA programs are so expensive. A lot. Once you have narrowed your choices down to a few programs, thoroughly research the faculty and the programs via their websites. Find out what the faculty have been writing and publishing lately. Read a sample. Consider: Is this someone I want to work with? Try to get a fellowship or an assistantship. Failing that, consider strong state programs with lower tuition.
Some will disagree with me on this point, because there are a number of private schools with good programs, a few of which are located in cities with a thriving publishing culture, such as New York and Boston. But if you can avoid it, you don't want to go too deeply in debt for this degree.
I was surprised to learn, during my first residency, that I was a sloppy reader. Then, once my daughter was born, to freelance book publicity while I took a stab at library science and an M. If you want to learn how to be more precise and succinct with your word choice, read poetry.
Remember: You do not have to get an M. Students should look for nonprofit higher education institutions with national or regional accreditation. Writing samples of your own work will be required when applying to an MFA in creative writing programs.
For example, teaching programs usually need to earn the support of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation if they want to uphold state licensure standards.
You might be wondering if there is some middle ground, if you can get some of the benefits of a MFA program without suffering the costs.
It encompasses personal narratives, essays, memoirs, and certain forms of journalism. This is my advice. MFA programs also connect students with teaching internships at local community and nonprofit organizations.
It will also allow you to learn more about yourself as a writer. Once you have narrowed your choices down to a few programs, thoroughly research the faculty and the programs via their websites. Conventional requirements aside, the most important part of an MFA candidate's application is their writing sample. I do think there's room for improvement, that's what my book is about, but I also think that we're starting to see programs evolve beyond a curriculum that revolves completely around the workshop. Students should look for nonprofit higher education institutions with national or regional accreditation. Here's what I tell my students: An MFA program can: Give you time and support to focus on your craft and thus accelerate your development as a writer.
Creative writing degrees stand out because they do not subscribe to formal programmatic accreditation.
We are talking studio creative writing programs. It will change your writing, and it may not tailor changes to the genre you love. They also negotiate marketing contracts, maintain budgets, and train employees. Oh yes, did I mention reading? Composing them has the magical feel of working with a medium that belongs to me. Should You?