27 January 2009

Researching MFA Programs in Creative Writing

I did go to an art gallery/market last Saturday, but it was so small (about one-tenth the size I was expecting), there’s not much to say about it. Three tables outside and about fifteen square feet of gallery space inside... *yawn*

Luckily, I did have some fun last week, researching Master’s programs in creative writing. My undergrad program (BA in English) was focused on both creative and technical writing, and I still love writing more than any other art or occupation. It's what I've been doing the past ten years (marcom), and it happens to be what I do best.

But enough about me. Let me share with you my top picks so far. Most are MFA (Master of Fine Arts) programs, and two are low-residency programs. I’ll list the low-res programs first, followed by the MA/MFA programs in alphabetical order, since it’s too soon to rank them.

Antioch University, Los Angeles, CA
MFA in Creative Writing (low-residency)
According to their website, this is the “world’s only MFA program specifically devoted to literature and the pursuit of social justice.”

Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR (near Portland)
MFA in Writing (low-residency)
This program “celebrates writing as an art that has the potential to make a difference in the world.” I’m seeing a bit of a theme here, but I like it.

Boston University, Boston, MA
MFA in Creative Writing
From what I’ve read about this program’s director, I’m in awe of the guy. I also love the school’s literary magazine, AGNI. But the best thing of all? It’s a one-year program! Rock!

Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
MFA in Creative Writing
While great on its own, this program has the added benefit of being associated with FSU’s top-ranked film and theater program. Also, the charming, Gulf-Coast location appeals to the southern writer in me.

New York University, New York, NY
MFA in Creative Writing
Great program, great school, great location (Greenwich Village). *sigh*

San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
MFA in Creative Writing
I like this program’s global approach and their summer study program in Ireland. Also, I like that San Diego is the #3 biotech hub in the US (behind the Bay Area and Boston). In case I don’t get a book deal or a university teaching job, I can continue copy/technical writing for industry, and biotech is one industry I love.

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
MFA in Creative Writing
This is the only program (I know of) to provide a look-book showcasing its graduates to prospective agents and publishers.

University of California, Davis, CA (near Sacramento)
MA in Creative Writing
UC Irvine (near Los Angeles) has a higher ranked program, but I wanted at least one school near the San Francisco / San Jose area, because of the biotech (and tech) industry clustered there. I also like having an MA option amid all these MFA programs, to “erase any divide between writer as artist and writer as reader and critical thinker.”

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
MFA in Creative Writing
Similar to SDSU, this program has a global approach and a requirement to “spend at least one semester abroad in a non-English speaking country.” South of France, here I come. :)

University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC
MFA in Creative Writing
This new program looks promising, according to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs: "Although UNCW's MFA program in creative writing is a young upstart... we know of no other program that has achieved so much, so well, so quickly.”

University of Texas, Austin, TX
UT provides two Master’s-level options for writing:
MA in English, Creative Writing (two-year program)
MFA in Writing (three-year program)
From what I’ve read so far, both programs are exceptional and have excellent funding. When you factor in the appeal of Austin, what’s not to love?

Well, those are my picks for now. I’m amazed I found eleven great programs to choose from, but surprised there’s not a highly ranked program in the Atlanta area. Very surprised. Anyway, I’m waiting for An Insider's Guide to Creative Writing Programs, by Amy Holman, from the library. Her reviews may change my mind about my picks, especially since she covers not just MA/MFA programs, but also colonies, residencies, grants, and fellowships. If I discover anything new and exciting, I’ll share it here. Plus, I’m sure this new endeavor will lead to many new things: taking the GRE, applying to programs, getting accepted and making my choice, moving to a new city...

1 comment:

Paul said...

these are so hard to choose from, and:
that's quite some researching you have done so far. hours and hours, Amy should better be of help.
exciting times :)