2018 MFA In­dex

AN IN­TRO­DUC­TION

Poets and Writers - - Features -

An in­tro­duc­tion, 153 full-res­i­dency pro­grams, and 59 low-res­i­dency pro­grams.

IF YOU’VE weighed the costs and ben­e­fits, con­sid­ered the pros and cons, and fi­nally ar­rived at the con­clu­sion that, yes, you want to pur­sue an MFA de­gree, your home­work has only just be­gun. Now that you know you want to at­tend an MFA pro­gram, you are faced with an­other set of de­ci­sions: To which pro­grams (among the more than 200 that are cur­rently of­fered by col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties around the world) do you want to ap­ply?

The MFA In­dex is in­tended as a place to start, a ref­er­ence to help you be­gin nar­row­ing down your choices. The pro­grams listed in the fol­low­ing pages are pulled from the free MFA Pro­grams data­base at pw.org, which in­cludes the in­for­ma­tion pre­sented in the MFA In­dex as well as im­por­tant de­tails such as core fac­ulty and spe­cific fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. There are, of course, cer­tain el­e­ments of any given pro­gram that might make it the per­fect (or, con­versely, a less-than-ideal) place for you as a per­son and as a writer. The MFA In­dex of­fers enough in­for­ma­tion about the genre tracks, lo­ca­tion, size, amount of avail­able fund­ing, cost of liv­ing, and res­i­dency re­quire­ments for you to de­ter­mine whether you want to do ad­di­tional re­search on a pro­gram, gath­er­ing the de­tails that mat­ter the most to you. Once you’ve iden­ti­fied a pro­gram or sev­eral pro­grams in the MFA In­dex that you think are worth a closer look, in­ves­ti­gate them fur­ther us­ing the MFA Pro­grams data­base, then visit each pro­gram’s web­site, re­quest­ing more in­for­ma­tion from pro­gram co­or­di­na­tors and di­rec­tors, if nec­es­sary.

The level of fund­ing a pro­gram of­fers is of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to many prospec­tive stu­dents, and rightly so. The MFA In­dex lists the level of fi­nan­cial sup­port stu­dents re­ceive to­ward their tu­ition (full or par­tial), in­clud­ing tu­ition waivers, fel­low­ships, schol­ar­ships, and/or teach­ing as­sist­ant­ships, re­search as­sist­ant­ships, and grad­u­ate as­sist­ant­ships. Many pro­grams can­not guar­an­tee full fund­ing for all stu­dents, as fund­ing often de­pends on univer­sity bud­gets that change un­pre­dictably each year. If a pro­gram has funded all or nearly all of its stu­dents for the past sev­eral years, it is listed in the MFA In­dex as of­fer­ing “Full” fund­ing. “Par­tial” fund­ing can mean as lit­tle as “one stu­dent re­ceives a small schol­ar­ship” to “80 per­cent of stu­dents re­ceive full fund­ing.” When pro­grams are not fully funded, it is im­por­tant to cal­cu­late the cost of tu­ition. One pro­gram’s tu­ition might be so high that even if all stu­dents are of­fered a par­tial tu­ition waiver, it would cost those stu­dents less to at­tend a pro­gram that has fewer fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Fur­ther re­search will bear out these de­tails and com­par­isons.

De­cid­ing to pur­sue an MFA is a big de­ci­sion. Choos­ing which pro­grams you will ap­ply to is an even big­ger one. Use the MFA In­dex to con­sider the full field of pro­grams, then nar­row down your choices. Take your time. Do the re­search. We wish you the best of luck. PW.ORG/MFA For com­plete in­for­ma­tion about the pro­grams fea­tured in the 2018 MFA In­dex, visit our MFA Pro­grams dabatabase, which in­cludes de­tails about core fac­ulty, spe­cific fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, con­tact in­for­ma­tion, and more.

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