2019 MFA In­dex: Your Grad­u­ate Re­search Starts Here

YOUR GRAD­U­ATE RE­SEARCH STARTS HERE

Poets and Writers - - The Mfa -

WITH well over two hun­dred MFA pro­grams in the United States, choos­ing which ones to re­search, much less ap­ply to, can be a daunt­ing prospect. The 2019 MFA In­dex is de­signed to make that process eas­ier by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion about 158 full-res­i­dency pro­grams, or­ga­nized by re­gion and state, and 64 low-res­i­dency pro­grams. Start by con­sid­er­ing ques­tions like those on the pre­vi­ous page. Do you think a lit­tle Cal­i­for­nia sun­shine might do you and your writ­ing good? In the fol­low­ing pages you’ll find fif­teen full-res­i­dency pro­grams lo­cated in the Golden State. Have you de­cided that you want to at­tend only a pro­gram that of­fers full fund­ing? Here are sixty-five full-res­i­dency pro­grams that say they’ll foot the tuition bill for all their stu­dents.

Once you have cho­sen which pro­grams you want to in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther, you can take the time to fa­mil­iar­ize your­self with each one and de­ter­mine whether it’s a good match for you. The 2019 MFA In­dex pro­vides the ba­sic specs of a pro­gram as well as some ap­pli­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion to help you stay on sched­ule, but many of the most im­por­tant and un­quan­tifi­able as­pects of a pro­gram—fac­ulty, cur­ricu­lum, pre­cise fund­ing struc­ture, and so on— re­quire more re­search. Much of this in­for­ma­tion can be found in the Po­ets & Writ­ers MFA data­base (pw.org/mfa) and on each pro­gram’s web­site, but you should also con­sider read­ing the work of fac­ulty and alumni, at­tend­ing open houses, and speak­ing with alumni and pro­gram staff.

We rec­om­mend you pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to a pro­gram’s fund­ing: While sixty-five full-res­i­dency pro­grams of­fer full tuition sup­port to all stu­dents for the du­ra­tion of the pro­gram, the re­main­ing nine­tythree re­port that they of­fer par­tial fund­ing, which can range from just a hand­ful of small schol­ar­ships to full as­sist­ant­ships or fel­low­ships for 85 per­cent of stu­dents. As al­ways the im­pact of fund­ing must be con­tex­tu­al­ized against the cost of tuition: One pro­gram’s tuition might be so high that even if you are of­fered a par­tial tuition waiver, it might cost less to at­tend a pro­gram that of­fers you no fund­ing. Many pro­grams list es­ti­mated tuition on their web­sites; if not, cur­rent tuition rates are usu­ally avail­able on the web­site of the host univer­sity or col­lege.

The in­dex also of­fers a bird’s-eye view of the world of cre­ative writ­ing MFA pro­grams from year to year. This year we added six full-res­i­dency pro­grams and six low-res­i­dency pro­grams, five of which were es­tab­lished in the past two years. Many lowres­i­dency pro­grams added res­i­den­cies abroad; nine­teen pro­grams now of­fer res­i­den­cies out­side of the con­ti­nen­tal United States in places as dis­parate as an is­land in the Caribbean and a me­dieval cas­tle in Italy. More pro­grams have ex­panded their course­work and of­fer de­grees in gen­res apart from po­etry, fic­tion, non­fic­tion, and trans­la­tion—the most pop­u­lar ad­di­tional gen­res are screen­writ­ing, writ­ing for tele­vi­sion, and play­writ­ing, fol­lowed closely by writ­ing for chil­dren and young adults, genre fic­tion, and graphic nar­ra­tives.

Whether you are ap­ply­ing to an MFA this year or just test­ing the wa­ters, the 2019 MFA In­dex of­fers a start­ing point for iden­ti­fy­ing the writ­ing pro­gram that is best for you. We hope it is a sig­nif­i­cant first step in your jour­ney to find the com­mu­nity and en­vi­ron­ment that will help you grow as a writer.

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