Creative Writing

What About an M.F.A.?

If, during your career as an undergraduate, you have realized you have a passion for creative writing, where do you go after you graduate?

There are a number of post-undergraduate avenues open to you, and one of them is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree. This course of study allows you to take more time to learn and develop as a writer. Usually, M.F.A. programs combine writing seminars, classes, speakers and workshops and take around two years to complete. Another option to consider is the low residency M.F.A., which only requires you to be on location for a few weeks every semester and allows for more flexibility.

Below are a few steps to take if you are considering applying to M.F.A programs in the near future. Of course, the process is often more complex and intimidating than this, but these steps can act as a guide to point you in the right direction.

1. Write as much as you can. Practice to improve yours skill level and craft. This will let admissions committees know that you are confident and prepared to pursue a career as a writer.

2. Do you know what genre(s) you will work in? While your skills and passion may be spread over many genres (lucky you!), most programs want you to pick one or two to study. Some common fields are poetry, fiction, screenwriting, drama, and creative nonfiction.

3. Find programs that cater to your genre choices, style, location and availability. Make sure to look at the faculty and fully research the universities to which you are applying. Look at the links section for more resources.

4. Make sure you have completed all the requirements (letters of recommendation, GRE tests, applications, writing samples) for the programs you are looking at. Talk to advisors and take one final hard look at if the programs will help you to achieve your career goals.

5. Send in your application in a timely fashion. Now sit back and wait. Keep writing and developing your skills. Remember to breathe!

Return to the University at Albany Writing Center