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MFA FAQ

  • Join us at 3 PM ET (2 PM CT/1 PM MT/12 PM PT) to learn more about the Naslund-Mann School of Writing...

    July 30 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    MFA Virtual Open House

An MFA in writing lets creative writers develop their craft while building a network of accomplished peers to provide camaraderie, support and practical assistance over a lifetime of writing and publishing. Hundreds of our alumni have published books and produced plays, films and TV shows.

The MFA is also the appropriate degree for writers seeking a career in academia teaching creative writing — although the market for creative writing professors is extremely tight, and landing a tenure-track position also requires significant publications (normally a book or two). Still, many of our alums hold creative writing professorships at top universities.

The MFA can also be useful professionally. While it is not focused on the career search in the way an MBA is, an MFA communicates creativity, independent thinking and intellectual curiosity — all attributes that employers value. Our alums’ job titles include magazine editor, arts administrator, screenwriter, TV producer, speechwriter, podcaster, business proposal writer, grant writer, book publicist, corporate communications director, marketing copywriter — even business analyst.

It varies widely by program. At the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing, we don’t have a fixed number of slots to award each semester—we can accept as many or as few students as meet our admission requirements. We look for a highly accomplished writing sample, a critically astute commentary on a work the applicant admires, and a thoughtful personal statement demonstrating motivation and willingness to learn. We don’t require the GRE or letters of recommendation because neither adequately reflects applicants’ readiness for graduate study in creative writing. Our acceptance rate is about 60 percent.

Many writers come to an MFA program after years, even decades, in an unrelated career or raising a family. Our students’ average age is 44. We also have students as young as 22. And our oldest student was 80 when she graduated and went on to publish as an alum.

Yes. The MFA is the credential needed for teaching creative writing at the post-secondary level. It also gives writers a significant foundation for creating a successful writing career. MFA students gain insight into the work of editors, publishers, literary agents, and other creative professionals. Over four semesters, they establish close working relationships with mentors and workshop leaders who are writers, playwrights, and screenwriters with years of professional experience.

Yes. The MFA is the degree typically required for creative writing professors at the undergraduate or graduate level.

At Spalding, GPA is not a primary consideration when reviewing applications. The strength of the writing sample is our main concern.

We don’t require an undergraduate degree in English. In fact, many of our students come into the MFA program with established careers in entirely different fields, such as law, medicine, social work, education, business, and journalism, to name just a few.

The MFA is the degree of choice for pursuing an artistic or literary career.

An MBA is traditionally the degree for seeking a career in the corporate world. Recently, the MFA has gained cachet in that area as well, because MFA students are taught to think creatively.

An MFA isn’t required for a career as a writer, but it does give writers a thorough understanding of craft and a community or network to support them as they make their way through the world of publication and production.

While a fully funded MFA may sound like the better financial choice, often, students in those programs are required to work for the university, teaching classes while completing their studies. Teaching stipends are often too small to live on, so many students have to take on yet another job outside of the university to pay their bills. This workload can leave little time for writing and reading.

At Spalding, we provide scholarships and assistantships in the form of partial tuition remission. Our students don’t need stipends because they return home after residency and continue their working lives during their independent study. Students can choose the slower pace of our extended independent study option to help fit their studies into an already busy life. This model teaches students to integrate their writing practice into their daily lives—an essential skill for creating a sustainable writing life.

  • Join us at 3 PM ET (2 PM CT/1 PM MT/12 PM PT) to learn more about the Naslund-Mann School of Writing...

    July 30 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    MFA Virtual Open House