About the MFA in Creative Writing
The Master of Fine Arts program at Wichita State University is the twelfth oldest in the nation and one that has earned widespread respect by producing graduates who are not only well-trained writers but also well-prepared teachers of writing and literature possessing skills in editing and other related fields.
The program, now in its 44th year, is a 48-hour, studio-academic program with students in full-time residence for three years developing their skills in fiction or poetry writing. Over those three years, students take a core of workshops and tutorials as well as additional coursework in English, which leads to a final writing project -- a collection of fiction or poetry, a novel or some appropriate work. Flexibility is provided in academic coursework to allow for a variety of possible interests.
Almost all of the program’s Master of Fine Arts students are funded for three years either through graduate teaching assistant positions (GTAs) or through a fellowship. In fall 2017, three fiction students and three poetry students entered the program. Of those six new MFA students, all were offered Graduate Teaching Assistantships receiving tuition remission and a stipend.
What makes Wichita State University's MFA program different?
- Wichita State University students are able to hone their craft for a full three years.
- All of our students are able to receive the same amount of funding so they don't have to compete with their classmates.
- Our students are able to teach their first year. Many of our students graduate having taught three or four different classes.
- Our students are eligible for multiple awards like the Barr Fellowship and the MFA Fellowship in Creative Writing.
- Our students are entered into Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) awards and various school-wide and national scholarships.
- Our Graduate Teaching Assistants lead classes in rhetoric and composition, basic and advanced skills for ESL students, and business writing.
- Our students have the opportunity to pair up with alumni to receive one-on-one mentoring about post-MFA opportunities.
- Unlike other programs, students in the MFA program at Wichita State University are encouraged to take classes in the "other" genre (poets can take fiction and nonfiction classes and fiction students can take poetry and nonfiction classes).
- We keep our MFA class sizes small, so there are opportunities for one-on-one mentorship.
- Our students are able to take one-on-one tutorials with visiting distinguished writers.
- All of our students have opportunity to attend our Writing Now Reading Now reading series. Recently, we've had readings by Nick Lantz, Gregory Orr, Ed Skoog, Kevin Brockmeier, Alice McDermott and Peter Behrens.
Visiting Distinguished Writers and Faculty
Every year our Master of Fine Arts students have the chance to take a one-on-one tutorial with a visiting distinguished fiction writer and poet. The visiting writers are in residence for a month in Wichita and offer a reading during that time.
Mikrokosmos and mojo
Wichita State University is the home to Mikrokosmos and mojo, a literary journal that recently celebrated its 60th anniversary issue. Mikrokosmos has published poets like William Stafford, William S. Burroughs and Charles Plymell. Graduate students can work on everything from reading submissions to website design. Our journal features poetry, fiction, nonfiction and art. Feel free to look at our website at www.mikrokosmosjournal.com for more information.
Life After Wichita State University
Our graduates have gone on to become leaders, authors and business people. Some of our graduates work as creative writing program directors, chairs of creative writing programs, professors of composition, doctoral students at top creative writing programs, high school teachers, editors-in-chief of magazines, middle school teachers, tenured faculty and creators of MFA programs.
To receive the Masters of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, a student must complete a three-year program in residence at Wichita State University that includes:
- 12 hours of writing courses (workshop based)
- 6 hours of Final Writing Project (completing a fiction or poetry final project)
- 3 hours in literary research course
- 24 hours of courses in literature and tutorials with visiting writers
- 3 hours of “enrichment,” a graduate level course outside of English
Students also take a comprehensive examination in their last semester. This is a three-part essay exam over books chosen from a master list in consultation with the student’s final project director.
MFA Final Project
Students in both genres work during their last year with one of the faculty on completing an original body of work. For poetry students, this is at least 24 pages of publishable work; for fiction writers, this is at least 100 pages of publishable work.
Most of our MFA students are GTAs who teach two composition classes each semester to WSU undergraduates and work one hour a week in the English Department’s Writing Center. They pay no tuition, receive $4,250 each semester and may buy discounted health insurance. The MFA program also awards two $12,500 fellowships each year, one in fiction writing and one in poetry, and it awards the Stephen F. Barr Fellowship, worth about $600.