Purdue’s MFA in Creative Writing Program is designed with the writer-artist in mind. It is a place to reside and study your craft in close mentorship with nationally and internationally known faculty. Here you’ll find the opportunity to develop your work in a supportive atmosphere that values originality and a vital literary tradition.
We are the destination for fiction writers and poets who are interested in one or more of these futures: as writers, editors, teachers, non-profit administrators, arts administrators, and the host of careers looking for people with a keen and creative facility with language. For proof, just check out the successes of our alumni and current students.
The Three Year Program Built with You in Mind
Our program structure is small and flexible, allowing writers to design study plans according to their specific needs. With full funding for all, and one of the best student to faculty ratios (3.5 to 1) in the country, the program ensures personal attention and a friendly writing community. Primary coursework is completed in the first two years. This includes craft and theory of fiction or poetry (3 hours), four workshops in fiction or poetry (12 hours), and five other departmental and university electives, including an optional course in another art form (15 hours). The third year is dedicated to work on the thesis—a novel or story collection, or a book-length collection of poetry or fiction—through individual tutorials with a writer chosen from our award-winning M.F.A. faculty.
Full Financial Support
Teaching assistantships in any of the composition programs, including creative writing, provide a base stipend of approximately $18,000 for ten months, remission of tuition and most fees, plus merit raises. The teaching load is usually one course per semester, and after the first year students also have the opportunity for additional teaching. A few merit fellowships provide tax-free stipends of more than $20,000 for 12 months and remission of tuition and fees.
Many students also hold editorial positions with the Sycamore Review, a nationally recognized literary journal, and some earn additional compensation beyond the teaching assistantship through one of our paid administrative positions, which include Editor-in-chief of the Sycamore Review, Managing Editor of the Sycamore Review, Visiting Writers Series Coordinator, and Assistant Program Director.
Our MFA students are artists, of course, but many also come to Purdue as a step toward teaching creative writing as a career. Each semester, MFA students are invited to teach available sections of ENGL 205: Introduction to Creative Writing, the first course in our undergraduate Creative Writing Program. In the first or second semester of their second year, MFA students prepare for this opportunity by spending a semester observing ENGL 407 and ENGL 409. They also participate in the regularly scheduled meetings of the Creative Writing Practicum (ENGL 502/505) which includes two faculty and the teaching assistants currently assigned an ENGL 205 section. Practicum meetings address method, curriculum, and objectives for teaching ENGL 205. Generally, MFA students teach a section of ENGL 205 immediately after their course observation and practicum semester. ENGL 205 is a 3 credit hour course and counts within a teaching assistant’s annual 8-10 credit hour teaching responsibility.
The MFA student with a teaching assistantship will amass a significant amount of teaching and/or writing lab experience over the three years at Purdue. This experience can prepare the MFA student for a variety of teaching positions (adjunct, limited-term lecturer, continuing lecturer) at institutions of higher education across the country upon graduation. If the student’s future record of publication permits, the teaching at Purdue can also serve as important experience for tenure-track positions later in an academic career. Check out our teaching trails here.
Please refer to the English Department's graduate web site. We have an ongoing admissions policy and begin reading applications in late Fall for the following Fall semester. Our application deadline for Fall 2019 is December 31, 2018. Please look around, and if you have any questions feel free to contact us.