M.F.A. More Information
At the University of Notre Dame's M.F.A. program, students of English and other fields will find a range of creative writing courses which invite them to explore language as an art through the writing of fiction and poetry.
The graduate program, culminating in the Masters of Fine Arts degree in English, is a literary immersion program: Students are admitted in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and are encouraged to explore cross-genre work and a variety of aesthetics and traditions. They are also fully integrated into the intellectual and curricular life of the university, enrolling in graduate literature classes, helping to create literary magazines, and participating in a literary community of writers, which includes the many visiting authors featured each year. They regularly teach writing in classrooms and tutoring centers at Notre Dame and other surrounding colleges, as well as in community centers—volunteering, for example, at community shelters. The student-run reading series features some of the freshest poetry and prose events in town.
The program has special strengths in the novel, poetics, and innovative fiction, and maintains special ties to the Department of English’s poetics program and text-media study group, as well as to the Institute for Latino Studies and the Department of Africana Studies.
And, of course, we write: an impressive number of our graduates are actively publishing with major corporate presses, including imprints of Little, Brown, Scribners, Harcourt, Viking Penguin, Atlantic Monthly Press, Grove Press, Algonquin Books, and Random House, as well as major independent presses, such as Salt, Copper Canyon, Slope Editions, Sarabande, Akashic, and various university presses. Alumni work has been featured in journals across the publishing spectrum including major glossies like the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Esquire; the web journal Salon; industry journals like Poets and Writers; and in respected literary and university-housed journals such as McSweeney’s, Fence, Glimmer Train, Pleiades, Chicago Review, Boston Review, Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, Emerson Review, Mid-American Review, and Callaloo.
Our students and alumni have been honored with major awards such as the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Honickman Prize from the American Poetry Review; the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction from the Los Angeles Times; the Chiasmus Press First Book Award; the Black Warrior Review Fiction Award; the PEN/West Award; and the Marjorie J. Wilson Award from the American Journal of Poetry. Alumnus Michael Collins has been short listed for the Man-Booker Prize. Our students have won the Associated Writing Programs’ Intro Journals Awards multiple times, and alumni have had work included and cited in the annual prize volumes, The Best American Poetry, The Best American Essays, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories.
In fact, the bibliography of our graduates’ published literary work includes some 28 novels, 13 poetry collections, 16 critical and other kinds of books, as well as over 700 published poems, 200 short stories, and other kinds of writing that total over 1700 publications. This is a publishing record that stands up with the best of any writing program in the country, as reviewers have noted. Indeed, our latest review cited “the outstanding track record of publication” of graduates of the Creative Writing Program as one of the reasons to mark it as an “area of excellence.”
What do you do with an M.F.A.? In addition to becoming authors in their own right, graduates from our M.F.A. program also go into a wide and diverse range of occupations. Since the inception of the program, approximately twenty percent of our graduates have gone on to advanced degrees (Ph.D.s, M.B.A.s, J.J.D.s); 17% earn their living as writers (freelance, speech, etc.); 17% have gone into publishing/editing; 29% report going into business; and 56% are in education (at every level, from grade-school teacher to university professor to dean).
In short, the Creative Writing Program offers a course of study with the flexibility for students to initiate a variety of literary lives.