A graduate creative writing program offers many benefits - time to write, a creative community, faculty mentors and the chance to complete a book-length manuscript. However, there are different kinds of programs that cater to a variety of academic and professional objectives. Examine the different kinds of graduate creative writing programs to determine which will be most convenient and artistically enriching to your personal goals.

Creative Writing Master of Arts

A Master of Arts in creative writing is a two-year program usually seen as a bridge to the next step in your career. The MA is more of a specialization than an intensive study of creative writing, as students take workshops in all literary genres, including fiction, nonfiction and poetry, along with literature classes. Ball State University writes that through classes in different genres, students are able to discover their specific creative strengths, discover authors whose work can inspire and fuel their personal style and prepare for future graduate studies, such as a Master of Fine Arts or doctorate. in creative writing.

Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts

Unlike the MA, an MFA is a focused three-year study in one genre. Students take multiple workshops to develop craft and technique and read work by other authors. An MFA is also a terminal degree, authorizing you to teach at the university level upon graduation. Because of this, the MFA often includes the opportunity to teach introductory creative writing classes. Consistent community with other writers, specialization and teaching experience all make the MFA a strong choice for writers who seek a three-year period to focus intently on developing their talents and prepare for future academic jobs.

Low-Residency MFA

The low-residency MFA is designed for students with professional and personal commitments that prevent them from relocating to a campus. Students are required to be on campus for classes during certain weeks throughout the semester, but do the rest of their work from home. For example, Goddard College, the first low-residency program in the country, holds a required workshop week at the beginning of the semester, followed by long-distance mentorship with a faculty member. To fulfill the teaching requirement of an MFA, residency students complete a teaching practicum somewhere in their community.

Creative Writing Doctorate

A recent development in creative writing graduate programs is the ability to earn a doctoral degree. Like the MFA, it benefits students who want to pursue a career in academia. However, the University of Denver reports that it heavily emphasizes the relationship between creative writing and other disciplines. It is also less workshop-focused, with students taking more classes in areas such as literature, philosophy and aesthetics. In addition to the thesis required by other graduate degrees, the doctoral students also typically complete a culminating critical project, such as a preface to their creative work.

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About the Author

Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.