MFA in Creative Writing - FAQs
What is the criteria for acceptance into the program?
You will need to submit a portfolio of work, including a writing sample (20 pages for prose, 6-8 poems for poetry), two letters of recommendation, and a two-page personal statement. In addition, you will need to submit a transcript of your undergraduate work. However, the heaviest emphasis is placed on the creative writing sample.
I have a family and a full-time job. Would I need to take time off from my other responsibilities?
No. Most of our students have families and careers. However, it is expected that you will commit 25 hours a week working on your writing.
You must apply to be admitted in one of three main genres - fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. For fiction, while the writer may work in any form, style, or sub-genre - including experimental, historical, scifi, or mystery - the work must have certain basic literary qualities (i.e., interesting and original language, well-developed characters, plots that avoid cliches). After admittance, if you would like to switch genres, you must submit a writing sample in a second genre to the director. However, for the creative thesis, most students will need to select one of the three genres. In special cases, you may do a combination thesis, but only if two faculty members agree to take on such a project.
Is there any possibility of taking coursework in multiple genres?
Yes. In fact, we encourage it. Many seminars and panels actually have cross-genre themes.
Am I too old to benefit from an MFA in creative writing?
Harriet Doerr published her first novel at the age of 73 and it went on to win the National Book Award. The great thing about writing is that you're never too old to write or to become trained as a writer. Fairfield's low-residency MFA is perfect for the "mature" student. Our student body will range in age from 23 to 75 and will include people from professions and experiences from all walks of life.
Will I be at a disadvantage since I have no formal training in creative writing?
No. The only thing we ask is that you've made a serious commitment to writing and that you've been writing for some time. We look much more for commitment than formal training.
What if I haven't published anything? Will that hurt my chances of succeeding in your program?
No. While some of our students will have published their work, most will not yet be published.
How many seminars, lectures, or panels must I attend?
During each residency, you must attend a minimum of four seminars in your chosen genre. However, you may attend as many as you wish, including in other genres. There will be opportunities to attend workshops, plenary sessions, readings, and lectures dealing with each type of genre.
Do I have to attend the residencies?
Yes. Since the residency is so important to a writer's development, you must attend each of the four residencies, as well as the fifth graduation residency where you will give a lecture and a public reading of your work.
Who makes all the arrangements for the residency?
If you select to stay with us on Enders Island, the MFA staff makes all arrangements, including lodging and meals. You will be responsible for transportation to and from the residency, though we do provide shuttle service from the train station in Mystic, Conn.
How will I be able to stay in touch with other students in the MFA program during the year?
An online community is available for all students enrolled in the program, where you can stay in touch, catch up on what others are doing and reading, and list accomplishments or post questions.
What will be the online systems that I will use with my faculty mentor during the program?
At the end of each residency, you will be paired with one faculty mentor for the five-month independent work. Together you will work out a plan of study. Some correspond by e-mail, others by sending hard copy packets in the mail. Faculty will communicate their responses to your work by e-mail, regular mail, and phone.
Where can I find tuition information?
You can find tuition information here.
Do you accept transfer credits?
No. Since each program differs, we would expect that your training as a writer come from within the Fairfield University MFA.
If I already have an MA/MFA degree in creative writing, can I apply to the program?
Absolutely. Our well-trained and highly published faculty will bring an entirely new dimension to your writing training.
What if for some personal or professional reason I have to interrupt my program of study in the MFA?
You can, with the permission of the director, take one semester off due to personal or professional reasons.
Do you accept applications only once a year?
No. We accept applications on a rolling basis.