Creative Writing Program
The MFA in Creative Writing is a three year studio/academic program for students gifted in the writing of fiction and poetry. The program accepts a maximum of 8-12 students each year, so workshops are small and faculty members work closely with students, providing an unusual degree of both formal and informal mentoring. In addition to workshops in fiction and poetry, faculty teach literature courses in contemporary fiction and poetry.
Our Visiting Writers Series brings numerous writers to campus for readings and meetings with students. The English Department is also home to the literary journal, Crab Orchard Review, and a limited number of internships with the journal are available. All students accepted into the MFA Program are awarded financial aid (in the form of teaching assistantships) as well as tuition remission.
The university offers excellent support services for students with disabilities and for non-traditional students, and the campus is exceptionally wheelchair-accessible.
Applicants should request an application from the Graduate Program in English and return it with samples of their work (10-15 pages of poetry, 15-30 pages of fiction or non-fiction), transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.
- Core or Required Courses:
- Writing workshop: four in major genre, one in second genre
- Forms course (contemporary literature): one in major genre
- Thesis: two semesters
The remainder of a student's program is designed in consultation with the Writing Faculty, and may include literature or other university offerings, as well as individually designed independent studies.
Students with teaching assistantships are required to take a course in the teaching of composition. All students must pass an oral examination entailing both course work and a defense of the creative thesis.
SIUC offers a number of competitive fellowships to full-time graduate students. Awards are made by the Graduate School on the recommendation of the Department's Graduate Studies Committee. For further information, contact the Graduate School. Please note that the deadline for applicants for fellowships is January 15.
Most MFA students hold graduate assistantships, which provide stipends for the academic year and full remission of tuition. For 2006-2007, the stipend ranged from $10,602 to $11,826 for nine months. The application deadline for admission with assistantship support is February 1, with notification by April 1. Approximately 55 MA/MFA and 35 PhD students held teaching assistantships in 1997-98.
Most graduate assistants are assigned to the University's first-year writing program, in which they have full responsibility for two sections of composition each semester. An extensive series of pre-semester workshops, a semester-long seminar in the teaching of college composition, and a mentor system complement graduate work and assure professional development. In addition, some graduate assistants serve as tutors in the Department's Writing Center, while others are eligible to teach Core Curriculum literature courses and English 119, Introduction to Creative Writing. Limited summer teaching is also available to graduate students.
Experience in Literary Publishing/Internships
A limited number of assistant editor and editorial intern positions are available with Crab Orchard Review, the literary journal published by the Department and distributed internationally. Normally three graduate assistants per semester serve as assistant editors, while other students may apply to be editorial interns through enrollment in English 498.
Visiting Writers Series
Our Visiting Writers Series brings numerous writers to campus for readings and meetings with students. In addition, the Devil’s Kitchen Fall Literary Festival, held on the SIUC campus each year in late October or early November and sponsored by SIUC’s undergraduate journal Grassroots, is a three-day festival of literary readings and panels featuring nationally recognized writers. Recent guests have included James Kimbrell, Honoree Jeffers, Margaret McMullan, David Baker, Ann Townsend, Padgett Powell, Jean Thompson, and Anthony Grooms.
Young Writers Workshop
The Young Writers Workshop is an annual residential creative writing workshop for high school students held each June on the SIUC campus. MFA students are a vital part of this program, serving as resident advisors in the dormitory, teachers during workshops and classes, and mentors for aspiring teen writers. A variety of positions are available with the Young Writers Workshop. Every Spring semester, a different graduate student serves as Assistant Director, working on long-range planning and publicity for the Workshop. Also available are paid resident advisor positions, internships for credit, and volunteer positions.
Saluki Writers Project
The Saluki Writers Project sends graduate students into the community as volunteer teachers of creative writing in various settings in Carbondale. For credit internships are available for graduate students who serve as volunteer instructors with the program.
Undergraduate Creative Writing
The English Department also offers an excellent creative writing option for undergraduate students. For more information on this program, see Undergraduate Programs in English at SIUC.
For further information about the MFA Program, contact: Professor Allison Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org