English: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
About the Degree
The University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, and Youngstown State University offer jointly the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program (NEOMFA). This degree provides students with opportunities to develop their skills in writing fiction, poetry, drama, and creative non-fiction. It is the terminal degree. Through extensive practice in workshops and craft and theory courses, students will develop their creative writing abilities while also studying literature and completing a relevant internship.
- Fiction: Students specializing in fiction will leave the program with a breadth of knowledge regarding fiction’s many genres or modes as well as the forms fiction can take (flash fiction, the short story, the novella, the novel, and the novel-in-stories), providing them with the tools to be a diversified professional writer. 48 credit hours.
- Poetry: Poets studying in the NEOMFA program can expect variety in instruction and inspiration. Our poets write about place, and beyond place. They try new poetic forms, and then create their own systems of generation and innovation. NEOMFA poetry students are prolific writers and voracious readers. 48 credit hours.
- Creative Nonfiction: Students studying creative nonfiction in the NEOMFA learn and practice the craft of the essay, memoir, personal narrative, literary journalism, lyric essay, travelogue, food writing, and much more. Creative nonfiction has blossomed as a literary form over the past decade, both artistically and commercially, offering exciting opportunities for writers of all backgrounds. 48 credit hours.
- Playwriting: Students in the playwriting track focus on transitioning from playwrights to a professional life in theatre. Students are free to engage any style of writing from traditional realism to experimental writing and performance art through small-group workshops, regular public readings and opportunities to study with noteworthy visiting artists. 48 credit hours.
Focus of study
Students study the craft of creative writing, its techniques, theories and traditions. Emphasis is placed on the practice of writing and revision, primarily through intensive workshops. Students also take courses in literature and electives in other aspects of writing and literature relevant to their discipline and their artistic interests. They learn about trends in publishing and are guided in the process of getting their work published.
Salary and Career Outlook
As with most careers in the creative arts, the possibilities for graduates of the NEOMFA program are widespread and highly individualized. Because the MFA is a terminal degree, graduates are qualified for full-time, tenure-track teaching positions. Students from MFA programs also find work in publishing, technical writing, marketing/advertising and other fields where excellent writing and creative thinking is required. As author Daniel Pink, an expert on the 21st century creative economy, famously noted in a 2008 New York Times article, “The MFA is the new MBA.”
Just as the opportunities vary, so do the salaries. According to a 2013 survey by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), salaries for English professors at 4-year institutions ranged from $54,000 to $83,000. According to a 2014 Publishers Weekly report, editorial employees in the publishing industry earn between $22,000 and $103,000. Those in management can earn upwards of $300,000.
The NEOMFA is the nation’s only consortial MFA program in creative writing. Students in the program enroll at one of four host universities: The University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Kent State University or Youngstown State University. Because students can choose from a uniquely wide-ranging faculty, with varied specializations, experiences and teaching approaches, students in this program have much more diverse opportunities than any single program could offer.
In addition to the unique opportunities (detailed below) offered by the nation’s only consortial MFA program in creative writing, students in the NEOMFA program will soon have the opportunity to earn a Teaching Artist Certificate in addition to their degree, certifying their experience teaching in a unique community outreach program.
Recent graduates are in jobs such as:
- Copywriter at WhiteSpace Creative, a marketing agency in Akron.
- Assistant Editor at Cleveland Magazine.
- Full-time College Lecturer in English at the University of Akron.
David Giffels, NEOMFA Campus Coordinator