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Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree Program in Poetry Overview

Majors Overview February 25, 2016

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree programs in Poetry are not widely available. Students still interested should look into Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree programs in Creative Writing, which feature this area as a concentration. Workshops, seminars, poetry courses, or lectures supplement core curriculum.

Information on Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree Program in Poetry

Schools offer programs leading to an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in poetry or an MFA in Poetry. The pursuit of the degree via a low-residency program may be preferable to students. However, yearly residency periods are typically necessary for such programs that feature workshops with peers and faculty mentorships.

Participation in internships or teaching opportunities may be possible for full-time students. A required thesis project – comprising a collection of poems – usually marks the culmination of the program. MFA program graduates may seek writing and editing careers, in addition to postsecondary teaching jobs.

Related degree options include:

•Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs in Creative Writing and Literature
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Creative Writing (Fiction)
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Creative Writing (Non-Fiction)
•Master of Arts (M.A.) Programs in English

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Poetry

Enrollees in an MFA program devoted to poetry can develop their skills and aptitude for writing and reading poetry; they may complete the program within 1.5 to 2 years. Individuals work on publication and performance of their work through the duration of the program. Students may create a full manuscript as part of the degree requirement.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in any field, in addition to submitting transcripts of all previous college-level work as well as a relevant work sample.

Coursework

Program coursework is devised to help students to develop their ability to read and write poetry and prose. The use of language and grammar are in the program, which develops a better understanding. Originality and imagination are encouraged in the development of poetic images through coursework in areas such as:

•20th-century American poetry
•English poets of the 16th and 17th centuries
•Advanced expository writing
•Poetic traditions across cultures
•Grammar in poetic writing
•Poetry in sound
•Metaphysical poets

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek various careers in several fields, such as editing, publishing, education, advertising, and community work. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Writer
•Professor
•Editor

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2008 – 2018 decade, a thirteen percent job increase has been predicted for postsecondary teachers in general. Authors, writers, and editors – counted as a single group – are expected to see a two percent job growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

In May 2012, writers and authors brought in an average annual wage of $58,850. During the same period, postsecondary English language and literature instructors earned $70,790 on average per annum, and editors banked an average annual wage of $54,890.

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