Posted in Program Info, You & Me

Stipend Rankings + A New Minimum Standard?

This month, I was interviewed by The Writer Mag about Affording the MFA and its offerings for its May/June issue. But it got me thinking about the minimum stipend, which was set at $9K in 2012 to include a broader listing of schools. Since 2012, more programs have cropped up, and stipends have increased, even if only slightly. This meager $9K stipend no longer seems livable by the average standard of living. What do you think the minimum stipend should be in order to be listed on Affording the MFA? Or should our list simply set a low stipend ($10K, which all the schools on the list now meet) so that a broader list can be accessed?

Here is a list of school stipends with information from 2015-2016 unless noted otherwise. Note that some schools offer a different amount in the second or third year, indicated by a slash.

School Stipend Note
Johns Hopkins $30,000  
UT Austin $27,500  
Cornell $25,000 Data from 2013
Vanderbilt $24,000  
WA Univ St Louis $22,220  
U of MI $22,000 / $18,600  
U of WI $22,000  
UC Irvine $20,050  
UVA $20,000  
Univ of OR $18,000  
U of MN $17,500  
LSU $17,500  
Purdue $17,000  
Ohio State $16,000 or $21,800  Teaching fellows receive larger stipdend
Virginia Tech $16,000  
U of Miami $15,965  
U of FL $15,800  
Indiana Univ $15,750  
ASU $15,000  
Univ of WA $15,000  
U of Houston $15,000  
U of AZ $14,808
UNM $14,792 Data from 2014
Syracuse $14,535-19,916 Funding dependent on type of graduate duty (teaching, publishing) and up to 19,196 may be available
Univ of WY $14,078 Includes one-time amount of $2K for summer between first and second year
U of AL $13,500  
UI at Urbana-Champaign $13,086 / $21,493  
Boston Univ $12,800
U of IA $9,262-18,816 Funding dependent on teaching or research position and work load
Notre Dame $12,500  
Brown $11,850 / $23,700 Additional $2K available for students in good standing for summer funding between first and second year
U of MS $11,500  
U of AR $11,400 or $12,000 Higher stipend given to candidates with MA
Oregon State $10,555  
Bowling Green $10,500  
Boise State $10,450
Posted in You & Me

Revisions (and the feedback you need)

Many of you submitted your first round of applications yesterday. Fantastic work and congratulations! For the past few months, you’ve been writing and revising, wrangling recommenders, and tracking transcripts and GRE score reports. But now that the first submissions are in, I’m sure that there is a sense of completion and possibly curiosity (or worry) about your manuscript.

If you’d like some feedback on your writing to address the questions that may be surfacing now, I’d be happy to work with you by providing holistic feedback (450-600 words) addressing your stories, novel excerpt, or essays as a whole. The feedback will tell you whether the heart of the piece is clear, and whether all elements–such as characterization, use of language, structure, pacing–of the narrative work cohesively. I’ll also lay out concrete steps to improving the work for revision. Overall, it’s a calm, organized, and concise way to making your writing better. For more details about creative writing feedback, you can visit my site.

Posted in Deadlines & Reminders

Final Weeks Before Deadlines

For most of you, application deadlines are fast approaching as we enter the last half of November. While this tends to be a stressful time with holidays, visitors, travel plans, wrapping up other work, and so on, create a space for yourself to work on this particular project. Like anything you care about, you’ll have to carve out that time and protect it.

With 2-8 weeks remaining, here is what you need to do:

  1. Create a schedule for working on you manuscript. Determine how much time you need to finish it, and then schedule it into your final weeks. In interviews with faculty at various MFA programs, it’s been clear that the manuscript– the quality of the work and its embodiment of your interests and voice– is the most important aspect of an application. (See how I help writers with manuscripts here.)
  2. Write an amazing personal statement. “I like to get to know a candidate’s life and personality in the letter of intent, but I would recommend against being too confessional,” said Jennifer S. Davis in our 2015 interview. This is a place to really speak for yourself and the trick is in mastering language, tone, and content to create a balance of openness and professionalism. (See how I work with writers on the statement here.)
  3. Get all of your GRE score reports squared away (if you have to take it). According to the GRE website, “Score reports will be sent to your designated institutions approximately 5 business days after your order is placed. For the four recipients you choose at the test centre: Your official scores will be available in your My GRE Account and sent to your score recipients approximately 10–15 days after your test date.” If you didn’t do well on it, you can retake the test every 21 days.
  4. Remind or thank your recommenders.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the online application system. Register so that you have a log-in, and then keep track of all of your usernames and passwords.

Best of luck!

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Danielle Dutton of Washington University at St. Louis

Photo credit Sarah Shatz

Danielle Dutton’s fiction has appeared in magazines such as Harper’sBOMBFence, and Noon. She is the author of Attempts at a Life,  SPRAW L, and the novel Margaret the First. In 2010, she founded the small press Dorothy, a publishing project. She teaches at Washington University in St. Louis


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