Monday, August 20, 2007

Questions about Specific Programs

ryan writes:

For a Phd in fiction, does anyone know the acceptance rates for these programs?

University of Georgia
Georgia State University
University of Denver
University of Houston
University of Utah
Florida State
University of Southern California

Any insider info on applying to these programs?

Dear Ryan,

Are you sure you mean a Ph.D. in Fiction, not an MFA in Fiction? So far I've never heard of a Ph.D. in Creative Writing, at least in the U.S.--the MFA is the termial degree--and if some school on the web's trying to catch your eye with the words "Ph.D. in Creative Writing" it's probably just a Ph.D. in English with a creative dissertation. In any case, why don't you visit the program websites and look to see if they specify acceptance rates? If not (and doing the research for my database has shown me that programs usually don't) get in touch with the program office by e-mail or phone--I'm sure the contact information will be there on the site.

If someone visiting this blog has attended one of these programs, he or she might be able to give you its acceptance rate or some insider info on applying to that particular program, but it's not likely that a random site visitor will have such particular information. For accurate data, the best thing to do is to contact the programs themselves.


Bruko said...

Well, for the University of Houston and USC, at any rate, they specify a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing, so now I think it's safe to say you've heard of such a program. I would have expected one of the posters to certainly be aware of them. Also, they're arguably all just Ph.D.'s in English with a creative writing dissertation (along with workshops, relevant coursework, etc.), but the creative writing dissertation does make a huge difference, so I'm not sure of what use the "just" is in describing them.

Finally, I think the question was in-bounds, so I'm also not sure of what use is an answer consisting of "gosh, don't know, probably no one else knows either, good luck, ask them." The point of such a blog seems to be to disseminate information, not to encourage people to go elsewhere and find it on their own.

I think the expectation was that someone here, in fact, *might* know something, as crazy and off-the-wall as that might seem from a blog entitled "MFA Blog".

What a useless post.

Anna said...


The contributors to this blog are very capable of giving advice on many things, such as how to make an MFA application strong, the age at which someone should enter an MFA, how much your GPA matters, what should be in a statement of purpose, what the difference is between a program housed in an Arts department versus an English department (if any), etc. etc.

But a very particular, quantitative statistic--such as what the acceptance rate is for X program--is not likely to be known off the cuff by someone who contributes or visits this blog, since they probably haven't gone to that particular program and may only know gossip. That's why the best party to ask for such a very, very PARTICULAR piece of statistical information is the program itself. I didn't mean to sound dismissive, only to point the inquirer to the fastest, most accurate resource.

Luke said...

Uh, have you read the handbook? There's a whole section on CW Ph.D.s!

Lizzy said...

FSU definitely offers the PhD in Creative Writing. As does Houston. Houston describes theirs as essentially the same as the lit track, but with a number of writing workshops added, plus a creative disseration.

While the MFA remains the terminal degree in the field, there is increasing talk of the PhD supplanting it as such. For example, in The Atlantic's Summer Fiction issue, Robert Olen Butler declares that the PhD is on its ways to becoming the new terminal degree.

Seth Abramson at The Suburban Ecstasies blog did some research last year into admission rates of MFA programs. If you're interested, I suggest poking around Seth's blog to see what you find.

gnomeloaf said...

I'm useless for the specific question asked about acceptance rates. However, I thought it might be useful to some random person to say that I find Brian Kiteley's pages pretty fascinating -- and I'm not even looking to apply anywhere. He's director of Denver's program and the author of a writing book I like a lot called The 3 AM Epiphany.

From the link above you can go to a description of his advanced fiction workshop, and a very direct description of Denver's pedagogy. They don't grant MFAs at all, nor do they use the workshop model. Really interesting approach.

dll said...


My school's on your list. I just wrote up some stuff on it, but the post proved to be huge!
Email me for the info at my most reliable email address:
I'm more than happy to help...good luck!