I'm bringing this out as a post so it doesn't get buried.
nisa malli and elisabeth ask:
Are there any programs that allow cross genre work or is it standard to require students to adhere to strict genre guidelines for the duration of their MFA (playwriting and fiction for nisa)? I know Michener has an interdisciplinary program, but just one on the list isn't really a sure bet.
Erika D. said...
OK, a couple of things. As for cross- (or multiple) genre study, look at the University of British Columbia (both the residential and optional-residency programs). Some low-residency programs are flexible enough for some of this, too.
Mike Valente said...
Regarding multi-genre study (if I understand the question correctly), Notre Dame allows its poetry students to take the prose workshop and its prose students to take the poetry workshop. That's the case this semester with both workshops. Also, there are two non-fiction writers under the umbrella of "prose".
Daryll Lynne here:
Purdue also allows (strongly encourages, even) students to take other genre workshops and craft classes, as well as requires you to take an outside art form. For the required class, you can take a playwriting class or dance or painting, etc., or you can take the other genre workshops as your outside artform. This doesn't give you a second art form on your degree, however.
You might look at University of Alabama. According to Anna Mendoza's blog on MFA programs, you can have a multi-genre focus. (And I highly recommend checking out Anna's blog for other program info.)
Anyone else have suggestions to throw out?
At Emerson, you have the opportunity to work in multiple genres. They even have a class called 'Poetry for Prose Writers."
American allows students to take classes in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. While they ask you to declare a "focus" when you apply, students take the workshops they want, switch focus of thesis, and delve into other genres all the time.
Our program at Adelphi does what Amanda describes at American. Students enter in one genre (poetry, fiction or dramatic writing) and write a thesis in that genre. But all are encouraged to take workshops in other genres. No problem getting into workshops, no problem switching thesis genre. It happens a lot—in life most writers experiment with genre.
I already posted this elsewhere, but UC Riverside advertises a multi-genre approach, as well as USC. The latter sounds really expensive, though, and I don't know how well they fund their MPW candidates (Masters in Professional Writing they call it over there, instead of MFA).
FSU requires multigenre coursework. It offers at least three tracks (p, f, nf).
At UNC Wilmington, you're required to take 5 out-of-genre credits and can take up to 9. We've got all three genres.
Arkansas requires cross genre classes in form and theory, and allows people to cross genres in workshops to a limited extent. There's a lot of flexibility in their program.
Rutgers University in Camden, NJ (just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia) is launching a new MFA program with a multi-genre approach this year. I received my MA in English from Rutgers-Camden, studied with most of the creative writing faculty, and had an extremely productive experience there. Detailed information on the program is available at http://mfa.camden.rutgers.edu.
hamline university is multi-genre.
The University of Pittsburgh also lets it MFA students sign up for workshops in any genre. They just have to do their final thesis in whatever genre they were accepted as.
Eastern Washington University requires cross-genre work. Great program. Good funding. www.ewumfa.com
calarts in valencia doesnt even make distinctions between p, nf, f, playwriting, screenwriting... everyone takes whatever classes they want. in any given class there will be a mixture of poets, crossgenres, novelists, filmmakers, etc
The University of Wyoming requires one workshop in a second genre and permits switching genres or including multiple genres in the final thesis. Plus, while they do require a couple lit courses, they strongly encourage students to get outside the English department altogether. Several of the current nonfiction writers, for instance, are doubling up with the School of Environment and Natural Resources to focus on environmental writing, which is very cool.
Arkansas, which is a 60-credit MFA with lots of room for creating your own course of study, requires students to study form and theory of other genres, and allows students to take workshops outside their main genres.
San Jose State University requires a major concentration in one genre and a minor concentration in another.
Don't forget Goddard College, a very innovative place. Their low-residency MFA program supports cross-genre and they offer residencies both in Vermont and Port Townsend, Washington.
Coming very late to this:
UC Riverside allows students to have a multigenre focus. Most of the students fit the more traditional mode, but I know of one student working on a verse novel, and another working on sort of performance art stuff (her official emphasis is in playwriting). Ever student has to take at least two workshops outside of their core genre, so there's a good deal of natural cross-pollenation.
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