Monday, April 05, 2010

Programs under the radar

We've already discussed sleeper programs on TK's blog. These CW MFA programs have recently (in the last 2 years) changed from M.A. programs or hardly get mentioned at all on this site. Add them to your list if they meet your needs.

Long Island University

California State University- San Bernadino

Portland State University

University of Central Oklahoma

U-California- San Diego




MommyJ said...

Ha! I get the first word!

My wish: May all of us in limbo hear positive things this week so we can make our plans for the fall.

If nothing else, the weather is nicer in upstate New York, and I am on vacation from my full-time job.

DG said...

People might want to check out Stony Brook Southampton as well. Up until about 2006, Long Island University based their MFA writing program at their Southampton College campus. Then the campus was sold to SUNY Stony Brook. The head of LIU's writing program, Robert Reeves, and most of the faculty stayed at Southampton and became part of SUNY. SBSH also has a "Manhattan track" program where you can take most of your MFA classes at Stony Brook's New York City facility.

Mickey Kenny said...

I think the University of Victoria should enter this list. It boasts amazing faculty and a beautiful location. The only downfall... last year they accepted one student per genre.

MommyJ said...

@Mickey, one person per genre isn't a cohort. How can that be possible? What kind of workshops does the program offer with so few people?

I don't think I'd like that.

Eleanor said...

@poets on the waitlist at Iowa:

I turned down my spot at Iowa. Someone on the Iowa waitlist should receive an offer from them soon! I wish everyone the best of luck.

many many birdies said...

Just wanted to let you all know that I've decided to go to UNH. My visit really solidified things for me & it seems like exactly what I'm looking for.

big thanks for all the help and advice - these past few months would have been far more difficult without the blog.

I'm looking forward to hear where everyone else ends up. I hope the next ten days bring really good news for those of you who are still waiting!!!

MommyJ said...

It looks like I'm SOL. I emailed my old prof at SUNY Albany, and he said at the last departmental meeting he heard that offers have been made, and he suspects I would have been contacted if I was on the waiting list.

@Seth, my final list and info from SUNY Albany:

UMass Amherst, MFA, rejected

SUNY Albany, PhD, presumed rejected

Albany info from my friend, a longtime prof, cohort of fewer than 10 are enrolled for the doctoral program, including creative and traditional dissertations. This year, they had "well over" 100 applicants, though my prof didn't give an exact number.

Crap. Special Ed certification here I come.

To make matters worse, my daughter wasn't accepted
to her first choice despite the fact the admissions officer who interviewed her and reviewed her portfolio told her that she would be accepted with a scholarship. So neither of us are happy.

About said...

Anyone considering accepting their Mills College acceptance? Can you share the reasons why?

I'm undecided between Mills and The New School. Oakland is a much cheaper city, and the on-campus graduate housing at Mills seems like a really amazing deal, something like $800 a month. Of course, The New School is in NYC, a major draw, but it's also expensive to live there ...

Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks all.

Miss Parker said...

Finally just emailed the last three programs I've yet to hear from. By the end of the day my waiting game will finally be over...and that feels awesome.

Pending rejections from: U Maryland, WVU, and BGSU

McBrizzo said...

Final Information for Seth (Never Posted)


Univ. of Arkansas -- Accepted and Attending
New York University -- Waitlist
Western Michigan University -- Waitlist
North Carolina State University -- Waitlist
Univ. of Washington -- Rejected
UC-Irvine -- Rejected
Univ. of Iowa -- Rejected
Southern Illinois University -- Rejected

Tim said...

xavier, I live in New York and know two poets who were/are MFA students at the New School. For what it's worth, they both think the program is overrated and overpriced. On two occasions I went to open houses there. Both times I received the impression that faculty members gave students very little attention outside the classroom.

I hope that's helpful. Good luck with your decision.

many many birdies said...

is seth really compiling these lists that everyone posts?

Pema D said...

a woman in my bookclub left the new school's program after the first year to complete her mfa (poetry) at mills. she said she was really disappointed by the lack of community at TNS (which she cited as the failure of the admin-- at the beginning of the year she planned a pizza party for all the students to meet and greet, since the school apparently hadn't done something like that on its own accord).
all i know is that she loved mills, and actually continues to work there now. oakland and the east bay are awesome, and SF is of course right there as well. i moved from NY to SF, so of course i may be biased, but i think you get more for your money over here.
best of luck!

Pema D said...

xavier, just to clarify, she didn't just leave the program bc she was disappointed in the lack of community. she also felt there was a lack of diversity, and just all around didn't think the program was worth it. it wasn't the experience she wanted (and that can be a very personal thing).

Unknown said...

@ megan

congrats on your decision! what did you learn at the prospective student day that sealed your decision?

what genre are you? i've been accepted in poetry, but wasn't able to attend since i'm living in spain

have you been offered funding? do you know if anyone has?


Constance Culver said...

I have a dilemma- for poetry I have been accepted to the following programs:

-Brooklyn College
-UMASS-Amherst w/ full funding (T.A.)
-University of Miami w/ full funding (T.A.)

My first choice was Amherst, due to faculty, ranking, etc. However, the thought of Miami has been growing on me. I've never been there and truthfully never desired to until I got the T.A. and then I was like, I could get used to life if all I had to do was write and go to the beach!

I love the faculty at both Amherst and Miami. I am not too familiar with the Brooklyn College faculty, but going there would be really easy since I already live in Brooklyn ( and on the same train line!) I could keep my apartment and my job (waiting tables) and since it is relatively cheap I could do it without changing my life much.

But, I have been in NYC for 4 years now, and have no problem leaving for a while. So it is probably Amherst or Miami. Now, the monetary package is about the same I think, but in Miami you only have to teach the second year, and you actually get to teach Intro to Creative Writing instead of just Comp or Rhetoric. At Amherst you have to teach from day one- and its a three year program! I know some people are keen on that but I was sort of gearing myself up for a two year program.

I already know Amherst and the Northampton area well as I grew up 40 min. away. So I have an old dreamy nostalgia, but also a love/hate relationship with New England. I have never been to Miami so I could love it or hate it. However, it would be cheaper to live in and since it's a city the transportation would be adequate and I wouldn't need a car like I'm afraid I might in Massachusetts. And I would have more free time for a second job or even fun (gosh!) in Miami, at least the first year. And I wouldn't necessarily be confined to a college town like I would in Amherst.

Then again, moving to Amherst would be a lot cheaper, my family would be nearby, and when I drove up to visit yesterday the sky was dark and glorious with ecclesiastical rays of sun ripping through the clouds, and there at the end of the bridge was a huge weeping willow, my favorite tree ever.

help, anyone?

Unknown said...


what's your email address?

i'm a former UMass student. Could provide some info.

Constance Culver said...


that would be fantastic.

Seth Abramson said...


Yes. I have 700 total or partial lists at this point.


Lisa said...

@constance I am also considering U Miami (for fiction). I just visited and the campus is beautiful. Just to warn you, it is a pretty car-heavy city. There is a train but it does not cover much of the area (though there is a stop right by campus).
My other main choice is LIU -- anyone have any inside info on that program? It is very new and therefore doesn't have a reputation yet. Wondering if anyone has some insight. So, Constance, I am also Miami v NYC and pulling my hair out trying to decide.

Any help or advice would be very appreciated!

(I also got into George Mason, SAIC, CA College of the Arts - but so far no offer of funding...and I'm waiting to hear from Brooklyn College which was one of my top choices...worried since I haven't heard anything yet!)

Constance Culver said...


I am so mad i didn't plan a trip out there to visit. now it is too late but i'll try to get an idea through your eyes...

What did you think about the surrounding area and the city itself? Also, did you get to sit in on a class or talk to any students?

I don't know much about LIU but I have walked past the campus (at least one part of it, which is located in Brooklyn) Honestly, it's kind of in a crappy location, although the good thing about NYC is you go a few blocks and you are in a cool neighborhood, so...

many many birdies said...

@ kathleen

For me, it was meeting the faculty and the current MFA students. I'm also in poetry. I met two of the poetry professors (one is on leave), and they were just so very approachable, and friggin' SMART. I felt like my writing improved just talking to them for a few hours. They seemed genuinely really excited about their job as professors, and I also personally agree with what seemed like the "philosophy" that was expressed by all the faculty I met. Also, all of this matched the vibes I had gotten from talking to faculty on the phone and reading about the program, so I felt like I could trust the vibe, if that makes sense.

The other poetry students were also so welcoming and so excited to meet me, but also seemed really serious about their lives as writers. Again, I felt like they expressed feelings about their writing lives that match my own philosophies. They seemed like people I could happily work with for three years. When I sat in on a class, I met all the other poets in the program, and read samples of all their current work - and it was all the kind of poetry I myself like to read. Everyone's work also seemed of a high caliber - I got the sense I would be challenged in the program. The workshop was run in a very supportive way; people were given serious feedback, and there wasn't a lot of hand-holding or complimenting, but it still felt supportive and helpful, as opposed to cutting.

I also enjoyed the company of the prospective poetry students who would be in my cohort. I know you can't really know someone in just a day, but I thought it was a good sign that I liked hanging out with them for the day.

There were other factors - the location and the campus fit what I'm looking for, as does the size of the program - but visiting made me feel like the program was "right" for me.

What schools are you deciding between, if you don't mind my asking? I can imagine it's hard to make a decision when you're so far away and can't visit...

many many birdies said...

@ Kathleen,

I realized in my gushing I didn't answer your question about money. :) I was not offered any funding for this year, but, because I live in-state and already have a job I can keep, going part-time is a feasible option for me, which is what I'm going to do. "part time" at UNH is taking two classes a semester for three years, which is "full time" for a lot of other schools, so I'm not worried about it.

The other prospective poetry students I talked to said they had not received any funding either, except for one person who said she had been giving a partial tuition remission, but she didn't say how much.

Unknown said...

@ megan

thanks so much for your comments. i have spoken to one of the professors and felt very comfortable with him.

i'm deciding between unh, sfsu, and vcfa low-res. i'm on the ncsu waitlist. all programs appeal.

unh for the faculty and program size. sfsu for the poetry culture and lit mag opportunities, vcfa because i could more or less design my own course of study and stay here in spain. if i get off the waitlist, ncsu has a great faculty and also offers teaching opportunities.

any advice?

also, since you know new hampshire, what is the job market like?


many many birdies said...

@ Kathleen,

I don't know anything about sfsu, vcfa or ncsu - but it sounds like you have some great choices!

job market probably depends on what kind of thing you're looking for. When I spoke with faculty/students, they said a lot of people in the mfa program do part-time things like working in a coffee shop or a retail shop -- however, the university is pretty big, and the area is relatively small (ie, no big cities nearby), so I would imagine that the job market for that kind of work is somewhat competitive. Seems like there can only be so many coffee-shop jobs for all those grad students.

Otherwise, the seacoast area of NH is definitely busier in terms of industry and job opportunities than the rest of the state. We're definitely feeling the troubled economy, but I don't think NH is faring any worse than any other part of the US - at least, as far as I can tell. I haven't read any statistics on this.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone on here know any details about the funding at University of New Orleans (UNO). Or other enticing information about the school, aside from the location? Seth lists the funding in the 50-66 slots as "better than average."

Looking back at old entries, I saw someone going by Perpetua got in for Fiction, but at time of acceptance funding was pending.

KTB said...

@ megan

I am 90% sure that I will also be attending UNH in the fall for fiction (Just waiting for one more program to tell me they're not going to give me money). I'm currently in Tennessee and I wasn't able to go to the prospective student day, but I have been able to exchange emails with a current professor and some current UNH students. They are so nice and genuine, and all the professors are very honest about how UNH sucks at the money game. I feel that if I went to UNH there wouldn't be much snippiness about who got money and who didn't, and I honestly really don't have the time to deal with politics like that.

Anyway, If there's anyone who is also going to attend UNH in the fall, my husband and I are looking for roommates, so please let me know! New Hampshire is way more expensive than Tennessee and I'm kind of worried about it.

many many birdies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GlobalGothicGirl said...

Hey UNH Poetry People,

I'm waiting on one other school to get back to me before I finally decide on UNH. I'm also doing my best to land the right job on-campus in order to afford the program. If part-time at UNH is 2 classes/semester, what is considered full-time? I'm an international student; I need to be full-time, but I'll also have to work 20 hrs/wk. Do you guys think my plan is crazy? Everything depends on getting the job, so I guess I can freak out later.

I wasn't able to attend the April
2nd visit either, but I enjoyed reading your experiences. I have a friend in the program, and she speaks nothing but praise for the professors and her peers.

I'd love to get in on the UNH Poetry chat circle. You can contact me at globalgothicgirl at yahoo dot ca

Yes -- "ca" not "com" -- I'm Canadian -- not so "international" -- but I go through the exact same red tape as someone from China.

Congrats all who got into UNH -- may we have the financial power to survive and thrive in the program.

Unknown said...

Hi All - is anyone else still waiting on a response from schools?

I have yet to hear from Bennington or Lesley.

Kate said...

Holy crap there is only one week left! I am entirely bugging out already, too.

Also, never heard either way from FSU. Is that normal? I guess in the world of MFA applications, nothing is normal!

frankish said...

Is this the new mailbag?

If a call today from FSU. One of the faculty left me a voicemail while I was in the air...flying back from Florida to LA. GRRRRRR. Would it have been possible to notify one day earlier than April 8? :P

Oh, well, I'll call tomorrow to find out the deal (if there's any funding, etc.). I do adore some folks on the faculty, including the person who called.

Right now, though, I figure it as a long shot and am weighing a tough decision between Houston and FIU.

Good luck to anyone still waiting!

kbtoys said...

Hey guys,

So anyone still waiting to hear from those a-holes at Brooklyn? I am, and I know it's probably a rejection. But I need to complain to someone.

Lisa said...

Yes! I am still waiting to hear from Brooklyn. It is killing me because I love that program but if I don't hear from them soon I'm going to have to accept somewhere else... at this point, though, I figure I'm probably waiting for a rejection letter... but it would give me much more closure to just know already!

Lisa said...

Also.. Can anyone give me some insight into LIU.. one of the "under the radar" programs? I could really use any additional info to help me make my decision. It's such a new program that there's very little out there in terms of reputation/alumni publications, etc.
It's pretty much LIU or U Miami at this point...those are the two programs I've gotten funding offers from...unless Brooklyn College comes through with a last minute offer or LSU accepts me off the waiting list before April 15th.

kaybay said...

MEGAN! WHAT UP?? It's all for you ;)

nattyish said...

Hey megan, congrats on your decision! I know you'll do awesomely at UNH!

many many birdies said...

yaaay more people posting over here! :P

Thanks nathaniel! the happiness hasn't worn off for me yet.

are you a committed man yourself, yet?

Chrissy Widmayer said...

Yay, megan! Congrats! I knew you were leaning that way, but it's good to hear you've finally committed! Feels good, I hope?

many many birdies said...

I just want you all to know that I, too, have really, really cool things I could be doing next year instead of getting my MFA. Like, way cooler than the things Dreux could be doing.

I'm not going to mention what these really cool things are, but rest assured, they are waaaaay cool.

Woon said...

Hey, wait a minute, this is NOT a mailbag. It's a "Programs under the radar" blog entry. (I guess mailbags aren't really mailbags either. It should be renamed "MFA App Yap" or something, because that's basically what it is--just yappin' about apps. Mailbags suggest some "Dear Abby" type questions to the blog owners.)

Nefrettiti said...

I got an email from Pacific University Oregon, I've been accepted for their Low Residency program beginning June this anyone else here trying for Low Residency Programs

Ashley Brooke said...

Megan... LOL.

sarah said...

Question: did Arizona call everyone who got accepted, or did some people get letters? A letter was mailed from AZ to my home address in Texas weeks ago, but my mom mailed it to me without opening it. Now it's lost somewhere between there and here, and I'm wondering if I should just assume it's a rejection? They haven't called me.

Nancy Rawlinson said...

New mailbag is up, y'all.

McKeen said...

Under the radar programs...

I'm going to gush here about my Rutgers-Camden MFA Creative Writing experience.

I'm about halfway through this two-year old program. Its newness puts it "under the radar," I suppose, and if that's the case, I strongly recommend that talented writers take advantage of that, and join us while it is.

My work and study has been primarily Creative Nonfiction, and I've found the fulltime staff, guest instructors, array of invited writers - and fellow studying writers - in that, and other genres, engaged and helpful, and, with a frequency that speaks to the creation - not just of an excellent, challenging program - but of a supportive writing community, very often inspiring.

The place? The school's across the river from Philly, a hop from NYC, and just as short a hop from rural Amish PA, Poconos skiing, and about an hour from Ocean City and Atlantic City, for poets who play blackjack or look for inspiration on the beach, though I can attest that the house has more than a small edge.

But forget my foray above into travel advertising copy: what's going on in Camden at Rutgers, on campus and off, the thinking, the writing, the sharing, the classroom, the writers visiting from all over the country for readings and discussion with us, and, sure, the wine, beer, and food, is why I applied and may have to concoct reasons to give the program director, Lisa Zeidner, why I have to extend my stay.

Told you I'd gush. Yeah, I love this MFA program, and recommend it.

Jay McKeen

Romach said...

I am wondering about Drew University's MFA program. Although it's new, since 2008, is it on the radar as being a good or an excellent program?

Unknown said...


Check the Drew program website for info on the faculty @ Drew..just to get a start on whether or not Drew's program is of interest to you. What have they published and there specialties? Also, check with director/ contact person for the program. That person may point you toward a contact with an actual student in their program who can answer your questions.

Good luck.

Unknown said...

the oxford master of studies in creative writing results are out. why is this program so competitive? only 12 students got in from a pool of 250 applicants. sucks... i know. cambridge and harvard dont have creative writing masters programs, do they? i was waitlisted but didnt get in

R. MacManus said...

Just an fyi: I'm an undergrad at PSU, and the nonfiction faculty is fantastic.

Seth Abramson said...


M. Adam Murphy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sally Jane said...

Another "Program Under the Radar" to add to the list: Stony Brook Southampton College MFA in Writing Program. They are a fully-accredited SUNY program and are the sponsors of the Southampton Writers Conference. Their website is

baowrites said...

Does anyone know or heard anything about the Writers' Institute at CUNY? It's not an MFA program per se but a yearlong program taught by editors.