All application materials must be completed and received by Feb.1 if you wish to be considered for an MFA program-sponsored graduate assistantship (or “G.A.”). Please include a résumé with the application materials you send to the MFA program. Provide any information that best describes your skills and experience, including (but not limited to, and not necessarily in this order):
- Education (any specific or special studies, experiences, or projects?)
- Tutoring, teaching, or mentoring skills, experience
- Editing/publishing experience (print journal, newspaper, web, etc.)
- Communication skills (including social media/networking)
- Tech skills (InDesign, web editing programs, Photoshop, other Adobe software; experience with Microsoft office or Apple iBooks Author?
- Any other skills/experiences you’d like to emphasize
- List 3 references (those submitting your letters of recommendation)
Applications received by Feb.1, and selected for acceptance to the MFA program, will then be reviewed to determine applicants that will be offered MFA-sponsored assistantships. Faculty committees (in each genre) review these applications holistically, based on the quality of the writing sample, potential for graduate study in an academic setting, and depth of experience (as reflected by the applicant’s statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, transcripts and résumé). The committee then ranks the accepted applications. When rankings are complete, the MFA Coordinator contacts applicants to make assistantship offers or to discuss and clarify a candidate’s placement on an assistantship waiting list. Once offered an MFA G.A., the applicant is encouraged to make a decision as soon as possible, but a final decision will be due no later than April 15.
There are three kinds of assistantships available to our graduate students:
Most MFA-sponsored first year graduate assistants (or “G.A.s”) are assigned hours as “writing consultants” in the university Writing Center. Other MFA G.A.s divide their hours between the Writing Center and the MFA/Arts & Letters office, the Flannery O’Connor Review office, or our teaching writing in the schools Early College project. MFA-sponsored graduate assistantships include a stipend (current stipend is $8,600 per year) and full-tuition remission (but does not include mandatory student fees and, unless eligible to be waived, mandatory student insurance). The GC Budget Office posts current tuition and fees; information about student insurance is available at United Healthcare.
Teaching Fellowships require a secondary application process, due to additional credentials required for teaching college-level classes. Students who have been awarded MFA-sponsored G.A.s are eligible to apply for a Teaching Fellowship if a) they already hold an M.A. in English, or b) they have completed 18 hours of graduate credit in English, in addition to meeting other criteria. MFA students who are eligible will apply to the Department of English and Rhetoric (submitting materials through www.gcsujobs.com or some other means, as determined by the Chair). Note: Students awarded an MFA G.A. may retain their G.A. if they are eligible but not selected for a Teaching Fellowship. However, eligible students on MFA G.A. are expected (in most cases) to teach their second and third years.
In addition, other university assistantships outside the MFA program may be an option for students accepted to our program (typically, these G.A.s offer a lower stipend but still include a full in-state or out-of-state tuition waiver). The MFA coordinator will discuss this option with applicants accepted to the program but who do not receive an MFA-sponsored G.A.
Scholarships and other Financial Aid
Some MFA scholarships (subject to funding availability) are awarded, in addition to the stipend and tuition waiver, to students on MFA-sponsored assistantships. The program coordinator will discuss these awards (if available) with students offered MFA G.A.s. ALL enrolled and returning university students (in good academic standing) can apply for other scholarships (some related to the MFA in Creative Writing program, some not), such as the Flannery O’Connor Alumni Scholarship and the Dorrie Neligan Creative Writing Scholarships.
Student loans are also available to MFA students through the university Financial Aid Office. Whether or not you’re interested in applying for a student loan, accepted applicants may wish to complete the student loan FAFSA application. Discuss your options with GC’s Financial Aid Office.
Quick Info For Assistantships:
- In 2016-2017, 24 of 26 MFA students have assistantships. Fourteen second- and third-year students are Teaching Fellows; seven first-year students have MFA Graduate Assistantships (GAs); three have other university assistantships.
- MFA GAs include a stipend and full tuition waiver (in-state OR out-of-state tuition).
- Applicants offered MFA GAs are encouraged to make a decision early but final decisions are due by April 15.
- MFA GAs are assigned hours in the Writing Center (some GAs split hours with another assignment in our program).
- Students awarded MFA GAs apply to be Teaching Fellows their second year (if eligible) through a separate process via the Department of English and Rhetoric.
- MFA GAs usually earn 18 hours in ENGL graduate credit their first year (required for Teaching Fellow eligibility).
- Teaching Fellows are typically assigned CORE classes (ENGL 1101, 1102) and ENGL 2208: Intro to Creative Writing.
- Stipends for assistantships are paid in four equal installments each semester (fall/spring).
- Assistantships do not cover required student fees or student insurance (may be eligible to waive).
MFA students are eligible for a variety of scholarships, some related, some not related, to Creative Writing, as well as student loans.