View Full Version : Unique Master of Fine Arts (Writing) Degree Program at Fairfield University

05-04-2008, 07:07 PM
I have no idea where to post this, so mods, please move it as needed.

I get emails from my undergrad school all the time. Recently, I got one that included information on Fairfield University's new Masters of Fine Arts in Writing (fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction). If I didn't have 3-year old triplets, I'd definitely do it. It sounds so cool. I thought I'd share the info in case anyone else is interested.

Here's the info from the main page of the website:

Fairfield University's low residency MFA in Creative Writing (pending state approval) is a two-year program leading to a Master of Fine Arts with concentrations in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. The program supports your dream of becoming a writer by offering you an opportunity to study and develop your craft under the guidance of a skilled and caring faculty mentor, while at the same time allowing you to maintain the continuity of the rest of your life - your community, career, and family.

The two-year program involves four exciting and rigorous 10-day residency periods at inspirational Enders Island (http://www.fairfield.edu/mfa_residency.html), off the coast of Mystic, Connecticut. Between residencies, you will spend the five-month terms studying and working closely with a single faculty mentor, sending packets of your writing through postal or electronic mail, and receiving detailed and helpful critiques, advice, and encouragement. Each semester, you will be paired with a different faculty member, which, over the course of your two years in the program, gives you various perspectives on and help with your writing.

The program is rigorous, requiring students to devote a minimum of 25 hours each week to your writing and directed reading. However, it is also flexible to your needs and interests. Under the helpful advice of faculty mentors, you will establish your own educational direction, develop your own reading lists, and select courses, seminars, and genres based on your own areas of interest and talent. In your last semester, you'll work closely with one faculty member to develop a thesis of publishable quality.
Fairfield's MFA provides a truly distinguished and enriching educational experience, one that helps the writer to find his or her own individual voice. We invite you to learn more about the program's features (http://www.fairfield.edu/mfa_program_features.html), requirements (http://www.fairfield.edu/mfa_program_details.html), residency (http://www.fairfield.edu/mfa_residency.html), faculty (http://www.fairfield.edu/mfa_faculty.html), and director (http://www.fairfield.edu/mfa_message.html). Have more questions? Read our FAQs (http://www.fairfield.edu/mfa_faq.html) or contact us (http://www.fairfield.edu/mfa_contactus.html). We hope the information provided will inspire your "writer within" to register for our first residency at Enders Island in December.

Here's the link:

A. J. Luxton
05-05-2008, 06:40 AM
I went through a similar program -- the Stonecoast MFA at University of Southern Maine. I was quite happy with mine -- selected it for the Popular Fiction track, which includes SF/F, mystery, thrillers, horror, is now beginning to include some romance; in the time I was there the Popfic crowd went from about eight students and two half-time faculty to about twenty students and six-plus assorted faculty. (http://www.usm.maine.edu/stonecoastmfa/faculty/popfiction.html) (You can find the other tracks of the program from that page. I speak only on what I know, and I don't want to turn this into Namedrops-R-Us, but I'd be happy to go into detail on my experience if anyone is looking into that particular program.)

Before anyone takes such a program, I'd advise them to consider three facts: (a) it's quite costly, (b) it doesn't guarantee you a job or publication, (c) it allows you to network with the faculty and their contacts and gives you two years of time to seriously work on your writing, with advice and workshops throughout.

I considered these before I went in (on loans) and was therefore pleased with the results. I finished a book, got somewhere with the networking, improved the quality of my work and, more importantly, my working habits. Not every student in my class was as happy with their experience as I was, but essentially I think the Stonecoast folks are doing a good job.