Starting Out Research; M.A.’s and M.F.A.’s

Posted on March 29, 2013


Geez took me long enough to get this post up… I started this research on Tuesday!

Before I even start looking at schools, I want to just do some preliminary research on M.A. Programs, specifically M.A. Programs in English.

When I was originally looking into M.F.A. programs for Creative Writing, I came across some very helpful articles about the top programs in the U.S. For people looking to pursue an M.F.A., I would recommend checking out The Top Fifty M.F.A.’s from Poets and Writers, along with also checking out this article about the most underrated M.F.A. programs in the country. The second article includes many schools that do not receive as much publicity. But now I am looking more at M.A.’s and these lists are not nearly as helpful. I may come back for a week to talk about some M.F.A.’s I am considering but I want to primarily focus on M.A.’s

My research began as it usually does; a google search for M.A. English Programs. The first link to pop up was this list from U.S. News. The list is similar to Poet’s and Writers list and ranking of M.F.A. programs but the list of M.A.’s can be filtered even further by the selection of a specification. The list that they give includes the following; 18th to 20th Century British Literature, African-American Literature, American Literature before 1865,  American Literature after 1865, Gender and Literature, Literary Criticism and Theory, and Medieval/Renaissance Literature. Obviously these are not the only options when if comes to choosing a specialty, just the general choices.

Many of the hits that popped up for my search were for actual universities advertising for their graduate program. This article from yahoo voices provides some good tips for what to look for when looking for a graduate school, specifically in English.

This article was really awesome in pointing out the benefits of M.A.’s and some of the drawbacks of M.F.A. John Poch from Texas Tech has many excellent points about funding and how M.A.’s can really beef up an aspiring writer’s resume. He also brings up the creative thesis option that many M.A. programs offer.

From what I gathered with my research on M.A.’s, the most important factor to consider when looking for an M.A. degree (besides the appeal that the school and program has) is funding. Funding is vital when looking at any graduate programs because a prospective student definitely does not want to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for a school that they do not necessarily need to spend that much on. In my research, I found many articles that argued against graduate school, especially in English and Creative Writing. I chose not to post to those articles because I thought that they were all incredibly discouraging and one sided. With the decision to go to graduate school, an individual is either making the decision to invest those thousands of dollars or find and institution that will fund them. IT IS THEIR CHOICE. I have decided that I want to take on the challenge of finding an institution that will fund me. I am committed. It is up to each individual student to decide what is best for them.

That being said, I will start blogging about schools now. If I find anymore articles and research that I find interesting in reference to M.A. and M.F.A. programs I will be sure to post it! Check back for my first post on a University; The University of Minnesota.