The program leading to the master of fine arts (MFA) degree in creative writing is a studio/academic course of study, designed to accommodate imaginative and intellectual diversity. All of our students are fully funded and will enroll in writing workshops, forms courses, and literature classes, gaining exposure to a broad range of writing models and experimenting with a variety of strategies and forms. Guided development of each writer's talents culminates in a complete, carefully conceived thesis, typically a book-length manuscript.
Coursework is offered in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Most writers choose to focus on one area, but some balance the study and practice of two or more genres throughout the degree program, bearing in mind that at least one complete project, which might be multi-genre, must be submitted as a thesis. The program can be completed in three years. All students are guaranteed support for a fourth year of study; many take advantage of this option in order to have a year of intensive focus on the thesis project and to gain additional teaching experience.
Admitted Students Weekend
Within a month of being notified of their acceptance to the program, admitted students are invited to Tuscaloosa for a preview weekend.
Admitted students arrive on a Thursday and stay with a current MFA through the weekend. We try to match visitors and hosts by genre, so that prospective students have the opportunity to ask questions one-on-one, not just in a general theater, about the program itself, but also about everything from teaching duties to finding housing to healthcare to outdoor activities.
There is plenty of free time built into the schedule, but some highlights of the weekend are detailed below.
On Thursday night, the program in its near entirety gathers at the University Club, an elegant venue not far from campus, for libations, hors d’oeuvers, and a reading by the program’s faculty.
On Friday, admitted students will visit the Writing Center (where most will spend their first year working) for a waffle breakfast; tour the University of Alabama campus; attend a lunch and Q&A; and hear from current students who are involved in activities outside of the program.
That night, admitted students can attend a reading by current MFAs at the historic Jemison-van de Graaff Mansion and afterward, get a feel for Tuscaloosa’s night life, if they choose. On Saturday, we all gather at Sitar, a local Indian restaurant, for brunch and then a driving tour of Tuscaloosa.
Creative Writing Program Faculty Director
Robin Behn (2015-2016)
214 Morgan Hall
Creative Writing Program Assistant (a current MFA student)
Maggie Nye Smith
(May 2015 - May 2016)
Please click on the links below for more information about individual faculty members.