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Craft Book Spotlight: The Insider’s Guide to Graduate Degrees in Creative Writing

This book seeks to answer both "WHICH writing program is the right choice for me?" and "IS a writing program the right choice for me?"

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The Insider's Guide to Graduate Degrees in Creative Writing

Choosing an MFA program is a big decision. Before you take the student-loan leap, it’s worth doing some serious research to find the program for you.

That’s where The Insider’s Guide to Graduate Degrees in Creative Writing comes in. Written by University of New Hampshire professor (and founder of the Best American Experimental Writing series) Seth Abramson, this guide covers MA, MFA, and phD programs in America and around the world.

But Abramson’s book is no mere directory of schools; rather, it attempts to serve as a sort of FAQ for students interested in pursuing a higher degree. Abramson answers questions on a range of subjects from funding, the application process, and finding a job after graduation. The author offers lengthy answers to tough questions like “How much does the name of the school I graduate from matter?” and “Can I negotiate for more funding, once I get a funding offer?”

Lest the subject matter fool you, Abramson isn’t higher education’s biggest cheerleader, reminding readers that an advanced writing degree may not be for everyone. When urging students not to go into serious debt over a higher writing degree, for example, he reminds us that “an MFA alone, with the academic job market as it is now, is unlikely to get anyone much more than – at best – an adjunct teaching position with no healthcare benefits or job security.”


The book closes with a series of helpful rankings based on program selectivity, funding, student-faculty ratio, job placement, and various other criteria.

Abramson admits the writing life is “a wild ride whether you apply to any of the programs discussed in this book or not,” as he writes in the book’s introduction. “I do hope to come to see me as a concerned and caring acquaintance who very much wants you to take whatever first step in your journey is right for you.”

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Originally Published