The Master of Fine Arts program at Wichita State University is the twelfth oldest in the nation and one that has earned widespread respect by producing graduates who are not only well-trained writers but also well-prepared teachers of writing and literature possessing skills in editing and other related fields.
The program, now in its 40th year, is a 48-hour, studio-academic program with students in full-time residence for three years developing their skills in fiction or poetry writing. Over those three years, students take a core of workshops and tutorials as well as additional coursework in English, which leads to a final writing project -- a collection of fiction or poetry, a novel or some appropriate work. Flexibility is provided in academic coursework to allow for a variety of possible interests.
Almost all of the program’s Master of Fine Arts students are funded for three years either through graduate teaching assistant positions (GTAs) or through a fellowship. In fall 2013, five fiction students and four poetry students entered the program. Of those nine new MFA students, all are Graduate Teaching Assistants receiving tuition remission and a stipend.
Since 2009, the number of applications to our MFA program has more than doubled. In 2009, we had 44 applications; in 2013, we had 102. Getting into the program has become more challenging. In 2013 in fiction, 74 applications were received, the fiction faculty accepted nine, and five ultimately enrolled. In 2012, 19% of fiction applicants were accepted; in 2013, 12% were accepted. In 2013 in poetry, 28 applications were received, the poetry faculty accepted 11, and four ultimately enrolled. In 2012 in poetry 29% of applicants were accepted; in 2013, 39% were accepted.
The creative writing faculty poets are Albert Goldbarth and Sam Taylor. The fiction writers are Josh Barkan and Margaret Dawe.
Visiting Distinguished Writers
Every year our Master of Fine Arts students have the chance to take a one-on-one tutorial with a visiting distinguished fiction writer and poet. The visiting writers are in residence for a month in Wichita and offer a reading during that time.
Some of those who have visited in the past are: Lee Abbott, Renee Ashley, Russell Banks, Marvin Bell, Michael Blumenthal, Scott Blackwood, Sharon Bryan, Scott Cairns, Peter Cameron, Brock Clarke, K.L. Cook, Ann Copeland, George Cuomo, Richard Currey, Phil Dacey, Robert Dana, Madeline DeFrees, Rick Demarinis, Stephen Dunn, Richard Elman, Carol Frost, Greg Glazner, Deborah Greger, Ron Hansen, Michael Harper, William Hathaway, Shelby Hearon, Laura Kalpakian, Elizabeth Libbey, Jack Matthews, Michael McGriff, Jay Meek, Peter Meinke, Malena Morling, Lisel Mueller, Richard Murphy, Jack Myers, Antonya Nelson, Kent Nelson, Achy Obejas, Ed Ochester, Robert Olmstead, Eric Pankey, Bette Pesetsky, Leslie Pietrzyk, Stanley Plumley, Kevin Prufer, Bin Ramke, Nancy Roberts, Mary Elsie Robertson, William Pitt Root, Abraham Rothberg, Hugh Seidman, Bob Shacochis, Terese Svoboda, Mark Smith, Henry Taylor, Katherine Vaz, Michael Waters, Paul West, James Wilcox, C.K. Williams, Hilma Wolitzer, Richard Yates and Paul Zimmer.