The MFA in creative writing at Wichita State University, a program now approaching its 40th anniversary, is a three-year graduate program that aims to admit four poetry and six fiction students each year. It is a 48-hour, studio-academic program with students in full-time residence. Almost all of its MFA students are funded for three years either through graduate teaching assistant positions (GTAs) or through a fellowship. In Fall 2012, seven fiction students and two 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 almost doubled. In 2009, we had 44 applications; in 2012, we had 79. Getting into the program has become more challenging. In 2012 in fiction, 58 applications were received, the fiction faculty accepted 11, and 7 ultimately enrolled. In 2012 in poetry, 21 applications were received, the poetry faculty accepted 6, and 2 ultimately enrolled. In sum, in 2012 the acceptance rate in fiction was 19% and the acceptance rate in poetry was 29%. Information on how to apply is here.
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 MFA 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, 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, 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.
To receive the Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, a student must complete a three-year program in residence at Wichita State University that includes
Students also take a Comprehensive Examination in their last semester. This is a three-part essay exam over books chosen from a master list in consultation with the student’s final project director.
MFA Final Project
Students in both genres work during their last year with one of the faculty on completing an original body of work. For poetry students, this is at least 40 pages of publishable work; for fiction writers, this is at least 100 pages of publishable work.