MFA in Writing & Publishing
The MFA in Writing & Publishing is a two-year residential program at VCFA. We give writing students the tools to write books and survive in the publishing scene long after graduation.
About the Program
Semester Start Dates:
- Fall Semester Start: September 3, 2019
- Spring Semester Start: January 21, 2020
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Who is it for?
This program is ideal for those who seek a rigorous, holistic education in what it means to be a writer. Our students flex their muscles in a variety of genres and forms and get hands-on experience with the publishing industry. Our program attracts new and emerging literary voices from the US and around the world.
How will your practice develop?
Throughout your two years in Vermont, you’ll take a publication from start to finish, working directly with agents, editors, publishers, and designers. You’ll emerge with confidence in the skills and contacts you’ve made and a degree you can use for life as you continue to interrogate the literary world.
The MFA in Writing & Publishing is a two-year residential program focused on artistic innovation, industry-facing pedagogy, cross-discipline and cross-genre opportunities, and a diverse and renowned faculty with multi-genre publishing experience.
Our personalized curriculum involves close mentorship, social interaction between faculty and students, and individualized thesis work. Our classroom model combines the best of workshop and studio-art traditions, along with modular scheduling, where faculty members rotate through to teach short, intensive courses focused on specific craft areas.
Students gain hands-on work and writing practice in our Publishing & Fieldwork course and through Directed Study opportunities and internships. We offer students the chance to work on VCFA’s literary magazine, Hunger Mountain, study the history of publishing, and network with industry leaders and writers.
Our program’s structure reinforces what authors already instinctually know: that individual ideas often determine genre from one project to the next. Our students can specialize in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and playwriting or take advantage of cross- and hybrid-genre thesis options and courses organized thematically or by craft element. Our workshops are designed with diversity in mind, delivering a wide variety of tastes and aesthetics. After all, a poet’s eye on a story can be invaluable, as can a fiction writer’s eye on memoir.
Sample Fall Semester Morning Schedule
|9 am – 12 pm||Critical Essay Section 1 (graduating students)||Craft Module Section 1||Forms (first-year students) or Thesis Seminar Section 1 (graduating fiction students)||Craft Module Section 1||Publishing & Fieldwork Sections 1 & 2|
Our students make the entire VCFA campus their studio and office, from the stacks of Gary Library, to the lush college green, to the comfy couches of Café Anna.
Paul Daniel Ash | 2019 MFA in Writing & Publishing
“Here’s my ‘studio’ amid the 300 stacks (‘sociology and anthropology,’ ‘social processes,’ ‘factors affecting social behavior’) in the basement of the Gary Library. It’s secluded, because people hardly ever search for books in the stacks in this day and age, but I can still go upstairs and connect with humans when I need a break. There’s something about being surrounded by books that gives me an enormous feeling of tranquillity. “
Justin Bigos | faculty, MFA in Writing & Publishing
“I’ve attached a photo of me in my VCFA work space, the Gary Moore office at Gary Library. I enjoy this space, in part, because of the photos and bust of my favorite US president, Abraham Lincoln. I’m currently working on a novel that requires historical research, and Lincoln reminds me that history never ends—it’s right here with us.”
Student & Faculty Work
By the Numbers
Hunger Mountain is an annual print journal of the arts, housed at VCFA. We publish fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, visual art, graphic design, young adult/children’s writing, and literary miscellany.
Certificate in Publishing
Jumpstart your publishing career with this one-semester, 15-credit program on the VCFA campus.
Check out Front Matter, the MFA in Writing & Publishing program’s blog, to get a student’s-eye view of life at VCFA.
Can this program be done remotely or online?
The MFA in Writing & Publishing program (W&P) is Vermont College of Fine Arts’ one fully residential program. Students live on or near campus and attend classes Monday through Friday.
I write poetry AND fiction. Do I have to choose? Can I study writing for young adults in the program? Or screenwriting or playwriting?
The MFA in Writing & Publishing is an interdisciplinary program. Through our modular classes students are exposed to the novel, short stories, memoir, essays, poetry, screenwriting, editing, and more. Students can concentrate on fiction, poetry, screenwriting/playwriting, and/or creative nonfiction. We have core faculty who write and teach in all four of these genres every semester. You can pursue studies in young adult literature, primarily through modular coursework, although we can’t guarantee it will be offered every semester.
Students are expected to explore a wide variety of forms, thereby giving them a strong foundation for a career in writing and publishing. In their final year when they work on their thesis, they will focus solely on their area of concentration, for instance a collection of poetry or a section of a novel. Past students have completed thesis work in young adult literature, and in these cases we are sure to match them with an appropriate thesis advisor for their project.
How does this program prepare me for a career in writing and/or publishing?
Since the best way to get published is to be the strongest writer you can be, this program’s intense focus on craft will help you build the writing muscles you need to have a successful creative career, be prepared for the publishing and academic job markets, and engage as a practitioner with literary communities. Also, we offer courses, workshops, and talks on different aspects of the publishing industry such as starting a small press, running your own literary magazine, directing a literary arts nonprofit, publishing law, freelancing, editing, ghostwriting, and connecting with literary agents and agencies.
Can I teach at the college level with this degree?
Yes! The MFA in Writing & Publishing is a terminal degree, which means it’s the highest degree you can earn in the field. This allows you to teach on an undergraduate and graduate level. This career choice will be explored throughout the program.