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  1. How does the religious dimension of your MFA affect the program?
  2. Would my creative writing project have to have overt, Christian themes, symbols, situations?
  3. Does the MFA have to be finished in 2-3 years or can a student take longer?
  4. Do we accept transfer credits?
  5. Do we require any standardized testing?
  6. Can you look over some of my published work before I apply?
  7. Is there any possibility of taking coursework in multiple genres?
  8. Will there be exposure to other genres during the course of the program?
  9. Can I enroll concurrently in the MFA program and the SPU teaching certification program?
  10. Where can I find tuition information?
  11. Do you accept people who already have an MFA degree?
  12. Am I too old to be considered for admission into your program?
  13. I'm worried about the timing of the residencies. What can you tell me?
  14. Does your program have a teaching practicum?
  15. Is the MFA considered a terminal degree?
  16. You ask for two letters of recommendation from those who can speak to my writing abilities and one from an academic perspective. I can't meet that requirement. What do I do?
  17. Are scholarships available?
  18. My previous degrees were not in literature or creative writing. Will that hurt my application?
  19. I haven't really produced much creative writing, but I want to. Should I apply to your program?
  20. I haven't published anything. Will that make my application less competitive?
  21. Must I apply only for the August residency/fall academic quarter start to the program?

1) How does the religious dimension of your MFA affect the program? Here's what we write in our brochure: "Our program seeks to extend the tradition of Christian writing in which the highest standards of art, an open-eyed exploration of human experience, and a respect for transcendent mystery come together." We take all three of these elements seriously: aesthetic excellence, unblinkered passion to understand the truth of human life, and an openness to faith in God. This means that our program will be as rigorous as any in the nation--our interest in religion will in no way induce us to take any intellectual or literary "short cuts." But part of our program will involve reflection on writing as a spiritual practice as well as the particular issues that writers of faith must struggle with. All MFA students will take an introductory course on "Art and Faith" in their first residency to raise a series of profound spiritual and aesthetic questions. Optional lectures and worship services will also be available to students at the residencies.

2) Would my creative writing project have to have overt, Christian themes, symbols, situations? Absolutely not. No restrictions will be placed on the subject matter of the work produced in the MFA. Most of what is called "Christian fiction" today is little more than genre fiction with didactic religious messages tacked on. Our program is dedicated to the creation of serious, enduring literature, work that can be read by educated people whatever their religious convictions. The creative writing produced in our program is destined for the public square, not a religious subculture.

3) Does the MFA have to be finished in 2-3 years or can a student take longer? A student may take leaves of absence from the program. No leave of absence may involve more than three consecutive quarters of the normal academic year. This means that you can take up to five years to complete the degree, though we do not recommend this course of action. After either four consecutive quarters of absence or five years, whichever comes first, the student would have to re-apply to the program and start afresh.

4) Do you accept transfer credits? No. Because each writing program is different, we would like the student to fully engage in the experience and process of writing within the SPU MFA.

5) Do you require any standardized testing? No. In order to assess an applicant's abilities as a writer, our program places the heaviest emphasis on the creative writing manuscript.

6) Can you look over some of my published work before I apply? We welcome you to submit an excerpt of your published work as part of your application, but we cannot read any of your writing prior to your application submission.

7) Is there any possibility of taking coursework in multiple genres? Yes. However, plan to extend your studies by one extra year. Studying two genres will require more time than the normal two-year schedule allows, considering the rigor of the program.

8) Will there be exposure to other genres during the course of the program? During the residencies we require that students attend a certain number of classes in their chosen genres. When that quota is met, students are free to attend any class of their choice. There will be opportunity to attend workshops, plenary sessions, readings, and lectures dealing with each type of genre.

9) Can I enroll concurrently in the MFA program and the SPU teaching certification program? Yes. Our low-residency structure is conducive to those students who wish to maintain their full time jobs or continue in another area of graduate work. However, students should keep in mind that our program requires a minimum of twenty five hours of MFA work per week in order to be successful in the program. For further details, please visit the "Degree Requirements" page on this website.

10) Where can I find tuition information? The MFA web page contains the tuition breakdown and is the most detailed resource. Click here or select the "Admissions" tab on the home page. There you will find a link to the tuition page.

11) Do you accept people who already have an MFA degree? Yes. Our program will provide students with a unique experience, thanks to our interest in the relationship between art and religious faith.

12) Am I too old to be considered for admission into your program? Low-residency MFAs are perfect for so-called "mature" students. Typically, a large percentage of students in these programs are in that category. So, no, there is no age limit for applying to our program.

13) I'm worried about the timing of the residencies. What can you tell me? Please keep in mind that making a commitment to a program like the MFA may require you to ask employers for extraordinary leniency in terms of when you attend our residencies. We know that the March residency, in particular, may not coincide with the variety of different spring breaks around the country. Remember that a total of five residencies are required to complete our program. The dates for the next two residencies are: March 20-30, 2014, and July 31-August 10, 2014.

14) Does your program have a teaching practicum? No.

15) Is the MFA considered a terminal degree? Yes. The MFA has traditionally been considered the terminal degree for those who wish to teach creative writing at the college level.

16) You ask for two letters of recommendation from those who can speak to my writing abilities and one from an academic perspective. I can't meet that requirement. What do I do? Just try to get the three best letters you can get.

17) Are scholarships available? Yes. A small number of partial scholarships is available, and will be awarded based on the merit of an applicant's writing. An MFA scholarship cuts the total cost of the program by nearly one third, making it one of the best scholarship opportunities on the low-residency MFA market. There is no separate application to apply for a scholarship. Recipients will be notified at the time of acceptance into the program.

18) My previous degrees were not in literature or creative writing. Will that hurt my application? No. Your previous majors or specializations are not relevant. Writers come from extremely diverse backgrounds. The most important part of your application is the creative writing sample.

19) I haven't really produced much creative writing, but I want to. Should I apply to your program? Probably not. We're looking for individuals who have felt compelled to write creatively over a number of years.

20) I haven't published anything. Will that make my application less competitive? No. While we are interested in people who have demonstrated that they have felt driven to produce creative writing over a number of years, we do not use publication as a criterion in evaluation applications. Publication is a tricky business, so we will focus our attention on the creative writing sample.

21) Must I apply only for the August residency/fall academic quarter start to the program? No. You may apply to begin your program with the spring quarter and the March residency. In order to be considered for March admission, you must apply before November 15.

 
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