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Graduate: Creative Writing and Literature
- Program Overview
The Creative Writing and Literature program at Stony Brook Southampton emphasizes creative work in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. However, the program also extends its emphasis beyond the familiar categories of creative expression to treat all forms of writing as equally relevant to understanding and mastering a world constructed out of words. Students are free to take workshops in all genres, in the belief that writing outside the lines informs their primary areas of interest.
Courses are taught by a full-time core faculty of three, joined by a part-time faculty of distinguished visiting writers whose teaching and lecturing assignments rotate among the fall, spring, and summer sessions. These distinguished visitors provide creative breadth to the writing program, offering coverage in areas of writing that are essential in contemporary society, in particular fiction, non-fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, and writing for children.
The 46 academic credits for the MFA program is divided among required courses that introduce students to the profession and discipline of writing and the skills necessary to teach writing to others; advanced writing workshops in a variety of writing genres; seminars designed to focus closely on an issue or type of contemporary writing; graduate-level literature courses; and an MFA thesis intended to be a publishable, book-length work. The program is offered in two academic semesters, two six-week summer sessions, and a credit-bearing writers conference.
Designed for working adults who have completed a BA and who are interested in master’s level instruction, the Certificate Program in Creative Writing is distinguished by the fact that it allows students flexibility in choice of courses and genres. The Advanced Certificate is a sixteen credit hour concentration available upon successful application to degree-seeking students who have been admitted to any Stony Brook University graduate program, as well as to non-degree seeking students who meet the requirements outlined by the Graduate School.
The Advanced Certificate in Children’s Literature accepts up to12 serious children’s book writers each year for a part-time, year-long, 16-credit course of instruction that is customized, affordable, comprehensive, and professionally useful. Certificate students work independently with outstanding faculty mentors in spring and fall terms. During summer and winter terms, they come together as a cohort, in July at the Southampton Writers Conference and in January for a special Children’s Literature Publishing and Editing Practicum. The Advanced Certificate in Children’s Literature is unique in its design, suited for the types of writers who are interested in children’s books—librarians, educators, and parents with young children. These student writers are not able to take time off or relocate to enroll in a full-time MFA program. Unlike the few children’s literature MFA programs throughout the country and in the New York metropolitan area, the Stony Brook Advanced Certificate in Children’s Literature is a flexible but coherent pathway to completion of a creative project, in only one year.
SOUTHAMPTON WRITERS CONFERENCE
The MFA in Writing and Literature sponsors the Southampton Writers Conference, an intensive program of three-credit workshops in contemporary writing that includes lectures, readings, workshops, and panels featuring nationally distinguished authors who join the department's summer faculty. Graduate students in the program will assist in planning and running the Conference, and will have the option of taking a Conference workshop for credit. The Writers Conference also encourages participation by visiting students – new writers, established writers, teachers of writing and editors – who will be admitted by application and may receive academic credit upon request.
MFA courses are regularly taught in the fall and spring semester at the Manhattan Center. The Manhattan center is conveniently located at 28th Street and Park Avenue South. The campus is easy to reach by bus, train, and subway.
THE SOUTHAMPTON REVIEW
The Southampton Review (TSR), sponsored by the MFA Program in Writing and Literature at Stony Brook Southampton, is a carefully-edited, beautifully-designed journal dedicated to publishing fine fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. TSR focuses on work by students and graduates of the MFA program and from the Southampton Writers Conference, but we do open our pages to writers from across the globe whose work is compelling. Our pages are equally devoted to writers whose voices are fresh as well as to those whose are well-established.
Application for admission to the Graduate School is made to a specific program for a specific degree. For the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, applicants must fulfill both the Graduate School admission requirements and the specific requirements for the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature. See sections I and II for details on these requirements. Application forms may be found on line at http://www.grad.sunysb.edu./prospective/applying/ index.shtml. Please note that applications for Admission to the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature are made to MFA in Creative Writing and Literature Program and not to the Graduate School.
Any materials not included in the online application, such as transcripts, should be mailed to:
MFA in Creative Writing and Literature
Stony Brook Southampton
239 Montauk Highway
Southampton, NY 11968
Application Deadline: The MFA program in Writing and Literature accepts applications for admission on a rolling basis. To receive full consideration for admission with financial support, complete admission and financial aid applications should be filed by January 1 for the fall semester.
Applicants for the MFA program in Writing and Literature must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. The program accepts applications from candidates whose undergraduate degrees were taken in areas other than the humanities.
Admission to the program is based on the evaluation of a portfolio of the applicant’s writing, made in conjunction with a review of the candidate’s entire academic career, and letters of recommendation. The portfolio may include works in any written form including fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, scripting, or other genre. Results from the Graduate Record Examination are encouraged, but not required.
In addition to the Graduate School Admission requirements, the MFA in Writing and Literature requires the following:
• Letters of recommendation from three instructors or writing professionals familiar with your written work.
• A statement discussing your reasons for graduate study (1-2 pp, submitted with the online application)
• A writing sample consisting of up to 10 pages of poetry, single-spaced, or 30 pages of prose, double-spaced (submitted with the online application). Your name should appear on the writing sample.
• A single sheet listing your address, phone number, email address, and title(s) of submission(s).
• A copy of your résumé or c.v. (submitted with the online application)
Any deficiencies in these or the Graduate School admission requirements shall not automatically bar admission, but it is understood that inadequacies in undergraduate preparation normally will require the student to take additional work, the amount to be determined by the appropriate graduate advisory committee. Additional work may not be used to fulfill MFA degree requirements.
Admission to the Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing is competitive. Students who are eligible to apply include those enrolled in a graduate degree-granting program at Stony Brook University and to students who have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university who meet the admissions criteria.
For applicants already admitted to the University, admission involves completing a “Permission to Enroll in a Secondary Certificate” form. Students also need to submit a statement of purpose and a writing sample (details below). Students are required to have an earned bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 on a 4-point scale. The following must be submitted to the Creative Writing and Literature Program:
• A statement discussing the student’s reasons for graduate study (1-2 pp, submitted with the online application)
• A writing sample consisting of up to 10 pages of poetry (single-spaced) or 30 pages of prose (double-spaced), with the student’s name on the writing sample.
Admission to the Advanced Certificate in Children’s Literature is highly competitive. Students who are eligible to apply include those enrolled in a graduate degree-granting program at Stony Brook University and to students who have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university who meet the admissions criteria.
For applicants already admitted to the University, admission involves completing a “Permission to Enroll in a Secondary Certificate” form. Students also need to submit a statement of purpose and a writing sample (details below). Students are required to have an earned bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 on a 4-point scale. The Children’s Literature program considers only applicants for admission in Spring term. The following must be submitted to the Creative Writing and Literature Program by December 1:
• A statement discussing the student’s reasons for graduate study (1-2 pp, submitted with the online application)
• A writing sample consisting of up to 10 pages of creative writing for picture book or 25 pages for chapter, middle grade or young adult.
• Letters of recommendation from three instructors or writing professionals familiar with your creative work.
- Degree Requirements
Requirements for the M.F.A. Degree in Creative Writing and Literature Program
The MFA in Writing and Literature degree requires 40 credits of course work and a six credit thesis for a total of 46 credits. Following are the specific requirements.
A. Required Introduction to the M.F.A. Program (4 credits)
CWL 500 Introduction to Graduate Writing
B. Six of the following writing workshops (24 credits)
Students select six writing workshops from the following. Individual courses under each category will be labeled according to the content of the course. Although courses may be repeated for credit, students are strongly encouraged to experiment among the disciplines.
CWL 510 Forms of Fiction
Individual courses within the fiction category will be labeled according to the form covered. For example, Short Story Collections, Beginning the Novel, Advancing the Novel, etc.
CWL 520 Forms of Poetry
Individual courses within the poetry category will be labeled according to the form covered. For example, Prose Poems.
CWL 530 Forms of Scriptwriting
Individual courses within the scriptwriting category will be labeled according to the form covered. For example, Screenplay, Playwriting, etc.
CWL 535 Writing in Multiple Genres
Individual courses within the scriptwriting category will be labeled according to the genres covered.
CWL 540 Forms of Creative Nonfiction
Individual courses within the nonfiction category will be labeled according to the form covered. For example, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, etc.
CWL 550 Forms of Professional and Scientific Writing
Individual courses within the professional and scientific writing category will be labeled according to the form covered. For example, Speech Writing, Writing in the Digital World, Writing about Science, etc.
CWL 570 Advanced Writing Workshop
This course is for manuscripts in progress across writing disciplines and is strongly recommended for students preparing to take the thesis.
CWL 575 Writers Conference
C. Two or more of the following special topic writing and literature seminars (8 Credits)*
CWL 560 Topics in Literature for Writers
CWL 565 Special Topics in Writing
CWL 588 Independent Study
*With the approval of the Writing Program director, this requirement may be filled through taking the following graduate English Literature courses offered at Stony Brook University: EGL 501 Studies in Chaucer, EGL 502 Studies in Shakespeare, EGL 503 Studies in Milton, EGL 503 Studies in Genre, EGL 520 Studies in Renaissance, EGL 525 17th-Century Literature, EGL 530 Studies in Restoration Literature, EGL 535 Studies in Neoclassicism, EGL 540 Studies in Romanticism, EGL 545 Studies in Victorian Literature, EGL 547 Late 19th-Century British Literature, EGL 550 20th-Century British Literature, EGL 555 Studies in Irish Literature, EGL 560 Studies in Early American Literature, EGL 565 19th-Century American Literature, EGL 570 20th-Century American Literature, EGL 575 British and American Literature, EGL 584 Topics in Genre Studies
D. One or more of the following practicums (4 credits)*
*With the permission of the director, a course in writing or literature may be substituted in place of the practicum requirement.
CWL 580 Practicum in Arts Administration
CWL 581 Practicum in Teaching Writing
CWL 582 Practicum in Publishing and Editing
E. MFA Thesis (6 credits)
CWL 599 Thesis
The Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing requires 16 credits of coursework. Following are the specific requirements.
A. Required Introduction to the MFA Program (4 Credits)
CWL 500 Introduction to Graduate Writing
B. Three or more of the following writing workshops or topics courses (12 Credits)
CWL 510 Forms of Fiction, 4 credits
CWL 520 Forms of Poetry, 4 credits
CWL 530 Forms of Scriptwriting, 4 credits
CWL 540 Forms of Creative Nonfiction, 4 credits
CWL 550 Forms of Professional and Scientific Writing, 4 credits
CWL 565 Special Topics in Writing, 4 credits
CWL 575 Writers Conferences, 1-6 credits
CWL 570 Advanced Writing Workshop, 4 credits
Students select three or more writing workshops or topics courses totaling 12 credits of course work. Individual topics under each category will be labeled according to the content of the course. Although courses may be repeated for credit, students are strongly encouraged to experiment among the genres.
The Advanced Certificate in Children’s Literature requires the following 16-credit sequence of four courses, two long-distance tutorials alternating with two residential courses in an intensive conference format:
CWL 510 (4 credits): Forms of Fiction
CWL 575 (4 credits): Writers Conference
CWL 570 (4 credits): Advanced Writing
CWL 582 (4 credits): Publishing & Editing Practicum in Children's Lit
These courses must be taken in sequence, starting in Spring term.
Rosenblatt, Roger, Ph.D., 1968, Harvard University: Literary Essay, Novel, Novella, Playwriting, Literature for Writers.
Reeves, Robert, Director. B.A., 1973, M.A., 1977, Harvard University: Graduate Writing, Advanced Fiction, Comedy.
Sheehan, Julie, B.A., Yale University; M.F.A., 2000, Columbia University: Poetry, Advanced Poetry, Reading & Writing Poetry, Practicum in Teaching Writing
Walker, Lou Ann, Editor-in-Chief, The Southampton Review. B.A., 1976, Harvard University: Memoir, Children’s Literature, Publishing and Editing.
Bank, Melissa. M.F.A., 1988, Cornell University: Short Fiction.
Black, Star. M.F.A., Brooklyn College: Poetry.
Botsford, Andrew. B.A., 1972, Williams College: Professional Writing.
Collins, William. Ph.D., 1971, University of California-Riverside: Poetry
Feiffer, Jules. The Pratt Institute: Humor and Truth, Screenplay
Gabler, Neal. A.M., 1974, University of Michigan, Creative Nonfiction, Biography, Essay
Hegi, Ursula. M.A., 1979, University of New Hampshire: Fiction
Jones, Kaylie, M.F.A., 1988, Columbia University: Novel, Russian Literature
Klam, Matthew. M.A., 1992, Hollins College: Creative Nonfiction
Marx, Patricia. B.A., 1975, Harvard University: Fiction, Humor.
McAndrew, Megan, M.P.P.M., 1995, Yale University: The Short Story, Voice, Writing Place, Literature for Writers, Teaching Practicum.
McCormick, Patricia. M.S., 1985, Columbia University: Young Adult Fiction.
Menaker, Daniel. M.A., 1965, The Johns Hopkins University: Fiction
Merrell, Susan Scarf. M.F.A., 2009, The Bennington College Writing Seminars: Fiction.
Emma Walton Hamilton, Children’s Literature
Wolitzer, Meg. B.A., 1981, Brown University: Fiction.