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How Long Does a Creative Writing MFA Take?

When it comes to your postgraduate studies, where do you want to study? For those pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing (MFA), the choice of university and programme can seem overwhelming. There are so many options to choose from and so many acronyms to remember (MFA, MA, MSc). Which one is right for you? Which one can put you in the best position to succeed in your chosen field?

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the MFA in Creative Writing, including common misconceptions, how long it takes to complete and the job opportunities that await you on graduation.

The Facts

The MFA in Creative Writing is an altogether different beast to the more traditionally sports-related sports degrees such as kinesiology and sports science. While these prepare you for the physical demands of a professional sports career, the MFA teaches you how to become a better writer. You will learn how to analyze literary works and author the perfect billet-doux

Through a combination of teaching and research, your thesis for the MFA in Creative Writing will serve as the foundation for your future publications. In addition to this, you will also have the opportunity to carry out independent research in a range of relevant areas. Aspiring authors can even complete a PhD in Creative Writing and become a Doctor of Literature!

Is It Possible to Study Creative Writing in Australia?

One of the great things about the MFA is that it is quite flexible. As mentioned, you can choose to study either online or on campus. For those seeking an Australian university, you can study in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. While there are no established campuses in Darwin and Brisbane, institutions there are keen to establish such a programme. There are also options to study part-time while working, or in the morning before starting your day job. As an added bonus, you will not be required to live in a dormitory.

The best thing is that despite its flexibility, the MFA in creative writing still follows a very sound and structured course. Before delving into the nitty-gritty of what you will learn, let’s take a quick look at what is required of you on admission to the programme.

The Things You Need To Have

As you might expect from an accredited institution, the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney requires you to have a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing with a minimum of second-class honours. Your principal creative writing components will be:

  • Composition
  • Rhetoric
  • Technical Craft
  • Research
  • Linguistics
  • Creative Essay
  • Anthology
  • Dictionary
  • Fiction, Non-Fiction
  • Play, Movie, TV or Web Script

The University of Sydney also expects you to have a significant amount of completed writing samples, whether these be short stories, plays or creative non-fiction. In addition to this, your application should also include a statement of your personal and professional goals, as well as an explanation of how the MFA will help you to achieve these. Of course, if you are a complete beginner, you can take the time to figure out what kind of writer you want to become before you even start looking for a course.

Master Of Fine Arts

On completion of your MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, you will have the option of adding a second master’s degree or a PhD to your CV. Once again, the flexibility of the MFA allows you to pursue additional studies in any field related to your thesis. If you do decide to add a second master’s degree or PhD to your CV, you will need to apply for additional funding, as the MFA does not provide this support.

How Long Does It Take To Complete The MFA?

Although you can enter the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney in August 2018, you will not be able to complete your studies until October 2021. This is a four-year course with a one-year optional internship. Students on average take 3.9 years to complete the degree. This is a little longer than the normal 2.8 years required for a bachelor’s degree.

A fully-rounded MFA in Creative Writing University of Sydney will include 180 credits and include 30 hours of teaching per week. You will also need to complete 30 hours of independent study per week, in addition to your assignments for the course.

What Will You Learn?

During your MFA in Creative Writing, you will undertake both basic and applied aspects of the subject. On the basic side, you will learn the craft of writing. This will include elements from:

  • Literary Theory
  • History Of Literature
  • Theories Of Performance
  • Composition
  • Rhetoric
  • Poetics
  • Stylistics
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Diction
  • Writing For The Media

Alongside this, you will study a variety of relevant theories and concepts, as well as gain valuable insights into the creative process. This will include:

  • Psychology Of The Creative Mind
  • Creative Thinking
  • Theory Of Narrative
  • Creative Conflict
  • Theory Of Architecture
  • Creative Processes
  • Theory Of Film Studies
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Theatre Craft
  • Performance
  • Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality
  • Theory Of Games

As you can see, the MFA in Creative Writing is a very diverse subject and you will gain a broad range of skills and knowledge. If this sounds good to you, apply today!