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How Many Years Does it Take to Get an MFA in Creative Writing?

An MFA in creative writing is a fantastic step for anyone hoping to make a career out of writing. It takes a lot of patience and dedication to complete the program, however, not all graduates will be able to land a job immediately after their graduation.

According to Norton Schools, the demand for creative writing teachers more than doubled between 2014 and 2020. The University of Montana’s graduate program in creative writing even saw a 107% increase in demand over that same period.

While a teaching certificate may not seem necessary to complete the program, most schools require prospective teachers to have some form of university degree before they can even think about teaching.

The Cost of Living Is High

The cost of living in Missoula, Montana, where the University of Montana is situated, is high. According to Youth Economics, the cost of living in Montananareas around the city of Missoula is 16.7% higher than the national average.

As a prospective graduate, you will need to think about the higher education costs that come along with the MFA degree. You will need to apply for financial aid in order to lower the costs of pursuing your education. You may also want to look into personal loans or parent loans if you can’t afford to pay for all of your college expenses yourself.

The Work Is Hard

Applicants for the MFA in creative writing at the University of Montana will need to demonstrate proficiency in both written and oral communication as well as the ability to research and compose short to medium length texts. 

According to the University of Montana, the average graduate will have to commit 9.3 hours to homework each week. In addition, they will need to take classes or workshops – such as acting, directing, or producing – that may require additional hours of work. Finally, you will need to write a thesis or a book-length project that is often times even more time-consuming than the other work involved in pursuing your degree.

Aside from the time commitment, the work involved in writing an MFA thesis or dissertation is very intensive. It’s a good idea to get a jumpstart on the process by enrolling in a MFA program in creative writing. Doing so will give you the opportunity to get your thesis or dissertation written and filed before you start teaching. This way you will be able to continue working while you complete your degree.

Only The Most Determined Will Succeed

Nowadays, a vocational degree in teaching is sufficient to become a school counselor or therapist. It is also a great step toward becoming a social worker or a nationally certified substance abuse counselor. If you want to become a full-time writer, however, you will have to decide that you’re dedicated enough to withstand the long hours and intensive workload that comes with a grad school education.

Deciding to pursue an MFA in creative writing is a big commitment. You will need to be prepared to put the time in to complete your studies and to be able to land a job as a writer once you do. While the benefits of an MFA in creative writing are many, the most important thing is that you believe you’re destined to be a writer and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.