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MFA Program Overview

Welcome. The MFA Program in Writing is a two-year residency program that offers interdisciplinary approaches to verbal art. Our cross-genre curriculum allows students to explore poetry and prose and encourages the exploration of writing that falls between or beyond genre categories. The program is also distinguished by a commitment to community building, nontraditional forms of literary distribution, investigation of experimental aesthetics, and the relationships between formal innovation and ethical intervention. In that same spirit, the MFA Program in Writing values and promotes alternative pedagogy (including cross-genre studio/theory workshops), literary translation, and transborder exchange. With its diversity of methodologies, small artist cohorts, close working relationships with faculty mentors, and a collegial atmosphere, UCSD’s program is unique in the MFA landscape.

The MFA program is small, with typically 4 to 8 new students admitted each year. The intimate nature of the program allows students to work very closely with the writing faculty, as well as to receive support in the form of teaching assistantships.

The MFA in Writing is part of the Department of Literature, which also offers a doctoral program in literature that emphasizes cultural studies, gender studies, postcoloniality, and critical theory. The MFA is a terminal degree and has no progressive relation to the PhD program.

The MFA program co-exists with a thriving undergraduate writing major, and benefits from a long-established reading series and the university’s Archive for New Poetry, which holds the papers of Rae Armantrout, George Oppen, Lyn Hejinian, Susan Howe, Alice Notley, James Schuyler, Ron Silliman, and many other important figures. With strong ties to Visual Arts and other departments, and situated on one of the top-rated science campuses in the country, the program encourages its students to generate writing informed by other disciplines and media. In recognition of the diverse community we serve, our location on the border with Mexico, and the resources offered by our faculty, we look forward to offering bilingual workshops in Spanish and English as the program develops.

The MFA Program in Writing at UCSD offers students a unique opportunity to develop as writers in a community that integrates a multiplicity of collaborative, interdisciplinary, and theoretical approaches by which to complete a literary project.

Professor of Writing
Director of MFA Program