Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Poetry: Degree Program Information

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) programs with concentrations in poetry can help students further and refine their prose reading and writing abilities with traditional coursework, internships and a poetry thesis. See common coursework and the job outlook.

Essential Information

Although degree options specifically in poetry are extremely rare, low residency and Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing programs offer concentrations in the area. Low residency programs are yearly and remote, involving peer workshops and faculty mentorships. These programs may also include teaching opportunities.

Over the duration of their studies, enrollees have the opportunity to publish and perform their work and develop a full manuscript. The curriculum culminates in a thesis project comprised of a collection of poems. These programs can be completed in 1.5-2 years and require a bachelor's degree, college transcripts and relevant work samples for admission.

Master of Fine Arts Degrees in Poetry

In creative writing master's programs, students get an in-depth understanding of prose language and grammar usage, and are encouraged to explore their originality and imagination. Common course topics include:

  • Poetic traditions across cultures
  • Advanced expository writing
  • Poetry in sound
  • English poets of the 16th and 17th centuries
  • 20th century American poetry
  • Metaphysical poets

Popular Careers

Graduates are prepared for a variety of careers in several fields, including publishing, editing, education, community work and advertising. Some popular job titles are:

  • Writers
  • Editors
  • Professors

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual income of writers/authors and editors was $69,130 and $64,910, respectively, as of May 2015. English language and literature post-secondary teachers earned a mean salary of $71,210 at the same period. Over the 2014-2024 decade, employment for writers/authors and post-secondary English teachers is predicted to grow at rate of 2% and 10%, respectively.

Continuing Education

If graduates wish to go into postsecondary instruction, a doctoral degree can best prepare them for the field. Other degree options include:

  • MFA in Creative Writing - Fiction
  • MFA in Creative Writing - Non-Fiction
  • Master of Arts in English
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing and Literature

Students interested in studying poetry can earn a master's degree in the field to prepare for careers as writers, editors or postsecondary educators. While employment opportunities in the writing and editing fields are competitive, graduates may see better job prospects in postsecondary education. Graduates may also decide to pursue doctoral degrees.

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