UTPA to offer master's in creative writing
Posted: 01/31/2007
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The University of Texas-Pan American is accepting applications for the new Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program in creative writing - the only one of its kind in South Texas.

Pictured from left to right are Jose Skinner, assistant professor; Jean Braithwaite, assistant professor; Steven Schneider, professor and chair; Emmy Perez, assistant professor, Rob Johnson, associate professor; and Eric Williamson, associate professor in the UTPA Department of English.
The 42-hour graduate program, which will start fall 2007, will prepare students for careers as writers, teachers at the college or university level, editors, literary translators, and other professional careers related to publishing and creative writing.

"This degree will bring more attention to creative writing in South Texas. We intend to put this program on the map - both regionally and nationally - and will recruit the most talented and imaginative students for the program," Dr. Steven Schneider, UTPA professor of English and department chair who supervised the program's development, said. "We expect to grow a new generation of writers, many of whom will tell the stories and poems of life along the border."

The MFA program in creative writing, which is the advanced terminal degree in the field, will accept 15 new students yearly and at least three will receive financial support as graduate assistants.

UTPA's new degree program will also provide aspiring writers with the ongoing support and challenge of a workshop environment, along with individualized guidance by faculty members who are published authors, Schneider said.

The program offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and literary translation. Course requirements include 12 hours of studio workshops, six hours in the scholarly study of literary form and theory, three hours of composition pedagogy, and nine hours of literature electives. Six hours of free electives will be chosen in consultation with the student's adviser. In their final year in the program, students will prepare a creative thesis consisting of a manuscript in their chosen genre along with a critical introduction.

The new creative writing program provides further training in the art of contemporary literary writing and publishing, the artistic inspiration of other writers as peers and mentors, and a deepened understanding and appreciation of literary traditions, including those of the Rio Grande Valley and elsewhere, Schneider said.

For more information about the MFA in creative writing, contact Dr. Jean Braithwaite, MFA program coordinator, at 956/381-3421 or e-mail