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Posted (edited)

Hi! I'm new here, so please excuse any formatting errors etc.

I'm currently in a Writing MFA program (concentrating in Nonfiction), due to graduate in spring of 2020, hoping to then enter a PhD program that fall. I'm looking at programs in English and Comp Lit, preferably ones that also offer concentrations in Media and Cultural Studies. I'm a little concerned that I'll be applying with an MFA instead of an MA — do you guys have any views on this? Will it help or hurt me? For what it's worth, the program I'm in is a highly ranked one.

Thank you in advance for your help! I lurked this forum a lot when applying for my MFA and I'm excited to continue lurking (lol) as I begin my PhD journey.

 

Edit: Also! Thoughts on applying to different programs at the same school? For example, American Studies and Comp Lit at the same school. Would this be noticed and work against me?

Edited by whatsnext94
Thought of another question! :)

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1 hour ago, whatsnext94 said:

I'm a little concerned that I'll be applying with an MFA instead of an MA — do you guys have any views on this? Will it help or hurt me?

I'm afraid that the answer here is that you'll have to notify the director of graduate studies or the administrative coordinator. Some programs won't consider the MFA as equivalent. Others might expect you to show the same level of literary sophistication and knowledge as someone who has an MA. (All this means is that they might expect you to have some professionalization experience, have higher test scores, and/or show a deeper understanding of current literary discussions.)

1 hour ago, whatsnext94 said:

Edit: Also! Thoughts on applying to different programs at the same school? For example, American Studies and Comp Lit at the same school. Would this be noticed and work against me?

I'd double check with the graduate school on this. Often, this is posted on their graduate website FAQ. Some schools don't allow you to submit more than one application per graduation cycle. Others have no restriction.

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In the same boat here. You just have to do an MA, most likely - more coursework. Your lit classes may or may not transfer. Other than that, I think you're fine as long as your lit classes went well and your SoP/WS are up to par :)

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I got my MFA in 2017, and am starting a lit PhD in the Fall with no MA :) My BA also isn't in English lit. I did get a ton of rejections (I also only spent a month applying), and one of the schools I was accepted to did expect me to complete a predoctoral MA at the institution, but most PhDs will have a MA coursework built in as long as they want you/you demonstrate adequate preparation in other areas (SoP, WS), like @merry night wanderer said. I think it completely depends on where you're applying, too. It most likely just means more coursework wherever you end up. 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/28/2019 at 12:53 PM, whatsnext94 said:

 I'm a little concerned that I'll be applying with an MFA instead of an MA — do you guys have any views on this? Will it help or hurt me? For what it's worth, the program I'm in is a highly ranked one.

Not only did I not have an MA while applying (MFA in Fiction whoop!) but even my BA was in Creative Writing. Honestly, I don't think anyone cared. If your sample shows that you can do the work, you can do the work. Most of the PhDs I applied to didn't allow transfer credit, so whether your classes would have transferred or not doesn't matter as everyone begins with a blank slate.  I got A's in all my Lit classes during my MFA, so my transcript demonstrated ability to function in a graduate level English course, but honestly I think all they cared about was the sample and SoP. If you can convince them you know what you're doing when you talk about your field/project they don't seem to care if your proficiency came from a your MA or that summer you spent reading theory in a dive bar.

If you're still publishing, I've heard of some places getting iffy about non-academic writing publications, but everyone here just gets really stoked about it. The only unforeseen consequence to having an MFA is how many professors have done creative writing on the side and will definitely want to talk to you about it (which is, actually, quite nifty). 

Edited to Add: Not sure how other programs work, but in mine everyone earns another MA in their first year, even if you already had one.

Edited by M(allthevowels)H

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