Creative Writing at Mississippi State
- Master of Arts Emphasis
- Applications and Financial Aid
Mississippi State University's English Department offers classes in creative writing at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The department offers an emphasis in creative writing as part of its Master of Arts program.
Our faculty (fiction writers Becky Hagenston and Michael Kardos, and poets Richard Lyons, and Catherine Pierce) teach workshops and craft classes, and mentor graduate students as they work on their creative theses. Creative writing students have the opportunity to gain editorial experience working on Jabberwock Review, the national literary journal produced through the efforts of the Mississippi State English Department and its creative writing program.
The department and the university regularly offer readings by guest authors. Recent visitors include Brock Clarke, Martha Collins, Beth Ann Fennelly, Michael Griffith, Edward Hirsch, Andrew Hudgins, Randall Kenan, Rodney Jones, J.M.G. LeClezio, Sherod Santos, Sarah Vowell, David Wojahn, and Charles Wright. Creative writing students are provided the opportunity to read their works and to enter university, regional, and national writing competitions.
Our students have gone on to advanced study in creative writing at prestigious M.F.A and Ph.D. programs across the country, including the programs at University of Cincinnati, the Ohio State University, Western Michigan University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Southern Mississippi, and elsewhere.
They have published their work widely, in such venues as The Threepenny Review, North American Review, Quarterly West, Cimarron Review, The Pinch, The Adirondack Review, New South, Hayden’s Ferry Review, decomp, The Hollins Critic, DMQ Review, Permafrost, Third Coast, Yalobusha Review, and Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art.
The Master of Arts Program
Mississippi State’s Masters Degree in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis is a 24 credit hour course of study with an additional 6 hour thesis requirement. At least 9 credit hours are required in creative writing in combination with other courses of the candidate's choice.
Students pursuing a creative writing emphasis will write a creative thesis (a collection of poems or short stories, or a novel) preceded by a critical introduction.
All students pursuing an MA in English at Mississippi State will take the comprehensive exam during the second year of study.
[Photo: Visiting writer Kelly Magee meets with the Craft of Fiction class.]
The Creative Writing faculty at Mississippi State have published extensively in magazines and journals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, The Southern Review, Slate, TriQuarterly, Crazyhorse, and Shenandoah. They are the authors of collections of poems and stories, and their awards and honors include the Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, an O. Henry Award, scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, a Yaddo residency, and inclusion in the Best American Poetry and Best New Poets anthologies.
Applications are available from the Graduate School, 116 Allen Hall, Mississippi State, MS 39762. For more information about the graduate program in English, contact Lara Dodds, Director of Graduate Studies.
A writing sample is required of all applicants. Applicants should submit either 10-12 pages of poetry or 15-30 pages of fiction (or up to 30 pages of a combination of poetry and fiction). Mail the sample to Catherine Pierce (poetry) or Michael Kardos (fiction), Director of Creative Writing, Dept. of English, Drawer E, Mississippi State, MS 39762.