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MFA or MA needed to teach creative writing

by Angela
(Seattle)

Do you think I will be more successful acquiring a teaching position with an MA or an MFA degree? I have applied to several MFA programs in the US and Canada, and I want to teach creative writing at the college or university level.


ANSWER:

Initially, you will have a difficult time acquiring a university teaching position with either an MA or an MFA, as most universities and community colleges advertise for candidates holding a PhD.

With either an MFA or an MA, you'll be more successful if you apply to teach creative writing in a high school or private college.

As your reputation as a writer grows, that will change. I know several university creative writing professors who teach with a masters degree. Some have an MA, others an MFA.

If you have an MFA, you are limited to teaching writing classes, both composition and creative writing.

With an MA you can also teach literature courses, which could make you slightly more valuable to a smaller college, as they could hire one instructor to teach composition, creative writing, and literature.

As more universities offer PhD programs in creative writing, it will likely become even more necessary to have a PhD.

Having said that, and presuming you hold an advanced degree of some sort, your reputation as a writer will always be the deciding factor.

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