The MFA international program at UNLV enables writers to begin recognizing themselves and their art in relation to a larger understanding of writing. The program’s commitment to world literature provides a unique MFA experience that differs from many traditional creative writing programs. Admitted students follow a three-year program that includes literature and writing courses, time abroad, completion of a poetry or fiction manuscript, a literary translation, and a critical essay.
In addition, the MFA program at UNLV is the nation’s only creative writing program that gives credit to students who wish to spend their time abroad in the Peace Corps. The program’s international emphasis is derived from the belief that the best writing is done by individuals who know that literature is something created from more than mere self-expression, and that great books are written by the few who know their gift is connected to the world they live in and strive to create dialogue between private imagination and public concern.
Graduates of UNLV’s MFA International program have gone on to secure tenure-track teaching jobs, gain admission to Ph.D. programs in creative writing, publish books, and enter the workforce as editors, writers, and arts administrators. UNLV also routinely supports recent graduates with part-time teaching opportunities in the department.
Every student in the MFA program is supported for three years by an annual $13,000 graduate assistantship. MFA candidates teach two courses each semester in composition and/or business and professional writing, or are otherwise given an equivalent assignment in the university’s writing center. The program also offers a few opportunities for students fulfill their graduate assistantships through administrative duties to the English department or literary editing internships with Interim. Students are paid monthly from September through May and are not expected to teach during the summer.
Additionally, UNLV’s MFA International program provides the opportunity to study the creative process across traditional borders of language and culture, giving students a more global and contemporary perspective on their craft. Students are required to spend at least one semester abroad in a non-English-speaking country. Six credits towards the degree must be earned by enrolling in a college or university abroad or by an independent study monitored by a member of the creative writing faculty. Students are encouraged to structure their time abroad in whatever way will most support the development of their writing. Those applicants with significant foreign language skills and demonstrable residency in a non-English-speaking country may have the study abroad requirement waived, at the discretion of the creative writing faculty, when admitted; those applicants will still be required to complete the full 54 credits for the degree.
The UNLV MFA International program’s Peace Corps Track is a unique and innovative way for poets and fiction writers to meet the international obligations of our program, become bilingual, and serve the current needs of the third world. Through the Peace Corps Master's International Program, students may join the Peace Corps after they enter the MFA program, complete their course work in two years instead of the usually required three, and write a dissertation during their two-year Peace Corps assignment. There is no separate admissions process for applicants interested in the Peace Corps. Applicants must first apply to the MFA program through the normal process and, if admitted, apply to the Peace Corps during their first or second year in the program. Applicants may, if they choose, indicate their interest in the Peace Corps in the personal statement portion of their application.
Visit the UNLV English Department website for more information.