Which NYC MFA Program Is Right For You?

So, you want to get your MFA? This is a big step in a young person’s life. But how do you know what program to apply to? And, once you get in to every program you apply to—because that’s always what winds up happening—how do you know which program to attend? Here’s a handy breakdown of NYC’s top MFA programs. There are a lot of things to consider, including the writers-in-residence, the well-known graduates, the class sizes, and, of course, the cost. Because higher education doesn’t come cheap—especially in NYC. So it’s extra-important to know what you’re in for before you fully commit to being a professional starving artist-in-training.


  1. I thought Hannah Tinti went to NYU for her MFA? Actually I’m pretty sure she told me she did, which means she should at least be under the “notable alumni” for that program.

  2. I just began in the New School MFA Writing program Fiction this fall and have seen these websites touting knowledge about these writing MFA programs. I don’t really understand about “size.” My entering class at the New School this fall had approximately 80 students split between fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s literature. My workshop size, which I think is typical, is 13 students. Is that considered large?????? My seminar class is approximately the same. Our weekend electives run from 5-10 depending on popularity, but are usually on the small size. I haven’t met anyone in the program that isn’t fiercely committed to being a superb writer. As far as selectivity, we are all there because we submitted our application and writing sample as we did elsewhere, and decisions were made based on our writing samples. I believe of the schools you mention only NYU requires a GRE submission. I know Hunter and Columbia, like the New School, don’t. We have visiting authors 2-5 times a week. At times, we are invited to literary events elsewhere, including a certain university in proximity. We have a most amazing, dedicated faculty. The classrooms are comfortable. What I have learned already has been invaluable. There are opportunities offered for teaching fellowships and assistantships after the first semester. My knowledge of the writing process, of devices, of structure, voice, critique has enormously expanded, improving my own work within this short span of time. I can’t imagine a better program, quite frankly … perhaps equivalent, but not better.


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