Founded in 1981, the M.F.A. program in creative writing at McNeese State University is a three year, sixty hour curriculum culminating in the creative thesis, a book length manuscript with significant artistic merit. We are a small program, which allows for lots of individual attention in a supportive yet rigorous setting. McNeese is located in Lake Charles in the heart of south Louisiana’s Cajun country.
Visiting poets and fiction writers come to campus each semester to read their own work and conduct manuscript conferences with the M.F.A. students one-on-one. Recent poetry guests include Kevin Young, A.E. Stallings, Julie Kane, and Darrell Bourque. Recent fiction writers include Ron Carlson, Antonya Nelson, ZZ Packer, Tim Gautreaux, and Robert Olen Butler. A current reading schedule is available on this website.
All of our MFA grad students work as Teaching Assistants, though the competition for these spots is quite fierce. If you are awarded a Teaching Assistantship, your tuition is waived and you receive $10,000 over the course of the academic year, paid out every two weeks when class is in session. In return for the stipend, you typically teach (or team-teach) two sections of developmental English or freshman composition. If you are assigned only one class, you will fulfill your other obligations with other duties like working in our Write To Excellence Center, teaching in our Literature Lab, or acting as a teaching assistant to senior faculty in upper level literature and writing classes. While some graduate programs pay more, many pay less, and Lake Charles is not nearly as expensive a place to live as many cities.
Earn a Master of Arts in English Literature too:
Academic courses in literature and criticism provide examples of the best that’s been done so far. It isn’t hard to choose your classes carefully and earn your MA in English during the same three-year period in which you’re working on your MFA. Though it is optional, most of our students choose to do this, thus building a broader base for their writing and professional lives.