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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Creative writing program ranked fifth in country

SU moves up two places in Poets & Writers magazine poll

Sept. 21, 2011, by Cyndi Moritz

Peck Professor of Literature Mary Karr works with M.F.A. students
Peck Professor of Literature Mary Karr works with M.F.A. students

The creative writing M.F.A. program in the Department of English in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences was recently named one of the top programs in the nation by Poets & Writers magazine. The program was tied for fifth place with Cornell University. SU’s program was ranked seventh last year.

“This ranking confirms something we’ve known for a long time—that our M.F.A. program, long a national leader, is among the very best out there,” says Michael Goode, associate professor and chair of SU’s Department of English. “Every top program’s faculty has garnered major prizes and recognition, but few can boast that their acclaimed faculty gives students the kind of personalized attention that our M.F.A. students receive. Year after year, the same faculty who are garnering NEA fellowships, Guggenheims, MacArthur 'genius' grants, Isabella Gardner Awards, and National Book Award nominations, are right there in our classrooms and offices working closely with the next generation of writers to hone their craft. We’re thrilled to see their demonstrated talent and dedication as writers and teachers affirmed by this important ranking.”

For the full-residency (like SU’s, meaning the students are full time and relocate to the area) rankings, 640 M.F.A. applicants were asked during the 2010–2011 application cycle where they applied for the forthcoming academic year and were surveyed about these choices. This information was combined with hard data from programs that release funding and admissions figures to the public.

The University of Iowa received the top ranking. It was followed by the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Brown University.

SU’s three-year program, which was instituted in 1992, was ranked fifth for its fiction program and ninth for its poetry program.

“It’s good to see the program get the positive attention it deserves,” says Christopher Kennedy, director of SU’s creative writing program.