Creative Writing Program at Purdue University

With the university being famous for having strong engineering and science programs, Purdue’s creative writing program is largely overshadowed. Still it attracts many applicants each year because of its strong academic program and the fact that the faculty members are established authors and poets. Department of English conducts the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) program in Creative writing.

Purdue’s main campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. Other campuses are located at Calumet, Westville, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.

The writing program has noted authors and poets are faculty members, so students can learn from them about the theoretical aspects of writing as well as the practical. Patricia Henly, whose novel Hummingbird House was a finalist in 1999 National Book award is a faculty of fiction at Purdue. Other faculty member include: Porter Shreve and Sharon Solwitz. Marianne Boruch and Donald Platt both noted poets are faculty members for poetry. Bich Minh Nguyen, a noted Asian American author is continuing lecturer.

The M.F.A program is a three-year program where students can design their study plans to suit their needs. The program is flexible, allows students to explore their interests and provides personal attention from the faculty. As for the course work, students have to take:

Craft and theory of fiction or poetry for 3 hours

Four workshops in fiction or poetry (12 hours)

Five other departmental and university electives including an optional course in another art form (15 hours). (Purdue University, 2006)

You know that all good things in life have a price attached, right? Getting M.F.A from Purdue, if you are a full time in-state student, will cost you around $3,548.00 per semester (2006/7 fall/Spring). For out of state students, it is around

$10, 633.00. Purdue has good financial assistance and assistantship programs for graduate students. For the creative writing students, there is a teaching assistantship which “provides a stipend of approximately $11,600 for ten months, remission of tuition and most fees, plus merit raises”.(Purdue University, 2006). Also there is a merit fellowship which provides tax free stipend of $13,000 for a year with remission of tuition and fees. Since West Lafayette’s living cost is quite low, you can expect to survive in the stipend. For more information about financial aid, visit:

Getting back to academics, to be awarded the M.F.A degree, students must submit a thesis, which can be a book length novel, or a collection of poetry or work of fiction.

The writing department has an ongoing admission policy, the admission committee begins reading the applications in late fall for the coming fall session. To apply, visit: .

It is a good idea to get to know the school and the faculties before you make any decisions. If you would like to contact the graduate students, visit , where students are listed according to field of specialization. To contact the faculty, visit: .


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