MFA Financial Support and Cultural Opportunities
All students admitted to the MFA program are guaranteed up to four years of full financial support. All admitted students qualify for Graduate Assistantships that includes a $13,500 stipend paid over nine months and full payment of graduate tuition.
Fellowships & Scholarships
Incoming students are also considered for other awards including Graduate Council Fellowships, McNair Graduate Fellowships, and Truman Capote Scholarships. There are no separate application processes for these fellowships and scholarships: we automatically consider all prospective students for all awards.
In later years, students can apply for funding administered by the Graduate School.
The First Year
First year Graduate Assistants with less than 18 hours of graduate coursework in English have no direct responsibility for teaching; they work as tutors in the Writing Center and have a variety of other research assistant duties within the English Department such as assisting a professor or an office.
In the second year and beyond, GTAs routinely teach two courses per semester.
The Second Year & Beyond: Teaching
MFAs begin their teaching at Alabama as instructors (GTAs) of First-Year Composition, under the umbrella of the First-Year Writing Program. All through this first year of teaching, GTAs receive ongoing training and support from the department's composition specialists.
After gaining that experience, all GTAs are qualified to teach Introduction to Creative Writing; during this time, they receive pedagogical training and support from members of the creative writing faculty. After that, they have opportunities to teach Prose Writing, Poetry Writing, a range of sophomore-level American or British literature surveys, and special topic composition classes of their own design while continuing to be mentored by specialists in the field.
Because creative writers tend to make innovative and exciting instructors; the University-wide Outstanding Teaching by a Master's Student prize has often been awarded to a member of our program. Our MFA graduates' breadth and quality of teaching experience and pedagogical expertise make them highly marketable as teachers.
The Second Year & Beyond: Other Funding Opportunities
BWR: After completing their first semester, MFA students who have volunteered as readers for BWR are eligible to become genre editors for the Black Warrior Review. These posts are determined by elections, held in November of every year, and genre editors earn a half-course remission, meaning they teach only one course per semester during their editorships, which begin in the spring semester and end with the close of the fall semester.
Assistant to the Director of Creative Writing: All MFAs are eligible to apply for this position in the spring semester. The Assistant to the Director is relieved of teaching responsibilities in order to help with planning prospective student weekend and coordinating the Bankhead Visiting Writers Series, among other duties.
Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project: In each spring semester, MFA students have the opportunity to apply for a teaching fellowship through APAEP. These fellowships include a full teaching remission in favor of teaching a once-a-week class at an Alabama state prison.
The Strode Cabin: Through the generosity of the Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, one student gets to live, for very little rent, in the Strode Cabin, a sweet little spot in the woods, near campus.