All students admitted to the MFA program are guaranteed up to four years of financial support. All admitted students qualify for Graduate Assistantships which include a $13,500 stipend paid over nine months and full payment of up to 15 hours of graduate tuition per semester. Graduate students are also provided with health insurance. Department support does not cover books and course fees.
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.
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.
Second Year & Beyond
In the second year and beyond, GTAs routinely teach two courses per semester.
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.
Black Warrior Review
After completing their first semester, MFA students who have volunteered as readers for the Black Warrior Review (BWR) are eligible to become genre editors for BWR. 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.
Assistants to the Directors of Creative Writing
All MFAs are eligible to apply for these positions. The Assistants to the Directors are relieved of some teaching responsibilities in order to help with coordinating our 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 the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project (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.