Monday, August 18, 2014

Welcome Back!

It's the start of a new semester - a time to review and renew your writing habits, goals, and progress toward your thesis. To that end, I thought I'd give you some programmatic information.

After 18 credit hours, you'll need to complete a Plan of Study. See me for help with this. Basically, the Plan of Study is your contract with the English Department and the Graduate College for the coursework that's required for the MFA. As such, it's an important form, and you'll need to stay current with it by filling out the Form 9 (Revision to Plan of Study) pretty much each subsequent semester.

If you're wondering what classes to take, check out our advising checklist and degree maps (for students with and without a GTA). Your degree is made up of 48 credit hours - 21 hours of Creative Writing Workshops, 18 hours of lit/theory classes, ENG 6009: Principles and Problems of Literary Study, and six thesis hours. It's recommended that you take ENG 6009: P&P as close to the beginning of your coursework as possible. Also, take workshops outside of your chosen genre! This will help to not only broaden your writing horizon, but will also enhance your chosen genre (I promise - there's a new energy you'll bring back after trying something new).

When you're ready to take thesis hours, come see me and discuss the process. Basically, you should email your prospective chair to set up an appointment. Don't ask your prospective chair during class or in the hallway - be formal, be polite, and take this request seriously. Your committee is made up of your chair and two other readers. Check out the faculty list for information on the professors' areas of study - consider choosing one reader from the non-creative writing faculty (they can bring a new perspective to your committee).

When you're getting ready to graduate, please see the degree completion page from the Graduate College. I recently sent an email around with Fall 2014 graduation deadlines - check it out, and if you're graduating this Fall, please be sure to set up an appointment with me as soon as possible.

We have some great readings lined up for the Fall, but I'd also love to be invited to readings you host (hint hint!). I'm planning a welcome back yoga class in the next week or so, so feel free to email me if you're interested in that. Don't forget to check out New Pages for information on journals and literary contests. Read Khristian Mecom's blog about publishing if you haven't yet.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful semester with all of you. My email is if you have any questions. Thanks!

MR Sheffield's work has been published or is forthcoming in Pank, Fiction Southeast, and Far Enough East - she's also your devoted English Advisor and an English instructor at FAU. Contact her at or (561) 297-2974.

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