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Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA)
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University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada. I learned the skills to work day-in and day-out, on my own time, in the real world.
I also benefited from the small class sizes and diversity of courses. Because of the support and mentorship of both creative writing and academic professors, I was able to work on The Fiddlehead and Qwerty magazines, participate in the Frye Literary Festival, and present a paper at the Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities. I really cannot say enough good things about the programme and the people.
Engaging in creative and academic writing antiphonally allowed me to forge a better connection between the two in my own work. My favorite aspect of the program was having the chance to meet and work one-one-one on both lyrical and critical writing with writers I admire greatly--on the faculty, through the writer in residence program, and during Poetry Weekend.
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I learned so much from these relationships and feel so lucky to have formed them. The opportunities I was able to take advantage of while a student were first rate. I was able to be a reader for The Fiddlehead, a nationally-recognized literary journal, as well as co-edit Qwerty, the department's student run literary journal.
Without the kind advice of the faculty at UNB while I was a student and after, I don't know if I would have had as much success. Some people say that an MA in English Literature is not practical because it does not translate easily into the working world. However, I can attest to the fact that the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills I developed at the UNB have since been welcomed at the Communications division of National Research Council and the Information Management division of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. There was a quiet modesty to the happenings in the department at UNB — the thrum of stimulating conversation amongst students and faculty and a rare environment of non-competitiveness that allowed me to grow as a scholar and writer.
I especially appreciated how the faculty members, some of the most brilliant intellectuals in their fields, also worked hard to be talented teachers. The program, I think, strikes up the best balance between rigorous scholarship and a creative, low-stress, down-to-earth milieu; the result is that students can undertake important work without necessarily seeing how impressive they are.
Small class sizes, fascinating academic seminars, attentive and supportive professors, and a vibrant and active literary events scene were just some of the highlights. The opportunity to do editorial work for Qwerty and The Fiddlehead was invaluable to improving my skills as a writer and editor, and the guidance I received on my thesis launched me into the publishing world with my first novel.
Most valuable to me, my cohort of fellow grad students and profs became like a family.
MA Creative Writing and Publishing | Bournemouth University
The two years I spent at UNB was a truly enriching experience, both personally and professionally. What impressed me most was the close attention my work received from my professors who consistently met with me one-on-one to give thorough and honest critiques of my writing, which is an experience I don't think I will have again to quite the same degree. The personal relationships I developed there were inspiring and meaningful; I feel confident that my professors at UNB will continue to be my mentors throughout my writing career.
The small size of the graduate classes meant that we were integrated as a group both intellectually and socially, and cliques weren't formed based on research area or level of graduate study.