To MFA or not to MFA? That Isn’t the Question.


Recently, it has become fashionable to debate the pros and cons of pursuing a MFA. However, for the Millions, Hannah Gersen suggests that this debate has steered the conversation away from a more difficult question: how do we support writers who do not have the means to pursue graduate degrees?

For some writers, getting an M.F.A. is simply not an option, for financial reasons or because they are occupied in some other way, e.g. full-time employment or caregiving. The more standard the degree becomes, or at least, the more it is perceived as standard, something a writer needs in order to be published, the more privileged creative writing becomes…The question shouldn’t be whether or not getting an M.F.A. is a worthwhile for those privileged enough to agonize over the cost. Instead we should ask: how can we better support people who want to write?

Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →