Out of Western Michigan University’s 23,914 enrolled students, 0.5 percent are with the English Department’s creative writing graduate programs, according to WMU’s website.

Aimee Valentine, one of those 120 students, is also the recipient of both the Doctoral Scholar Associateship and the Gwen Frostic Award from the university.

Valentine is the current creative writing teacher at WMU and is  also pursuing a doctorate in English literature with a dissertation in the form of a graphic novel.

Valentine earned her bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in fiction from San Francisco State University.

“A bachelor's degree in creative writing is the beginning of the journey into a life of writing,” Valentine said.

She added, “With a bachelor's, you've got a few things to think about: you're in your early twenties, say, and maybe you've been writing for a couple of years, but you've only just begun to explore the dark secrets of your brain.”

The doctoral program requires a master’s degree, which are available across the country. Three doctorates are offered in English at WMU: emphasis in literature, education, and creative writing.

WMU also offers funding in exchange for teaching freshman classes.

“The MFA programs that are funded will most likely have you teach freshman composition to earn your keep. I always encourage students to apply to funded programs. Teaching experience is good for you. Debt is not,” Valentine said.

After two to three years of workshopping and getting comfortable in a particular genre, graduate students have another decision to make, Valentine explained.

“The MFA used to be considered the terminal degree in the field, but this changed a few years ago,” she said. “Now, writers without a strong publishing background who are determined to enter the academic field are funneling into Ph.D. programs for creative writing.”

“I think this says something wonderful about WMU's commitment to writers and I hope that more writers will continue to pursue advanced degrees. Our English department has a long tradition of excellence. Ph.D. students are fully funded. We teach only one class per semester, which leaves more time for reading and writing,” she added.

For prospective or curious creative writing students, WMU offers bachelor degrees with a creative writing emphasis, Master of Fine Arts degrees in creative writing, as well as doctorates in English with a creative writing emphasis.

(2) comments


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