MFA Teaching Opportunities
In addition to full tuition remission, faculty-level health insurance, and other direct financial support, all MFA candidates have the opportunity to teach one section of "ENGL 207: Intro to Creative Writing" each semester of their first year. For this work, the Department of English compensates the MFAs at the approximate rate of $11,300 annually. In each section of ENGL 207, MFAs will teach 17 sophomores the basics of literary craft, using a syllabus of the instructor's own design. If that task sounds daunting, please don't worry!; all first-year MFAs will meet weekly with Graduate Program Coordinator Sean Bishop, beginning well before the start of classes, to discuss their triumphs and struggles in the classroom and to learn the ins and outs of teaching creative writing.
In their second year of the MFA, graduate students will teach "ENGL 100: Freshman Composition," which is a core requirement for undergraduates at the University. Here, too, there will be ample training prior to the start of the semester, and a wealth of ready-made assignments for instructors to use if they choose.
There is no application process for financial aid. All accepted MFA candidates regardless of residency or nationality receive tuition remissions (i.e., free tuition), teaching assistantships, generous health insurance (the same as faculty) and other financial support. In addition to the approximately $12,500 paid to each MFA annually in exchange for teaching, every MFA candidate will receive another $9,500 in scholarships each year (paid out in early September, early February, and late May), for an annual total of $22,000.
Renk Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Poetry
One poet will be awarded a Martha Meier Renk Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Poetry upon admission to the program. During each semester of the first year, the Renk Fellow will receive the same teaching assistantship (i.e., teaching English 207), tuition remission, and generous health benefits as the other MFAs in Poetry. During the Renk Fellow's second year, he or she will receive, in lieu of a teaching assistantship, a stipend of approximately $14,000, an expense account of $1,500, tuition remission, and the same generous health benefits as the other MFA students. Renk Fellows do not receive summer prize scholarships. There is no application procedure for the Renk Fellowship.
The Milofsky & Derleth Prizes and the Stern & Knowles Awards
Each spring, a combination of outside judges and Program faculty award two prizes and two awards to MFA candidates on the basis of exceptional writing samples and demonstrated teaching expertise. The deadline for the Milofsky and Derleth Prizes is typically in early March, and these prizes are given out in a ceremony at the end of April. There is no application procedure for the Stern & Knowles Awards, which are also awarded in April.
The David and Jean Milofsky Prize in Creative Writing ($1,000) is awarded annually for the best poetry or fiction submission by an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin.
The August Derleth Prize ($1,000) is awarded annually to a graduate student in any discipline for work on Wisconsin regional literature, or for writing in any genre to which August Derleth contributed (fiction, poetry, essay, creative non-fiction, etc.).
The Jerome Stern Teaching Award is awarded to an MFA student for outstanding teaching in "English 207: Intro to Creative Writing." The Richard Knowles Teaching Award is awarded to an MFA student for outstanding teaching in "English 100: Freshman Composition." The exact amounts of these two awards can vary, but is generally no less than $200.