University of South Carolina

MFA Program at USC leaps into top 50

Contact: Peggy Binette 803-777-5400

The thriving MFA Program at the University of South Carolina has broken into the top 50 MFA programs in the United States, according to a ranking released this week by Poets & Writers.

The program, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, vaulted to No. 49, up 55 spots from last year, in the 2012 Poets & Writers Top 50 MFA Programs. The rankings appear in the September/October issue of the magazine, which provides the only rankings for MFA programs.

“A great research university like Carolina needs to demonstrate strength in all branches of human knowledge and creativity,” Dr. Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “We are proud of the recent ranking of our MFA program as one of the top programs in the country.”

Elise Blackwell, director of the MFA program and an associate professor of English, credits the rise in the ranking to the dedication and hard work of the faculty.

“This is exciting news,” Blackwell said. “Our faculty have worked hard to bolster our program and get the word out about its quality to students throughout the country. We’re receiving stellar applications from all regions and a handful from other countries. This ranking is an affirmation of our hard work and quality of faculty and students.”

Blackwell, who has written four novels, says the Poets & Writers ranking will be a boon to recruitment.

“It certainly helps with recruitment and is also good news for current students and recent alumni whose degrees now come from a program with a higher profile.”

To access the 2012 Poets & Writers Top 50 MFA Programs, go to

Several factors make the university’s MFA Program attractive to students, including the fact that it offers the intimacy of a small program with the resources of a major research university.

Students can choose from poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction tracks and have the opportunity to work with published writing faculty.

For more information about the MFA program visit the website

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Posted: 08/22/11 @ 1:20 PM | Updated: 10/13/11 @ 1:38 PM | Permalink