The Graduate Program in Writing M.F.A. consists of several core classes and seminars taken over four semesters (two years), with the goal of producing a final manuscript, performance, or collaborative event.
There are three notable features of the new program. First, the heart of the program is a once-a-week core class, the Writing Studio, which is an open, democratic forum dedicated to the collective critique and discussion of student and faculty works in progress. Second, each student is offered one-on-one guided Mentorships with a chosen faculty member. Third, the program provides students with support and guidance to extend their cultural production and research interests into the the world in the form. Fieldwork Residencies: on-going residencies conducted in collaboration with an outside institution, community, organization, archive, occupational domain, or activist group. To see a growing list of our alliances with outside organizations and groups, see Alliances.
Notable features of the Pratt M.F.A. in Writing include:
- A weekly collective interdisciplinary critique forum inclusive of all students, faculty, and guest faculty.
- One-on-one guided Mentorships with faculty members of your choosing.
- Guided Fieldwork Residencies in a wide array of occupational domains, local communities, and institutions that focus on social and environmental justice, media interventions, education, science, health and human services, institutional or vernacular archives, animal rights, and local and global activism.
- Special Topics Seminars in Literature, Media Studies, Performance, and Experimental, Collaborative, and Engaged Writing traditions.
- Student-led collaborative Writing Practice Seminars that explore the intersections of writing, research, activism, radical pedagogy, and critical theory.
- Sustained focus on 21st-century modes of authorship including: activism, transdisciplinary and cross-genre experiment, performance, innovative uses of new media, investigative and research techniques, conceptual frameworks, collaborative methods, and site-specific approaches.
- A course of study stressing a writing process that takes into account the material and technological aspects of writing, the human body that produces it, and the larger social, sexual, historical, economic, racial, and cultural contexts in which and through which all imaginative writing takes place.
- A supportive community that will continue to support artistic practice past the two years of M.F.A. study.
For a more detailed description of the classes offered, see below.
This is a 4-credit, once-a-week collective critique of creative work which aims to replace the “creative writing workshop” with a more process-orientated and democratic model. First and second year students, core faculty, guest artists and theorists, and peers meet to critique a given student’s or creative team’s work in progress. Students present work multiple times in a given semester. During each session students give a reading or performance of their work-in-progress, and the student and their facilitating faculty mentor guide the discussion among all students and faculty of the material at hand. The aim is to build a rigorous and non-hierarchical space for learning and intellectual exchange, where the conversation about a given work in progress is informed by multiple voices and disciplines while also developing a critical, cultural, aesthetic, political language common to all the arts.
Mentored Studies I and II
Upon entering the program all incoming students choose a writing faculty mentor during the first semester (students are encouraged, but not required, to switch and choose another faculty member during the second semester). This class is designed to provide an incoming student with one-on-one contact, advisement, and in-depth creative engagement (reading lists, writing assignments, critical feedback) with their selected mentor. A student’s mentor attends both of the student’s Writing Studio crits, where they act as facilitator and guide for the critical discussion of the student’s work.
Writing Practices Seminar I and II: History & Theory of Collaborative & Engaged Writing
For writers in our global, virtual, DIY and increasingly lateral world of cultural production, myths of singularity, iconic genius, and isolation are not only untrue and anti-historical, they deny writers access to the lush reality of community, collaboration, and real life engagement that the production of language requires and enables. These Writing Practices Seminars are research and discussion-based classes covering the history and theory of collaborative and engaged writing practices. They are also faculty guided “bridging” seminars where second-year students work closely with a professor to plan learning modules for incoming students, thereby creating a bridge of shared knowledge, collaboration, and non-monological learning and pedagogy.
The Fieldwork Residency is a second-year residency program that invites students to carry out an on-going creative residency in collaboration with an outside social, cultural, and literary institution, community, organization, archive, or activist group. The goal is for the student (or group of students, if collaboration) to use their residency to develop a project with their chosen group or institution that will premiere or be held toward the end of Fieldwork Residency II. The Writing Program will collect and nourish an available core consortium of literary and community groups and organizations willing to work with interested students.
Special Topics Electives
These enable students to take classes that explore additional practice-based and critical approaches to writing, various writing traditions and genres, and various world literatures. The current full-time and part-time Writing Program and HMS faculty members at Pratt represent a wide array of writing genres, writing methodologies, and social interests; this enables students to access a range of writing practices and to supplement the work they are doing in Mentored Studies and Writing Practices Seminars. The multiple areas of specialization offered by faculty include but are not limited to the following:
- Writing and Social Practice
- Conceptual Writing
- Writing for Performance
- Ecology and Poetics (Ecopoetics)
- Documentary Writing
- Queer Rhetorics and Writing
- Lyric Novel
- Multi-language Writing
- Writing for Technology and New Media
- Writing as Translation
- Narratology, Time, and Story
- Feminist Writing Traditions
- Investigative Writing
- Documentary Poetics
- Writing and Daily Life
- Hybrid and Cross-Genre Writing
- Writing for New Media
- Somatic/Embodied Writing
- Lyric Essay
- Writing for Sound and Installation
- Concrete Poetry/Text Installations
- History of Small Press and Independent Publishing
- Writing in the Archive
Final Thesis Project
This course is designed to monitor and guide students to prepare for the production of a final project or thesis. The class runs as an informal workshop and knowledge-sharing seminar, facilitated by a faculty member, although the main emphasis will be on outside the classroom production. Additionally, students will discuss and decide on what method of documentation is appropriate for their final project or event. There will also be occasional readings and targeted discussions and lectures on the process of producing a final project or thesis, as well as workshops that address the process of selecting a thesis advisor, assembling an annotated bibliography, and writing a 10–15 page critical introduction (required for all theses and projects). View the Pratt MFA in Writing thesis guidelines.
Media Studies Electives
The M.F.A. in Writing is linked to Pratt’s graduate Media Studies program. This offers Writing students a chance to take small, intensive graduate seminars that explore both traditional approaches to the study of media (print, film, photography, audio, and television) as well as approaches that address the shifts produced by the computer and Internet. The Media Studies faculty represent areas that include New Media, Documentary Studies, Global Media, Media and the Urban Environment, Media and Performance, Music/Sound Studies, Media/Attention Economies, Media Ecology, Archaeology of (New) Media, and Media, Activism, and Social Change.