Students must complete the following in order to graduate from the program:
- Earn 44 credit hours (Note: each MFA course is worth 11 credit hours; all MFA courses are Pass/Fail.)
- The final project including proposal with an electronic and a physical copy submitted to the MFA office
- Annotated encounter list (may include books, films, artworks, songs, etc)
- Craft-focused open studio and/or panel discussion, presented during the fifth (partial) residency
- Final performance, presented during the fifth (partial) residency
The first full day of each residency is dedicated to engaging with and celebrating the work of our graduating students. Their wonderful range of presentations and performances provides an excellent learning opportunity for incoming and current students while showcasing the range of final project possibilities. Program guidelines and expectations are outlined below.
Final Project Course
During their fourth semester, students enroll in either ENCW 618 (Prose: Final Project Course) or ENCW 619 (Poetry in the Expanded Field: Final Project Course). Intended as a capstone to the MFA experience, students in this course create a Final Project that showcases their work while developing skills to articulate their own creative goals and practice. The Final Project can be a logical extension/revision of previous work or a new creation, that can be realized within the given time frame.
Students should organize their Final Project around a guiding concept, theme, or question found in their creative work or practice. The Final Project incorporates several components, which altogether demonstrate some of the many forms and methodologies that writers/makers may use when approaching a question, idea, and curiosity. These components include:
1. Manuscript and/or Artifacts
- This is the thesis document/artifacts submitted to the MFA program. It should be a substantial work, or collection of works (e.g., a novel, a collection of stories, poems, images, videos, recordings, or a combination of various media and/or documentation). Specific expectations will be determined in conversation with the Final Project course instructor.
- Submit hardcopy and digital copy. For non-paper media, include link to work hosted an easily viewable site (Google-Drive, Vimeo, YouTube, etc).
2. Annotated Encounters List
- Students are required to submit a bibliographic list of at least twenty-five works (books, films, visual art, performance, mixed media, etc.) that they’ve engaged with over the course of their time in the MFA program.
- The annotations should explicitly connect their learning and/or project to the referenced work (consider: what did you learn, borrow, or respond to).
- The Encounter List should be formatted according to either MLA or APA guidelines; either format is fine, but it must be consistent throughout the list. For additional guidelines and assistance, see the MFA Program Guide/Annotated Encounter List on Stetson library site: https://stetso.nu/Qjchz
- The critical afterword articulates the conceptual parameters of a student’s Final Project, gesturing toward the central concept, theme, or question.
- This afterword can be approached as a critical essay and/or artist statement. It has a three-page minimum, no max.
4. Craft Talk/Installation
- The craft talk/installation is an opportunity for students to share their ideas and/or process with an audience of faculty and peers. The specific format will be determined based on the residency site, and in conversation with the cohort. Previous formats include open studios, panel discussions, teaching demos, virtual meetings. As the format changes depending on the residency location, the talk/installation is an opportunity to consider site-specificity.
- After the presentations, students and faculty will have an opportunity to ask the graduating students about their work.
5. Final Performance
- The final performance is a celebration and demonstration of students’ work and is open to the public.
- As so often demonstrated by guest and faculty performances, students are encouraged to consider all audio-visual-sensory aspects of their performance.
As part of this course, students work with their course instructor to develop and submit a Final Project proposal to the MFA Program by the date designated in the academic calendar. The proposal should be no more than four pages in length and should discuss: 1) the central concept that the creative work will address; 2) the traits of genre, form, material, and craft that are most important to the project; and 3) some of the artistic/literary works that inform the student’s understanding of the project. Additionally, it may address possibilities for the student’s craft talk/installation and final performance. We understand that creative work often shifts in its own making; while the proposal is intended to provide a roadmap, it’s an interactive one, shifting in response to the journey.
Some questions to consider while drafting the project proposal include:
- What is your Final Project’s central concept, theme, or question? (It may be helpful to think about finding a thread that runs through a variety of work made during the course of the program.)
- How might your specific documents and/or artifacts demonstrate that concept, theme, or question? What excites you about making this work? Why did you choose this form and/or media?
- How is your project in conversation with other makers and artworks (including books, videos, performances, etc.), especially, but not limited to, those you have studied or encountered while in this program?
The MFA Program Coordinator will collect the final proposals and send them to mentoring and advising faculty for their written responses. These responses are intended to provide feedback or additional considerations while engaging students in a conversation about their work. Once received, the program coordinator will assemble all three short responses into a document to be emailed to the student. Students are welcome to follow-up with the faculty directly. In general, we do not require a re-submission of a revised proposal, unless told otherwise by Final Project instructor. Ideally, the time between the student submitting the proposal and receiving the feedback will be no longer than two weeks.
Submitting the Final Project
Submit both a digital and physical copy of your final project to the MFA Program by the date on the academic calendar. The submission needs to include the following components: Manuscript/Artifacts, Annotated Encounter List, and Afterword.
Submit digital copies as a PDF with live links to non-paper Artifacts (video, photography, sound, etc), uploaded and hosted on a separate site. Please ensure these links are accessible and working. (Student may, but are not required to, submit non-paper aspects on a thumb drive or other media; the digital PDF with links covers those pieces.) Submit the digital copy via email to the program coordinator and director.
The physical copy should include all paper/print-based material in the Manuscript/Artifacts, the Afterword, and the Annotated Encounter List. The physical copy needs to be bound in a stable system (e.g., coil or wire bind, perfect-bound, velo bind). A three-ring binder or clip is NOT an acceptable binding method, due to the potential for lost material. Physical copies must be delivered or mailed to the Stetson English Department.
Note: Students retain complete copyright to their creative materials. The electronic and physical copies will be filed in the MFA of the Americas program office (not the Stetson library), for accreditation and assessment purposes only.
Mailing Address: Director Teresa Carmody, Stetson University, MFA of the Americas, Department, 421 N. Woodland Blvd Unit 8300, DeLand, FL 32723