Other than getting adjunct work with your shiny new MFA, what other professions like them?

(I'm gainfully employed, and while I think my MFA helps me, it is in not appreciated by my employer in any direct way. My question is the result of sitting next to the father of an MFA graduate at his graduation ceremony and hearing him complain about the uselessness of the degree. I disagree, but wanted to gather more factual info.)

  • 1
    Political biography writer? Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 20:54
  • I hear getting a short story published in a literary magazine is significantly harder if you don't have an MFA in creative writing...but that hardly amounts to a full time job.
    – justkt
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 1:07
  • justkt - I haven't noticed a difference pre or post. (And it's almost like the opposite of a job, ends up costing you money and time since most literary magazines pay nothing.) Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 1:22
  • Do you think the difference is that you already had a portfolio of publications? What I'd heard applied specifically to first-timers.
    – justkt
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 13:29
  • That makes sense. I know the huge pile of submissions most journals get, and if they scan for MFA in the cover letter, they can avoid reviewing the others as closely. A shame, though. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 18:20

3 Answers 3


An MFA would come in handy when working in the publishing world. A lot of editors for publishing houses have MFAs and even owners of publishing houses occasionally have them. I know at least one of the editors at the primary house I work for has one and I'll be pursuing an MFA myself.

Not only does the experience often help editors, it gives the publishing house a good image. Having five editors with MFAs looks better than having 5 editors with HS diplomas.


As far as I've been able to ascertain through the years the "educational" institutions are about the only place that the MFA carries any weight. In a way I'm glad I didn't go for one decades ago.

  • BTW, "creative writing awards" should go to many schools who hype their programs the way they do: For instance- "our students usually are able to find part time work..." It doesn't say the program they are in was a "qualifying reason" nor did they say it was "a paying job." I've got a nephew suckered by "hype" (aka BS) in another field. I also used to teach tech courses where students were "mis-led" and that was compounded by student loans that were akin to highway robbery!
    – Joshin
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 23:45

I applied to an MFA program as a side-option last year, and I am about 90% per cent certain that I read this somewhere on the department's site/admissions portal. (The 10% uncertainty comes from not being able to recall where exactly, maybe on a FAQ somewhere). Paraphrased: Our students usually are able to find part time work as editors for newspapers/magazines, and copywriters for publishing houses...while they take the evening classes.

In any case, I am only telling this because they seemed to suggest that being part of an MFA made it easier to get yourself into this line of work. Not the sort of jobs you were hoping to hear, I am sure.

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