Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Master's degree program

Last week I posted about being at the residency for my Master's degree program and I was asked for more details. So, I thought I'd share a bit about the program and why I chose it.
I've been job hunting along with ten percent of the population that is unemployed. Its tough out there. I asked myself, what is it that I really love to do? The answer was write novels, of course, and discuss novels and novel writing. I enjoy giving seminars and workshops. I get a nice little buzz talking about books. Knowing this, I could be a bookseller or I could teach. What I've always wanted to do for a day job is teach at the community college level. To do that I had to have a Master's degree.

So I spent some time doing research. There are many wonderful MA and MFA programs out there for writers and educators. I made a long list and did a pro and con for each. In the end, I thought it a no-brainer to get a Masters degree in what I do--writing popular fiction. Seton Hill University offers a workable on-line/residency program that fit into my schedule. Each year there are two, one-week intensive residency's where you spend close to 12 hours a day immersed in genre seminars, guest speakers and in depth critiques on campus. The rest of the program includes on-line classes in genre reading and teaching. There are weekly discussion boards, monthly chats and, of course, the Master's thesis which is a completed, polished work in your chosen genre. This worked best for me because when I do get a day job, I can continue with the program using my two weeks vacation for the residencies.
I signed up.
My second semester in the program started with last week's intensive residency. I've found that the more you know, the more you realize how much there still is to learn about writing, craft and genre. I bring home pages of notes and new friends. And maybe in the end, I'll get that dream day job where I get to talk about popular fiction, the craft of writing and story. Wouldn't that be fabulous? Cheers~


Marsha Moore said...

Hi Nancy!

Great post - thanks for sharing! Very timely, too, as I'm looking at applying for an MA in Creative Writing next year. Good to hear about your postive experiences.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Marsha, thanks for stopping by. I wish you all the best with your program. I think applying is half the battle. ;)Cheers~

Rosalind Adam said...

I would love to do an MA in creative writing... even if it didn't lead to a job. It all sounds fascinating. Thanks for the info. Maybe one day I'll give it a go too. Good luck with your college teaching.

Linda Kage said...

Teaching writing sounds like the perfect job for you! I've learned so much from your blogs alone. Good luck with this endeavor.

Marilyn Brant said...

Sounds fabulous, Nancy! I'd been wondering how the program worked. It must've been really interesting to be amongst your classmates this month, working on craft and sharing ideas! ;)

Morgan Mandel said...

Good luck to you Nancy! I know you're smart enough to get where you want to be!

Morgan Mandel

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Rosalind, yes, I'm learning so much. So, job or not I'm glad I did it.

Hi Linda, thanks! (I'm reading and enjoying, STILLBURROW CRUSH.)

Hi Marilyn, yes, it is interesting indeed. ;)

Hi Morgan, thanks! I think the fact that there is always something new to learn keeps me interested in writing. It's never boring, that is for sure!

Anita said...

Hi, Nancy! I'm applying to this program. Maybe if I get in, I'll meet you there some day! Yay!

Ashley Ladd said...

Cool. I got my Masters (MBA) at Nova. It was in person but every other weekend on Friday night and Saturday plus a week's seminar at the end of the course instead of writing a master's thesis. That worked well for me. But I'd also love to get a degree in creative writing and English. I'll have to look into the online course.

Good luck.