Current Students


If you have a question that’s not answered here, or would like further explanation, feel free to contact us at the NEOMFA office at 330.941.1648 or by email at

What does gateway mean?

Your gateway is the individual university at which you are accepted and enrolled as a graduate student. The four gateway universities in the NEOMFA are The University of Akron, Kent State University, Cleveland State University, and Youngstown State University.

Who is my advisor?

Your advisor is the campus coordinator at your gateway campus. A list of campus coordinators can be found here. You should also be acquainted with the graduate student coordinator for your specific gateway campus’s English department.

What courses will I need to take?

The total semester hours required to complete the program are 48 hours (including 39 of required courses and 9 hours of elective courses). You must complete course work in the following areas within a maximum six-year period; full-time students can expect to complete the program within three years. We recommend regularly consulting with your campus coordinator for advice on your personal course choices. Be sure you know what required courses you still need to fill, and what the current course offerings are. We highly recommend taking workshop courses every semester for your first two years in the program, not only to meet the requirements but to also get quality feedback and critique of your work early on.

  • Writing Workshops (15 hours): 12 hours in your primary genre (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, or literary translation) and at least 3 hours in a second genre.
  • Craft and Theory Courses (9 hours): Nine hours of coursework. At least one but no more than two Craft and Theory courses in primary genre and one Craft and Theory course must be taken in secondary genre.
  • Literature Courses (6 hours): Six hours of coursework in graduate-level literature courses.
  • Internship (3 hours): Students will meet with the internship director once a month, while also interning in a field of interest, whether it is in the classroom with a NEOMFA professor, or with an organization within or outside the university.
  • Thesis Hours (6 hours): Six hours of thesis work must be completed before graduation.
  • Elective Courses (9 Hours): Electives are taken in advisor-approved areas such as literature, foreign languages and translation, theater, arts administration, fine arts, professional writing, education or other relevant subjects. All electives must be taken at the graduate level, but may be classes that are cross-listed for undergraduates.

What is the graduate reading?

The graduate reading is a public celebration of your graduation and thesis. Each student graduating that semester will read an excerpt from his or her thesis project. The office of the NEOMFA director will coordinate and advertise the reading so that participating students are well aware of when and where they will be reading.

What will my diploma say?

Your diploma will be granted by your gateway institution and have their seal on it but will also state that your degree was granted “on the recommendation of the faculty Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts.”

How do workshop courses function?

The primary feature of the workshop course is the creation and critique of your own creative work. The specific structure and content of each workshop class will depend on the individual instructor, but all workshop courses mainly revolve around discussing and critiquing the work of the students. By the time you graduate from the NEOMFA, you will need to have taken 12 hours in your area of concentration (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or playwriting) and at least 3 hours in a second area. Each genre has at least one workshop course offered every fall and spring semester.

What is a Craft & Theory class?

Craft & Theory courses approach literature from the writer’s point of view. The primary feature of the Craft & Theory course is discussion and analysis of literary texts, literary theory, and criticism, with an emphasis on the craft of writing. Craft & Theory courses that have been taught in the past are, for example the Nonfiction of Place, Genre-Bending Fiction, and The Unexpected in Poetry.

What sorts of internships have students done in the past?

NEOMFA students have taken a wide range of internships. Some students opt to teach or assist a NEOMFA faculty with the teaching of an undergraduate workshop at his or her gateway university, while others have interned in more professional settings, such as at university presses or public radio stations, or even in high school English classrooms. Basically, the internship should be taken in a workplace related to your specific interest and area of concentration. The internship requires eight to ten hours per week in the workplace and monthly classes during the semester, at which you share and discuss your work experiences. This course provides you with hands-on professional development experience, where students will gain tools and knowledge to help them approach the job market upon graduation.

How do I register for classes?

Each University has a representative to the consortium or an English department graduate advisor who can give you advice on particular procedures for enrollment usually online. After consulting with your MFA advisor, and consulting the current list of courses (see sidebar, “Course Offerings”) for the MFA program, go online at your home university to enroll in the classes. Follow these links for online registration for your university:

  • CSU (login to Campusnet)
  • KSU (login to Flashline)
  • UA (login to Zipline)
  • YSU (login to MyYSU)

If you get a message saying that enrollment in a particular course is “controlled” (limited to students in the MFA program or to those who have taken a prerequisite course) you may have to be enrolled manually by English department staff—see the front desk at your home English department for help.

How do I park at other campuses? What if I get a ticket anyway?

First, get a parking pass from your gateway university. You can do this online by visiting the parking services for your gateway:

Once you have the basic parking tag to hang from your mirror, ask at your parking services office for a “YACK” sticker (a small silver piece of tape that is printed with the names of all four schools). Simply having that on you home school parking tag gives you the right to park at any of the four schools in the appropriate student lots.

If you are taking classes at a university you don’t know, it is a good idea to visit the campus before your class starts. That way you can find the nearest parking lot to the building you will be in, and be able to judge your driving distances. Be sure to look at maps of the Campus and of the route you will take ahead of time. Click here for campus maps and parking areas for each campus.

Before parking in lots on an unfamiliar campus, it is wise to check the individual university web site for advice on restrictions. These restrictions may change without warning:

  • At CSU: a YACK sticker on a parking pass will allow you to park in any area designated as Student Parking.
  • At KSU: a YACK sticker on a parking pass will allow you to park in any area designated as C lots (Commuter Parking) and in R7 lots after 4:00 pm.
  • At UA: a YACK sticker on a parking pass will allow you to park in any area designated as C (Commuter Student Parking).
  • At YSU: a YACK sticker on a parking pass will allow you to park in any area designated as Student Parking. If you want to park in unattended gated lots, you must stop in at the YSU Parking Services Office and show them your parking pass with its YACK sticker to obtain a pass card to open the gates.

If you were parked in a valid location and your tags were in order and you still got slapped with a parking ticket, don’t panic. Mistakes do happen. Go visit the Parking Services office at the University that gave you the ticket. Show them your YACK sticker and parking pass and they will give you the appropriate forms to fill out to get the ticket rescinded. Some students have had success in simply mailing the ticket back with a Xerox of the parking pass and a letter of explanation. You can also phone the appropriate Parking Service Office to ask what course of action you should take. Here are the numbers for all four Parking Services offices:

  • CSU: 216.678.2023
  • KSU: 330.672.4432
  • UA: 330.972.7213
  • YSU: 330.941.3546

Be sure to identify yourself as a NEOMFA student, and mention that you have both a valid parking pass from your home school as well as a YACK sticker!

How do I sign up for the email list?

To sign up for the NEOMFA email listserv, follow the directions listed here. This is a good way to share information about events, classes, carpooling, and NEOMFA gatherings. All students are expected to sign up for the email listserv; if you don’t, you will probably miss out on important information and deadlines.

How do I take a leave of absence?

If you are unable to take at least one (1) course for a certain semester, you must write a letter requesting a leave of absence and explain why you cannot take any credit hours for that semester. Then, you must send that letter to your Campus Coordinator who will in turn present your letter to the Executive Committee. Leaves of absence must be approved by the Executive Committee. Please refer to the “Forms and Info” sidebar on this page for guidelines and procedures.

How do I find a thesis advisor/committee?

In forming your thesis committee, you may seek advice from your Campus Coordinator or other faculty with whom you have studied. Generally, students select for their Thesis Director and Committee professors with whom they work well and whose feedback has aided them in the construction of their thesis. You should begin seeking a director during the semester before you take your first thesis hours. The committee will consist of three (or, in some cases, four) NEOMFA faculty from at least two (2) consortial universities, one of which must be your gateway university, e.g. if your gateway is Akron, you must have at least one professor from Akron on your committee and at least one professor from Kent, Youngstown, or Cleveland.

Keep in mind that all four gateway universities also require a university-specific thesis committee form and a prospectus, which must be submitted internally to the appropriate graduate office. Please consult your department’s Administrative Assistant or Graduate director as well as your Campus Coordinator for advice on which forms your university requires.

How do I take thesis hours?

Six hours of thesis credit are required. Normally you will enroll for three thesis hours during each of the last two semesters of study. The procedures for thesis registration differ on each of the four consortial campuses. You must consult your individual department guidelines and your Campus Coordinator before registering for thesis hours.

If your Thesis Director is from a different gateway university from yours, you must cross-register your thesis hours with the gateway where the Thesis Director is a faculty member.

How do I schedule classes at other campuses?

There are several steps to cross-registration:

  • First decide what classes you want (see sidebar, “Course Offerings”).
  • Contact the professor for that course (see faculty page for contact info) to let them know you are signing up for their course (cross-registered students will not show up on their rosters).
  • Get a cross-registration form from your Campus Coordinator. Be sure to check appropriate boxes for the correct schools!
  • Fill it out, sign it, and give it to your Campus Coordinator who will send it on for the other appropriate signatures at your home university and then at the host university (where the class will be taught).
  • Once the form has been returned to your home department by the host university, your own department will add the course to your schedule. It may show up as a particular course number assigned by your university or as an “independent reading” with a tag denoting the course title.
  • Keep checking your own online schedule. If the course does not show up on your schedule after a few weeks, check with your department graduate advisor or MFA representative (the form must go from your department to your graduate school, to the host university and back to your department, so give it some time).

Can I study in more than one concentration?

While you are required to take at least one (1) workshop and one (1) Craft & Theory course outside of your genre (and may certainly take more than one out-of-genre course), the genre for which you were accepted into the program should be your primary focus, and students’ thesis projects must reflect the genre for which they were accepted (e.g. students accepted for fiction must complete a fiction thesis). If you have further questions about this, please contact the NEOMFA Office at or 330.941.1648.

Can I change my genre?

Students are encouraged to complete their MFA degree and thesis project within the genre for which they were accepted into the program. For questions about switching genres, please contact the NEOMFA Office at or 330.941.1648.