Sunday, November 29, 2009

Obligatory application season post

Any applicants out there considering applying to the University of Houston for either the MFA or PhD track, I just thought I would put my e-mail out here in case you have any questions (jsgottliebmiller at gmail dot com).

I especially recommend our program if you are interested in wonderfully stimulating academic coursework, having a fantastic dual MFA-PhD cohort, great funding, and an awesome post-graduate success rate (in job placement, fellowships and books).

I could go on and on and it would be really annoying and way too long, so really, just feel free to e-mail me.

No offense intended to anyone on this blog with the short program boosterism--I think everyone here could talk for hours on end about the strengths of their programs, and all with good reason.

Good luck to everyone in your applications!

PS. I hope there are actual non first-years reading this blog! Again, apologies to all of the first-years who aren't applying to anything because they are already in programs they love.


  1. I'm a second-year and look forward to how this all evolves over time. Great blog idea!


  2. Anyone planning on applying to George Mason's fiction program can email me about my wonderful program as well. My email is on my profile.

    -- Jennifer

  3. Houston was on my long list, but I ended up cutting it, along with a few other great programs, when I realized I can't afford 10 application fees. Your post is making me sort of regret that decision ;). If this application round doesn't go so well, they'll probably end up on my list next time.

    (I'm finishing up my applications to Minnesota, Ohio State, UNCW, West Virginia, and MNSU Mankato for Nonfiction.)

  4. Lindsay--

    I was accepted to UNCW for poetry and had the chance to visit the school, meet with faculty members (Phil Gerard, included) and sit in on a workshop. I also have a couple friends there now. Let me know if you have any questions about the school or the city of Wilmington! (whitneydgray -at- gmail dot com)

  5. i am a graduate of the Queens MFA program (low-res) and did my BA at UNCG if anyone wants info about those program. poetry was my focus jessie dot carty at gmail dot com

  6. Hey Josh,

    Houston is a possibility on my list for a Creative Writing PhD. A quick, hopefully not too intrusive question: do you know what the funding is for PhDs? Livable?

    Also, any truth to the rumor that Dave Smith is taking a gig there?

    Thanks for your time,


    (also-if anyone has questions about hollins, feel free to shoot me an email--though there are two current MFAers who are contributors on this site who may be better resources. regardless, i'll do my best.)

  7. @ Luke,

    PhDs who receive assistantships (which almost everyone does--last year everyone did except for one who didn't want it) are paid $11,600/9 months (multiplied over a 5-year contract). (For MFAs it's $9,600/9 months multiplied over a 3-year contract).

    In addition, and this is a crucial addition: Last year most incoming students (MFAs and PhDs both) received fellowship bonuses of $15,000 to be paid out over the course of three years. Then there are the other prizes you can win. So yeah, lots of money.

    And Houston is an awesomely cheap city, making this very livable.

    There is more information here:

    As to your other question: We are currently in the process of hiring two more poetry professors. It is my understanding that Dave Smith is applying for one of those spots.

    I'm sending you an e-mail, by the way.

    @ in the mainstream,

    I'm glad you're reading this here blog!

    @ Lindsay,

    Well, you're more than welcome to still apply, but that's a very understandable reason...

    @ Jennifer and Jessie,

    You should repost your comments on the front page of the blog--be a booster! (I doubt that many folks will click on the comments here, is the reason I suggest this...)

  8. @josh's very informative last comment- whoa Houston!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. @JayTee, I hope so!

    *And just to clarify, in case my syntax was confusing to anyone: the fellowship bonus mentioned above is the total amount most recently given out: currently that amount is given out over the course of three years--meaning it's not an amount given out per year.

    But a lot of people do make great side-cash teaching in WITS (Writers in the schools)...

    Ok, now I'll try to shut up...

    (wow syntax is hard)

  11. One more clarification (jeez I do never shut up):

    The fellowship money is the most recent amount. It could change, though I suspect they will try to maintain that level of coverage. The minimum is definitely$5,000, and I doubt it goes higher than $15,000, but it does depend on the endowment. Really, best thing to do is just check the web link if you are curious for more information...

  12. Joshua,

    Does houston have a nonfiction emphasis?

    How can you stand living in texas?

    Big bugs, big trucks...

  13. John,

    I'll answer your second question first, since that's by far the more fun answer. Houston is awesome!

    I mean, I could care less for most of Houston--it's a pretty big city. But the inner loop (where we are located) has some of the best art (and museums) in the country, a number of fine reading series, some excellent, fantastically diverse neighborhoods, and wonderful restaurants with food from all over the world.

    For some reason, everyone's nice, too (everyone must be too overheated to pick fights).

    Yes, there are way too many big cars here, but it is a surprisingly liberal city. Just this weekend we became the biggest city in the country to elect a gay mayor.

    Ok, so that's all the rah-rah Houston business.

    Non-fiction: Houston typically accepts at least one non-fiction student each year. I don't have much experience with that part of the program, but I do know that those are very talented writers, and that they're pretty involved socially with everyone else. And I would guess the literature focus would seem to be a strength for them (as something different), but that's just me speculating.

    Hope this helps.


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