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MFA English Program
University of Mississippi

Scholarships & Awards

All of our students are fully funded.  

We offer two main sources of funding, the Grisham Fellowships and Teaching Assistantships.


Each year we award two incoming students with John and Renée Grisham Fellowships (one in fiction and one in poetry), a $62,000 package that includes full tuition, health care, and an annual stipend of $16,000, renewable for three years.  During this time, Grisham fellows have no teaching responsibilities.  The time is a gift for them to hone their craft, and we do everything we can to see that they have the resources and encouragement to use their time to its fullest potential. While there are no teaching duties for Grisham fellows, sometimes a Grisham fellow wishes to teach for the experience, and if that’s the case, we can oblige.


Other incoming students receive Teaching Assistantships, and the current stipend structure for the Fellowship is $11,500 per year, which includes $250 for the health insurance premium.   Along with the stipend, TA’s will receive a tuition scholarship from the Graduate School covering resident tuition.  In addition, if you are not a resident of Mississippi, TA’s will receive a waiver of the nonresident tuition fee for themselves/spouse.   Graduate teaching fellows usually begin by serving as section leaders and graders in the English Department’s 200-level literature or 300-level Shakespeare classes.   In their second year, M.F.A.s often teach the English Department’s 100-level composition sequence or 211, Intro to Creative Writing.   More experienced instructors may be assigned to 300-level literature or writing workshops.  We’ve had good luck with our students being invited to teach various creative writing classes, which helps those who wish to pursue jobs in academia once they graduate.  M.F.A. students typically feel the teaching load is not onerous and they have enough time to accomplish their writing goals.


Graduate School Academic Excellence Fellowships of $3,000 per year are awarded competitively to incoming students with high GRE/GPAs.

Graduate School Excellence in Inclusivity Fellowships of $3,000 are awarded to qualified incoming students from underrepresented groups.

Several Dissertation Fellowships of up to $5,000 are available for third year students so that they may forgo teaching and concentrate on finishing their theses.

Contests and writing awards such as the Bondurant Prize, The Ann Fisher-Wirth Bright Spirit Award, Sommerville Prize, Evans-Harrington Prize, and the D.C. Berry Awards are held for current students, all with prize money awards.


D.C. Berry Award

Each spring our program features the D.C. Berry Award (formerly known as Elvis Meets Einstein Award) expressly for the University of MS MFA students.  The contest is the brainchild of D. C. Berry, the first ever officially named Good Buddy of the MFA Program.  Winning entries should be both FUNNY and SMART.  The prizes reward good, fresh writing and will get some cash in the pockets of two UM MFA students every year.  Awards will typically be given to first, second, and third place winners with prizes of $1,500, $1,000, & $500, and the winner will read their piece on a live broadcast of the Thacker Mountain Radio Show.