As a graduate student in creative writing or literature at Mills, you’ll have a wide range of opportunities both in and out of the classroom to gain valuable experience in teaching, publishing, performance, presentation of critical work, and professional art practice. Our faculty is committed to your future plans and will help you apply for PhD programs and teaching jobs, submit your work for publication, or secure an agent for your novel.
Graduate students in our programs pursue teaching experience across multiple contexts. Courses in pedagogy include:
Many of these classes include a required teaching practicum where you can gain direct experience through internships at local community colleges or volunteer teaching at high schools and arts centers.
Our graduate students can also earn course credit and gain valuable practical experience by arranging a teaching practicum with our faculty in an undergraduate classroom at Mills. These opportunities can be pursued in a wide array of classes, including creative writing and literature. While not paid employment, teaching practicums build your CV and professional network.
All students in the creative writing and literature programs are encouraged to apply for part-time graduate assistantships, available in both the first and second years of study. Classroom assistantships at Mills are unique in their focus on mentorship and collaboration, rather than grading papers or making photocopies. Students awarded graduate assistantships in the composition program, undergraduate senior thesis classes, and book art studio classes work closely with faculty and directly with other students. We believe your graduate education should allow you to apprentice as a teacher while focusing on your own development as a writer and scholar.
Students awarded graduate assistantships in The Place for Writers work closely with faculty and their peers to produce a wide range of literary events. Place for Writers assistants build community among students and gain valuable experience with curation, publicity, audience development, social media, and content development.
For those in their second year of study, a graduate assistantship is awarded every year to the managing editor of 580 Split, and provides experience with editing, soliciting work, conducting interviews as well as design, production, publicity, and business management.
Publishing & Conferences
Our highly knowledgeable faculty are generous in conversation about publishing in various contexts, from small press poetry to agented fiction.
Each year, The Place for Writers produces a series of talks on publishing that features local editors, small presses, and literary agents. Those interested in learning how to edit a literary journal are invited to enroll in our course on magazine production, where you will work as editorial staff for the journal 580 Split. Graduate students also regularly complete internships at local independent publishers to gain experience in the field.
Our literature professors encourage students to send proposals to conferences in relevant fields, and our graduate students present papers at scholarly conferences in the Bay Area, nationally, and internationally. Conference exposure brings students more academic contacts and can often lead to the publication of an article.
You’ll have several opportunities to present your creative and critical writing. Works in Progress events include a Tuesday reading series of new creative and scholarly writing by faculty and students in their final year of study.
In addition, The Place for Writers hosts open mics and interdisciplinary workshops. Our students represent Mills across the San Francisco Bay Area at annual Litquake events, and at Poetry Center San Jose, Small Press Traffic, and other local literary venues.
The Literatures & Languages Department is proud of the work we do to mentor students through the PhD application process. Along with offering workshops on applying to demanding PhD programs, our faculty work with individual students on writing samples and personal statements.
Graduate students in the MFA in Book Art and Creative Writing Program have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of visiting artists, writers, and scholars through residencies and workshops. Our students have collaborated on a book with Katarzyna Bazarnik and Zenon Fajfer of the Polish movement “Liberature.” They have made paper with Drew Cameron of Combat Paper, worked with past artist-in-residence Jen Bervin, and taken an intensive workshop with internationally known printmaker Tom Killion.
At Mills, the Book Art Pocket Gallery, a campus space dedicated to student work, showcases graduate student work twice a year. Students act as curators for exhibitions at the Center for the Book in the F. W. Olin Library, often collaborating with scholars from other institutions, and create public art projects through their classes. The thesis exhibition of work by our graduating MFA students takes place in a professional gallery in Oakland. Students in their nonresident semester are supported in seeking space and residencies in order to continue their work and prepare for their exhibition.