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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

MFA Forensics FAQ

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What is an MFA in Forensics?

The Master of Fine Arts--Forensics degree is a terminal degree for forensic professionals. Students who wish to teach and direct forensics programs at the college or high-school level will find the MFA is an appropriate, tenurable degree at many four-year institutions around the country. The degree additionally certifies intense study of the theory and practice of communicative public performance for those students whose career aspirations lay outside of collegiate forensics and teaching. Those students will find the degree as appropriate training for careers as a communication consultant, a motivational speaker, and a communication trainer.

How long is the program?

The MFA is designed as a three-year program (48 semester credits). While the program may be finished in less time, course rotations may inhibit completion of the program in less than three years.

I already have a Master's degree. Can I transfer in my Master's degree and just take the third year of the program?

The Department of Communication Studies has a policy allowing students who have previously completed a master's degree to apply all or part of their graduate credits toward the MFA-Forensics degree. The policy has two components: (1) to allow students who have completed an MA/MS at Minnesota State University, Mankato to return to the university and apply their MA/MS credits toward the MFA; (2) to allow students who have earned an MA/MS from other institutions to transfer a percent of those credits to MSU and apply the MA/MS credits toward the MFA. The specific policy is online at: Policy

Is the MFA a terminal degree?

The Department has designed the program as a terminal degree. However, the acceptance of the MFA as a terminal degree is dependent on the policies of the institution where one is hired/employed. Many colleges/universities already accept MFAs in Art, Theater, and English as terminal degrees.

Do I have to travel to speech and debate tournaments?

Yes. A requirement of the program is a minimum of two years coaching and travel with Maverick Forensics. The director of the program establishes the travel schedule for the team and graduate teaching assistants.

What courses are required in the program?

The MFA--Forensic program has series of required and elective courses. A complete description of program course requirements is available on the Department website.

Are comprehensive exams a requirement of the program?


Do I have to write a thesis?

Yes. The MFA program has a required thesis component. The thesis must include a dimension of forensics as a significant component of the research. Students have a broad variety of thesis research options, including traditional research projects and performance projects.

How do I apply to the program?

Application materials for the MFA are available from the Department of Communication Studies or the Graduate College at Minnesota State University. Interested persons may reach the department by calling 507-389-2213 or the Graduate College at 507-389-2321.

Are graduate assistantships available?

Yes. An application for an assistantship is available from the Department of Communication Studies by calling 507-389-2213. Assistantships currently include an $8,000 stipend and full tuition waiver (up to nine credits per semester).

Can I teach as part of an assistantship?

Yes. Graduate students teach 100-level courses in the department (Fundamentals of Communication Studies, Public Speaking, Interpersonal). Teaching assignments are set by the Director of Graduate Teaching Assistants and the Department Chair. Graduate Assistants who coach/travel with Maverick Forensics are granted release time from part of their teaching load.