It's hard to believe that Poets and Writers returned to the same poisoned well that it drank from last year for a ranking of MFA programs but it did, with the same misleading and potentially harmful results. Everything we said here about last year's ranking still applies. The author of the survey has no qualifications for such work, the results are based on a poorly defined sample and erroneous assumptions, and the respondents are self-selected, which guarantees unreliable results. Well, we could go on but it's a beautiful day. Still, we recommend that you read the reasoned response from David Fenza, Executive Director of the Association of Writers & Writing programs. Fenza writes:
Good advice on choosing a writing program should help you discover your own literary affinities, but no magazine’s centerfold of academic rankings is up to that task. Although AWP values Poets & Writers as a peer, Poets & Writers’ annual rankings of writing programs cheapen their usual standards. Rankings of writing programs simulate literary affinities; one should never confuse that simulation with finding one’s own authentic literary ties.
Read David Fenza's full report on MFA rankings here.