How to Apply
When to Apply
- Applications are accepted for fall quarter only.
- Applications for fall 2021 entry will open on October 1, 2020. The deadline to apply with fellowship consideration will be January 5, 2021.
- The program may continue to accept applications through September 1 of each year, but if applying after the January 5 deadline, please first email the program coordinator to see if openings are available.
- If you are submitting your application close to the deadline, please be sure to notify your recommenders well in advance so that they may have their letters ready to submit immediately. Review of applications will begin very shortly after the deadline, and while missing letters of recommendation will not disqualify your application, it may put it at a disadvantage.
- You will find out if you have been accepted by mid-March (via phone or email).
How to Apply
To apply for our program, complete the Graduate Division Application.
You must submit:
- A writing sample
You must demonstrate significant professional skill in the genre to which you are applying. Your writing sample should consist of one of the following:
- 10-15 pages of poetry
- A maximum of 25 pages of nonfiction
- A maximum of 20 pages or 5000 words of fiction
- The first act or a maximum of 25 pages of a screenplay or play
Include your writing sample in the Additional Information section at the bottom of the Statement of Purpose/Personal History Statement page in your Graduate Division application.
Transcripts demonstrating a B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited institution, and transcripts from all other colleges attended. Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded to the "Additional Information" section at the bottom of the Statement of Purpose/Personal History Statement page in the Graduate Division website's application form.
If admitted, official transcripts will be required from all colleges attended.
- Three letters of recommendation
These letters should be provided by instructors or professional contacts who can speak to your ability to succeed in a rigorous graduate program. When you submit your application, your recommenders will receive an email containing a link to upload their letter. Please give them advance notice so that their letters arrive on time and do not delay the review of your application.
- A personal history statement
Use the personal history statement to tell us about who you are. Use it to give us a sense of where you come from and what has shaped you, particularly as a writer.
- A statement of purpose and project proposal
In contrast to the personal history statement's look to the past, the statement of purpose is a look to the future. Tell us why you want to study in our MFA program and what you hope to accomplish with a graduate degree in creative writing. You should write it specifically for this application (it cannot be a copied and pasted resume).
Include your project proposal in your statement of purpose, either within the body of the statement or as a separate section. The project proposal should be a brief description of a full-length book, screenplay or play that you anticipate working on if you are accepted into our program.
- TOEFL or IELTS scores
If you are an international student and your degree is not from a university where the primary language of instruction is English, you must submit either TOEFL or IELTS scores. More admission information for international students can be found here.
- The GRE is not required.
The Graduate Division waives a limited number of application fees for applicants who are experiencing financial distress. Learn how to request a fee waiver.
The CWPA program is unable to offer fee waivers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I best impress the Admissions Committee?
While all application materials are important, the Admissions Committee gives the most weight to the writing sample. You must submit a polished, effective writing sample to be considered for admission.
Is there an advantage to applying as early as possible?
No. The faculty do not review applications until after the January 5 deadline, so applying early offers no advantage.
Can I apply for winter or spring quarter entry?
No. We only accept applications for fall quarter enrollment.
Although you don't require the GRE, is there an advantage to sending my GRE scores?
No. GRE scores are not reviewed by the Admissions Committee.
When will I be contacted with an admission decision?
We typically issue offers of admission via phone and/or email by mid-March. Refusals of admission are submitted to the Graduate Division soon after admission offers are made, but it can take some time for the Graduate Division to process the refusals and send the official email notification.
Your Writing Sample
May I submit a writing sample that is in a genre other than the genre for which I am applying?
No. The admissions committee cannot consider you for admission if you do not submit a writing sample in the primary genre you wish to study.
Should my manuscript submission be single spaced or double spaced?
For prose submissions, please double-space the manuscript.
Where do I attach the manuscript in the online application?
Please attach it in the Additional Information section at the bottom of the page where you attach the Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement.
Transcripts and Letters of Recommendation
Are my letters of recommendation due by the application submission deadline?
No, but they should be submitted as soon as possible after the deadline. Your application will be accepted and reviewed even if all the letters aren't submitted before faculty begin reviewing applications; however, the lack of letters could put your application at a disadvantage. If you plan to submit an application on or near the deadline, notify your letter writers in advance so that will have the letters ready to upload as soon as you submit your application.
Will I still be considered for the fellowship if my transcript arrives after the application deadline?
Yes, but we will need a copy of your transcript before we are able to make an offer of admission.
Should I submit my undergraduate transcript if I haven't yet finished my degree?
You should submit a current, incomplete transcript from your school at the time you submit your application. If you are offered admission and accept, you will resubmit your transcript after your degree has been posted to it.
Will you accept hard copies of letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation will only be accepted via electronic submission.
How are the letters of recommendation submitted?
After you submit your online application, each of your letter writers will receive an email with a link through which they can upload their letters of recommendation to your file. It is not possible to submit the letters of recommendation before the application is submitted.
My recommender never received the automated letter of recommendation request. What do I do?
Email spam filters will sometimes cull the automated email, so ask your letter writer to check their junk mail folder. If it isn't there, you can log in and resend the letter request email through the application.
Do you accept letters of recommendation through Interfolio?
Yes. The online application contains instructions on how to submit letters from Interfolio.
Your Personal History Statement and Project Proposal
What should be included in the personal history statement and statement of purpose?
Generally speaking, use the personal history statement to tell us about who you are. Use it to give us a sense of where you come from and what has shaped you, particularly as a writer. In contrast to the personal history statement's look to the past, the statement of purpose should be more of a look to the future. Tell us why you want to study in our MFA program and what you hope to accomplish with a graduate degree in creative writing.
What should be included in the project proposal?
The project proposal should be a brief description of a full-length book, screenplay, or play that you anticipate working on if you are accepted to our program. The proposal can be as long or short as it needs to be to adequately describe your project. It can either be embedded in the body of the statement of purpose or included in a separate section.
How long should the personal history statement and statement of purpose be?
We have no minimum or maximum length requirements, but one to two pages for each document is standard.
The application says I must limit my personal history statement and statement of purpose to 3000 characters each. Is there a way to circumvent that restriction?
If you choose to type the personal history statement and statement of purpose into the text box provided in the online application, you will be limited to 3000 characters. However, if you upload the documents as a Word doc or PDF, there is no limit.