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FAQs

Undergraduate Degree and Grades

I don’t have an undergraduate degree. Will that affect my application?
Yes. The Graduate School requires an undergraduate degree for admission.

I am an international student, and my undergraduate institution grants a three-year Bachelors Degree. Am I eligible to apply?
Unfortunately, no. The Graduate School accepts degrees from four-year institutions only.

I won’t graduate until May, so my transcripts will be incomplete. Is that okay?
Yes. Upload your current transcripts, even if you will not complete a degree until late spring. At that time, the Graduate School will ask you for your complete transcripts, with evidence of degree completion.

I don’t have a BA in English. Will that affect my application?
We accept students from a variety of academic backgrounds. As long as you have an undergraduate degree, you can be considered for admission. If you don't have any English courses, submit the GPA application sheet with "not applicable."

Funding

What is the teaching assistantship?
All admitted MFA students receive teaching assistantships for three years. You will be assigned to teach literature, creative writing, and courses within Writing Studies. The teaching assistantship includes a stipend, health benefits, and tuition waiver. Students are responsible for Student Services fees, which currently amount to about $850 per semester.

How much is the tuition waiver?
All MFAs receive a full tuition waiver, up to fourteen credits per semester, at in-state tuition rates.

Can I teach during the summer?
The department has limited teaching opportunities during the summer months.

Are international students eligible for funding?
All of our students receive full funding for all three years of the program; however, the U.S. government requires proof of a minimum amount of financial support to issue a student visa. For the 2016-17 academic year, that minimum is $17,727. Our current funding package falls slightly short of this minimum. The applicant would therefore be required to show proof (savings, employment, etc.) of that additional funding. (See the Graduate School's I-20 information page for details.)

Application

When will I be notified of the program's admission decision?
We expect to send out all notifications by the end of February 2017.

Is the GRE really necessary?
GREs are recommended but not required. We use stellar GRE Verbal scores as a basis for nominating admitted students for additional college-wide fellowships. Many students are admitted without GRE scores, and the lack of GRE scores will not adversely affect your chances for admission.

What if my GRE test date is late and my scores won't arrive until after the 1st?
By the December 1 deadline, all of your materials to the Graduate School and to the Department of English must have arrived online, including test scores. We highly recommend taking the GRE several months before the deadline if you plan to submit a GRE score. We cannot consider incomplete applications. PLEASE SEE NOTE AT TOP OF PAGE REGARDING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION.

My GPA and/or GRE scores aren’t stellar. Will that ruin my chances for admission?
Our main criterion for admission is the writing sample. Your Statement of Purpose can address academic or personal challenges that affected your record. We would not recommend submitting poor GRE scores.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?
Ideally, at least two letters should come from professors who know your writing well, and one letter should address your potential for graduate study. However, we do accept letters from employers or literary mentors. It is not a good idea to have friends or family write your letters of recommendation.

Can my TA write me a letter of recommendation?
Yes.

Letters of Recommendation:
All letters of recommendation must be submitted online through Apply Yourself. You'll list the names and emails of your recommenders and they will receive instructions on uploading letters. We do accept materials through dossier services such as Interfolio, but we do not accept hard copy letters of recommendation.

What is my Statement of Purpose?
Your Statement of Purpose should be a brief, personal/literary essay that will give the admissions committee a sense of who you are and why you are applying to the program. While there is no set page/word requirement, most applicants submit between two and four double spaced pages. The Statement of Purpose is "Statement #1" on the online application. "Statement #2" concerns diversity and is not required; please read the guidelines carefully. If you feel you don't fit the criteria for Statement #2, you don't need to submit anything; however, if you wish, you may submit a statement concerning your writing background.

What is the GPA calculation sheet?
The GPA cover sheet is a tabulation of literature courses you have completed. As an MFA student, you will be expected to take literature courses within the English department and in other departments. However, many of our students do not have backgrounds in English literature. If you have not taken literature courses, fill out the GPA sheet with "not applicable." Do not submit composition or creative writing courses on this sheet.

Do you grant application fee waivers?
The English Department does not grant fee waivers. The Graduate School may waive fees for veterans and active members of the military; please contact them at gsquest@umn.edu.

MFA Program Specific

Can I enroll in the MFA Program part-time?
No. Ours is a three-year full-time program.

What if I want to apply in two separate genres?
You may apply in more than one genre, but you must complete a separate application and pay another application fee. In general, we recommend that you apply in the genre that represents your strongest work as a writer. If selected to be a MFA candidate, you can pursue work in other genres once in the program, though switching genre tracks is not automatic. You must go through an application process if you wish to switch tracks.

What are your program demographics?
Our students are a broad range of ages. They come from a variety of academic backgrounds, cultures, and life experience. Students from underrepresented groups may want to know about the Office for Diversity in Graduate Education and external opportunities available for fellowships and community support: http://www.grad.umn/edu/outreach

Can I meet with someone to discuss the program?
Unfortunately, we are not able to meet individually with applicants. If you have additional questions about the program or about the application process, email us at creawrit@umn.edu or email our Graduate Program Coordinator, Holly Vanderhaar, at vande629@umn.edu.

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