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How to Apply

The deadline to submit all materials for
MFA applications is December 1 (11:59 p.m. CST).
Applications are accepted
for fall semester admission only.

Please direct any questions regarding
graduate Creative Writing to

Each year, the MFA program accepts up to 12 students total in fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction. We expect to notify all applicants of our admissions decision by the end of February. To apply to the Creative Writing Program, you must complete the online application, uploading the materials described below. (If a material is not listed in the "Required" section, we do not require it; e.g. there is a section to upload a description of your research on the application but we do not require it.) As part of the application, you will be asked to choose a genre and to calculate your GPA for any English classes you have taken (literature classes only; do not include composition or creative writing).

To begin your application, please go to the Graduate School's Apply Now page. For more information on applying to graduate school at the University of Minnesota (including application instructions, English language proficiency requirements, international student resources and more), please visit the Graduate Admissions Homepage.

Application Materials

Required Materials

  1. Online application: This will be submitted via this page. Please note that the English Department is unable to waive application fees.
  2. Statement of purpose: The statement of purpose for MFA applicants should be a personal essay or statement, 2–4 double-spaced pages in length, that will give the admissions committee a sense of who you are, what your career goals are, and why you are applying to the program. 
  3. Transcripts: Your unofficial transcript from each degree-granting college or university that you have attended is required. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please upload a .pdf of your unofficial transcripts directly into the application portal; do not send transcripts (paper or electronic) to the program. If you are unable to upload your transcripts for any reason, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office (
  4. Creative writing sample: For the MFA, your sample should be a substantial example of your creative work. The page limit for poetry is 15 pages, single spaced. The page limit for prose is 30 pages, double spaced. You may submit more than one story or a novel excerpt for fiction, or more than one nonfiction piece, but the total amount of pages may not exceed 30. You should submit your best work, even if that amounts to fewer than 30 pages.
  5. Three letters of recommendation: MFA applicants may ask TAs for recommendations, as well as professors, employers, and literary mentors. Files with two letters will still be reviewed; however, your chances for admission may be adversely affected. Applications that list fewer than two recommenders will be considered incomplete, and the application system will not accept the application.You may submit your application and pay the fee before your letters of recommendation have been received. Recommenders may upload letters after December 1, as long as they are uploaded by December 7. There are no exceptions to this, as the applications must go to the committees on December 8. (Yes, we do accept letters uploaded from dossier services such as Interfolio.)
  6. Résumé or CV
  7. Application fee: We are sorry, but the English Department is unable to waive the application fee.

Supplementary Materials

  1. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores: We recommend, but do not require, GRE General Test scores. Outstanding scores on the Verbal test may be used as a basis for nominating admitted students for additional fellowships. The absence of GRE scores will not adversely affect your application, however.

    Please have your GRE results sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the University. The University of Minnesota institution code is 6874. The department code is 2503. You will also enter your GRE scores in the online application.
  2. TOEFL or other English language examinations: Students whose native language is not English are required to submit scores from one of the following English proficiency examinations:
    Examination Minimum Score
    TOEFL 620 (paper based) or 105 (Internet based)
    MELAB 88
    IELTS 7.5

    Students whose native language is not English who have taken a minimum of one year of recent coursework at an English language university in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, or New Zealand may not have to submit English examination scores. In this case, they may need to take the GRE General Exam.

  3. Diversity of Views and Experiences Statement (this optional statement is listed in the application as "Diversity Statement"): The Office for Diversity in Graduate Education administers the DOVE Fellowship, awarded to first-year students from underrepresented groups. The fellowship provides a $25,000 stipend, tuition, and health benefits for one academic year. Graduate programs nominate prospective students who have been given an offer of admission. Please submit your diversity statement if you feel you fit the guidelines outlined by the Office for Diversity in Graduate Education.
  4. Extenuating Circumstances: You may upload a brief statement explaining anything about your application that may be unclear, or explaining circumstances that may have contributed to a lower GPA or test scores.

Please note that we cannot return CDs, books, news clippings or other supplementary materials sent through the mail.