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How to Apply

The deadline to submit all materials for
MFA applications is December 15 (11:59 p.m. Central Time).
Applications are accepted for fall semester admission only.

Please direct any questions regarding
graduate Creative Writing to

Deadlines for 2021 Admissions: 

  • All application materials are due by 11:59 p.m. Central on Dec. 15.
  • Letters of recommendation are due from recommenders by 11:59 p.m. Central on Dec. 22.

Important Update: 11/10/20

Thank you for your patience in this very unsettled admissions season. We have received an exception that will allow us to offer admission to a small cohort of up to six applicants who qualify for Creating Inclusive Cohorts first-year fellowships. (Note: there is no separate application process for the CIC; you only need to submit the regular MFA program application, including the required diversity statement. See list of required materials below.)

These fellowships are designed to support academically excellent students with diverse ethnic, racial, economic, and educational backgrounds and experiences; applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents (unfortunately, international students are not eligible for CIC fellowships).

CIC fellows will receive a $25,000 fellowship for their first year; medical and dental benefits; and additional summer and travel funding. They will not be required to teach during their first year. (For the second and third years, CIC fellows will be fully funded via our usual teaching assistantship funding package--see "Funding and Policies" for more information.)

This year the Creative Writing MFA program will only be considering applicants who can be supported by the Creating Inclusive Cohorts program. You can learn more about the Creating Inclusive Cohorts program at Please reach out to us at with any questions.
We're also extending our application deadline to Dec. 15, 2020 (11:59 p.m. Central Time), given the late notice about our 2021 admissions. (Please ask your recommenders to submit their letters by Dec. 22.)

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. It is not necessary to calculate your GPA for any English classes you have taken (that question is intended for applicants to the MA and PhD programs in literature). As of fall 2020, the MFA program no longer recommends, and will not consider, GRE scores as part of the holistic review of applications. Please do not submit GRE scores.

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 Graduate application page. Please note that the English Department is unable to waive application fees.
  2. Statement of purpose (500-1,000 words): The MFA application’s statement of purpose should give the admissions committee a sense of your literary/artistic interests and sensibilities.  You may address creative or intellectual influences, projects completed or underway, or goals within the context of our three-year program and beyond. 
  3. Diversity statement (500-1,000 words): The University of Minnesota is a large campus with a diverse student population. Our MFAs join this community as writers, students, teachers, and residents of the greater Twin Cities. Please discuss how you will contribute/commit to the artistic, social, and intellectual diversity of the program, our student body, and campus environs. We are particularly interested in how this commitment/contribution will manifest in workshop and classroom interactions. How might you engage with Creative Writing’s efforts to build a diverse and inclusive community by fostering underrepresented voices? Diversity, here, includes but is not limited to: race, indigeneity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, cultural/educational background, (dis)ability, nationality, and socioeconomic status. We welcome you to write this as a personal narrative including matters relevant to and challenges against your pursuit of graduate education.

  4. 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 (

  5. 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.

  6. 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.)
  7. Résumé or CV
  8. Application fee: We are sorry, but the English Department is unable to waive the application fee.

Supplementary Materials

  1. 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.

  2. 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.