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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 from an accredited four-year institution 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. You must complete at least one year of a Masters program in addition to the three-year Bachelors to be considered.

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 (currently $18,600), health benefits, and tuition waiver. Students are responsible for student services fees, which currently amount to about $1,000 for the first semester, and $850 for subsequent semesters.

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. Our current funding package typically 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

Is the December 1 deadline firm?

Yes. All of your materials to the Graduate School and to the Department of English, including language proficiency test scores, must be included in your application, and your application submitted, by 11:59 p.m. on December 1. (An exception is made for letters of recommendation, which must be received by 11:59 p.m. on December 7 to be included in your portfolio.)

When will I be notified of the program's admission decision?

We expect to send out all notifications by the end of February 2021.

Do you require/recommend the GRE?

We no longer require or recommend the GRE exam. 

My GPA is not 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.

How do I submit my letters of recommendation?

All letters should be submitted electronically, directly into the online application, or via a dossier service such as Interfolio. 

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.

Do you accept letters of recommendation through postal mail?

No, all letters must be submitted electronically into the online application. If your recommender has difficulty with the online portal, please have them contact the program at creawrit@umn.edu.

Do you accept letters of recommendation from a dossier service such as Interfolio?

Yes, we do accept materials through dossier services such as Interfolio. Please follow the dossier service's instructions on uploading letters directly into your application; do not have them emailed to the creative writing program.

What is my Statement of Purpose/Diversity Statement?

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.

In your diversity statement, 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.

What is the GPA calculation sheet?

The GPA calculation sheet is intended for applicants to the English MA/PhD programs in literature and is not required for MFA applicants.

Do you grant application fee waivers?

Unfortunately, the English department, which houses the creative writing program, does not grant application fee waivers.

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.

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.

If you experience problems with the online application, please contact the application contractor's tech helpline. We are unable to provide tech support.