MFA in Creative Writing: Admissions

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On This Page

Overview
Application Deadline
Application Process
Funding and Graduate Assistantships
English Language Proficiency Requirement

Questions?

Contact the Creative Writing Director, Leni Zumas, at zumas@pdx.edu or the Program Coordinator at grdstudy@pdx.edu.

Overview

Admission to graduate study is granted on the basis of evidence of preparedness to undertake advanced work and the probability of successful completion of the degree. All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution (the degree may be in progress at the time of application but must be completed before admission can be finalized). We also expect an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.25.

Students apply to the genre in which they wish to work: fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

In compiling your application, consider that the most important part is your writing sample. We are looking for promise, which may take many forms and varies according to genre, but in all cases includes an engagement with language. While many students enter the MFA program with a background in English literature, writing, or journalism, it is not required. Many of our strongest students come from backgrounds in the sciences, social sciences, and other areas in the humanities.

Application Deadline

The MFA in Creative Writing Program admits once a year. The deadline for application for Fall enrollment is January 15. There is no flexibility on the deadline. Applications must be submitted and complete with all supplemental materials by the applicable deadline.

Application Process

Applications are submitted electronically through the Graduate School

  • For the "Letters of Recommendation" section, fill out the recommender's contact information. Click on "Submit Recommendation Request" to send an automated request via email. The recommender will then receive an email with a link that they will follow to upload your letter of recommendation.  You can send these requests before submitting your application materials.  

  • After your application has been submitted, you will be able to log back in and monitor the status of your letters of recommendation. You can send a reminder to your recommenders, add new recommenders, or edit information about an existing recommender.

  • Upload all files as PDF/DOC/DOCX/RTF. JPG/TIF/PNG/PDF/GIF is allowed for test scores or transcripts.

  • You will not be able to make corrections to a submitted application.

Required Supplemental Materials

  • A personal introduction. Approximately two-to-three pages, double-spaced, describing the applicant's background as a writer, goals, and interest in this particular program.
     
  • A manuscript. The manuscript should be in the applicant's primary genre. Manuscript form is defined as having one inch margins, double spaced text, a single, clear, 12-point typeface, no extra space between paragraphs, indented first line for each paragraph, information identifying the author and title of the manuscript on every page, and page numbers. Poetry manuscripts may be single-spaced. Previously published, single-authored work will be accepted. Manuscripts should demonstrate mastery of basic craft and literary promise, and should represent your best work regardless of whether or not it has been published. Writing samples can be comprised of one or multiple bodies of work equal the page requirements listed below.

    Fiction: 20-30 pages
    Nonfiction: 20-30 pages of magazine articles and/or creative nonfiction
    Poetry: 12-15 pages
     
  • Minimum of 3 letters of recommendation. These should come from a professional or academic author who can comment on your academic performance, or attest to your skills as they pertain to your selected program of study.
     
  • Transcripts. Submit an unofficial transcript from each post-secondary institution you have attended. These transcripts must be a scan of both the front and back of each page of an official transcript issued to you, and may not be a printout of your academic record from your school's website. If you are accepted into the program and decide to attend, you must submit official transcripts to the Graduate School before you can register for classes for your first term of attendance.  
     
  • C.V. / Resume (optional). A C.V. or resume is optional but strongly recommended for applicants who would like to be considered for a Graduate Assistantship.

The MFA in Creative Writing Program does not require GRE scores.

Funding and Graduate Assistantships

The English Department offers a very limited number of Graduate Assistantships. Graduate Assistants receive a stipend and a 9-credit tuition remission in Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. GAs are appointed for 2 years. To apply, check the box on the departmental application when you are asked if you would like to be considered for a Graduate Assistantship. The departmental application will then double as the GAship application.

See the English Department graduate student funding page for more information on funding options, including University-wide Graduate Assistantships, awards, and scholarships.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

If the applicant's native language is not English, and the applicant has not received a baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalently accredited non‐U.S. institution with instruction exclusively in English, the student must demonstrate English language proficiency. Such applicants must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (100 on the internet‐based test or 250 on the computer‐based test). The International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) may be substituted for the TOEFL; the minimum acceptable score is 7.5. For further information about the English Language Proficiency Requirement, visit the Graduate School's English Language Proficiency page, or contact International Admissions at 503-725-8410 or gradschool@pdx.edu.