MFA applicants must now submit all materials (including creative writing portfolios and graduate assistantship applications) via the VCU Online Application.
Traditionally, the general MFA program application deadline is February 1. However, if you are interested in becoming a full-time student and want to be considered for possible graduate assistantships, we recommend you submit your online application materials by January 15 of the year in which you are applying.
Admission to VCU’s MFA program in Creative Writing is quite competitive, with roughly 200 applications received yearly for only 8-10 spots. Added to this competitive process is the fact that typically we only admit full-time positions with graduate teaching assistantships. That said, every year we also admit a select few part-time MFA students (Note: most if not all graduate coursework is offered in the evening hours) and while still highly selective, it behooves such applicants who are seeking part-time enrollment to self-identify early in the application process (see actual application for more details).
MFA Application Checklist:
- An online application to graduate study (again the entire application is now electronic/online and can only be accessed/submitted by logging-in to the VCU Online Application portal).
- The 70.00 application fee (payable by credit card through the VCU Online Application). In certain cases, VCU may waive the fees for applicants that work for certain non-profit programs, including those that work for AmeriCorps. Applicants who believe they may be eligible for a fee waiver must provide documentation in advanced. They may send request to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be asked to provide documentation that of participation/award of one the eligible programs. If qualified, they will be provided with a coupon code that they may use in lieu of payment.
- Transcripts from each institution you attended. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded onto your online application; however, official transcripts will be required if you are admitted.
- Please note: GRE scores are no longer required for MFA in Creative Writing applicants.
- A “Statement of Intent.” As a part of the general online application, the School of Graduate Studies asks that you write an essay addressing “your reasons for seeking graduate education,” emphasizing such areas as goals, aptitude, awards, and honors. The creative writing program asks that you focus more on the following: Your reading habits; Your writing habits; Your experiences with criticism of your own work and the work of others, in workshops, perhaps, but in the study of literature as well; as well as what you see as your responsibilities in the community of writers of which you are a part.
- Three letters of reference are required for each program and should be submitted online by your recommenders. Instructions for how to do so are included in the online application. Letters should address your academic and professional abilities and preparation for graduate study, especially in a creative writing program. (If you are applying for a graduate teaching assistantship, at least two of these should specifically address your qualifications for an assistantship.) Note: the names, titles, and email addresses of your recommenders should be included in the VCU Online Application. Once your application has been submitted, VCU will contact your recommenders directly for an online letter of reference.
- The required creative writing portfolio: MFA-CRW-PY applicants must provide of eight to ten poems; MFA-CRW-FC applicants should submit twenty to fifty pages of fiction; For those wishing to apply under the dual-genre option (MFA-CRW-DG) please note that your portfolio may also consist of a combination of both of these main genres (poetry and fiction) or should you wish, a portion of your portfolio may feature a work of creative nonfiction. Be certain, however, that it includes only your best work.
- If you are applying for full-time enrollment and wish to be considered for a possible assistantship, please also submit (via the VCU Online Application portal) a single additional document that contains the following (in numbered order): 1) Provide a brief list of any/all creative writing workshops you've participated in the past 5 years, along with a paragraph long assessment of the not only what you feel you obtained from the workshop experience but also what/how you contributed to it. 2) An undergraduate, graduate or professional paper, or other piece of expository prose of 5-10 pages (i.e. - typically a sample literary analysis/research paper). 3) A brief essay (1-2 pages) in which you discuss some or all of the following: (A) Your teaching experience (consider previous graduate assistantships, public and private school, college and university, community programs); (B) Your educational background and your particular interest in a graduate degree, suggesting where your education seems to be leading; (C) Why working in the Writing Center, faculty research, or teaching in the classroom attracts you, and what qualifications you might have for such assignments. Again, please save/submit your “GTA application” as one document containing all three items listed above as part of the VCU Online Application portal.
The Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) is the creative writing program’s primary source of funding for its full-time students. All GTAs include a full tuition waiver plus 9-12 month annual stipend. The current 9-month stipend is $12,500 but some select GTA positions (Cabell Fellow, Levis Coordinator, Blackbird Lead Associate Editor) have higher annual 12-month stipends of up to $24,000.
*If you are applying for a graduate assistantship or any other type of financial aid, you should still complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it in a timely manner to Federal Student Aid Programs.
David Wojahn, Director of Creative Writing
Thom Didato, Graduate Programs Advisor