MFA Application Requirements

Please note that the deadline for applications varies by genre:

  • Prospective Fiction students' applications and supporting material must be submitted by 12:00 noon (CST), December 1.
  • Prospective Poetry students' applications and materials must be submitted by 12:00 noon (CST), December 15.

We admit students for the Fall semester only.

Applicants to the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing are required to:

  1. Application   Submit an online Application for Admission to the Graduate College. Please note that this requires an application fee, which you can read more about here
  2. Intent to Specialize   Indicate your intent to specialize in Poetry or Fiction under the heading "Application Information," Field(s) of Specialization on the online application.
  3. Transcripts   Submit one copy of each transcript of all previous college-level work.  The transcript must indicate the name of the applicant, name of the institution, and show grades by semester/quarter. You are required to upload one copy of all previous college-level work to your online application. Please include a copy of the transcript legend or university key (back page in most cases) for each institution. English translations should be included if the credentials are not in English. Official transcripts are not required at initial time of application; however, the University of Illinois reserves the right to require official academic credentials at any time during the admissions process, and may rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between unofficial and official transcript(s) are found.  Additional details about uploading are available on the graduate college website.   Only if you are recommended for admission will you need to provide official credentials (sent to us by mail directly from the institution). Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents which must show the award of degrees. Please do not send these official records until we request them from you.  
  4. Letters of Recommendation   Submit three letters of recommendation, preferably from instructors of your college English courses. Letters may be electronically uploaded to your online application by your recommenders, or through Interfolio. Letters can also be mailed with a sealed envelope with the recommender's signature across the seal. 
  5. Statement of Purpose   Upload a 300-500 word Statement of Purpose (see below). Please include on your statement your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address (if available). Submit only one statement. Please upload to your online application in the "Academic Statement of Purpose" area on the Statements page.
  6. Writing Sample   Upload a Writing Sample. No more than 20-25 pages of fiction or 15 pages of poetry are to be uploaded to your online application. Please include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address (if available).  Please upload to your online application in the “Writing Sample” area.

As of 2020, the GRE General Test is no longer required for MFA applicants.

Application Materials

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