MFA Application Checklist

MFA student in sunglasses reads at a podium
MFA student Lillian reads for our program's Castalia reading series. Photo taken by Kobe Overby
MFA student speaking at a podium
MFA student Tenzin speaking as emcee for our MFA program's Castalia reading series. Photo taken by Kobe Overby
MFA student reader at a podium in black and white
MFA student Binh reads for our program's Castalia reading series. Photo taken by Kobe Overby

MFA in Creative Writing Application Checklist

For frequently asked questions, please see our MFA FAQ page. 

*Effective the Autumn 2021 admissions cycle, GRE General Test scores are no longer required as a part of the application.

The application deadline is January 2. If January 2 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the deadline is the following Monday. 

***Note: Be sure to select: Creative Writing (MFA) - English - Seattle Campus. You'll need to select either Poetry or Prose.
(The UW-Bothell MFA program is independent and located at the Bothell campus.)

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For questions about application procedures, please email

Application Materials

Unofficial Transcripts from All Colleges or Universities Attended

One copy of transcripts from each college or university attended, reflecting all graduate and undergraduate coursework is required. This copy will be considered "unofficial," but will suffice for application purposes. If admitted, you will be asked to submit official transcripts (a transcript in a sealed envelope bearing the Registrar's seal) from your degree-granting institution to the University of Washington Graduate School. 

Statement of Purpose (500 - 1,000 words)

The statement of purpose is generally between one and two pages long. It indicates some of the intellectual training and background of prospective students, their fields of interest in future English graduate studies, how the program and faculty at the University of Washington is suited to their needs, and what they would hope to bring to the program. 

Please address the questions below in your statement of purpose. Keep in mind that there are many ways to answer these questions. The committee is not looking for a particular response, but rather a personal reflection on the link between your background and your work as an artist.  

  • What are you writing and why?
  • What are you passionate about reading and why?
  • How has who you are and how you came to writing influenced these interests and passions?

Critical Writing Sample

The critical writing sample should be the applicant's best writing, often a revised essay from an undergraduate course or part of a senior project. It is ideal if the paper takes up works or issues identified as areas of interest in the personal statement. There is a great degree of flexibility in regards to the length of the critical paper. This portion of your application can be as short as 8 pages to as long as 25 pages.

Creative Writing Sample

A creative writing sample is required for the MFA application. Poets should send 6-10 poems; prose writers should send 10-30 pages of short stories, memoir, personal essays, or a novel.

Three Letters of Recommendation

Use the online application to provide contact information for three people who will submit letters of recommendation by providing their names and email addresses. The most useful recommendations come from college professors familiar with your work as a student. Letters from employers may be helpful if your work was directly related to writing or teaching.

Proof of English Language Proficiency (Non-native English Speakers Only)

Minimum admission requirements: Non-native English speakers must demonstrate English language proficiency in one of the ways listed on the UW Graduate School’s Policy 3.2: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements.

Requirements to hold a TA-ship/ASE teaching position: MFA students interested in an Academic Student Employee (ASE) position must also demonstrate English language proficiency in one of the ways listed on the UW Graduate School’s Policy 5.2: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English. You must receive a score of at least 26 on the speaking section of TOEFL-iBT or a score of at least 7.0 on the speaking section of the IELTS in order to be eligible to teach.

How to submit official TOEFL scores: Contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to order your official TOEFL score report. TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date. Our institution code is: 4854. Department code: 99 (any department).

How to submit official IELTS scoresThe University of Washington only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS testing center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. All IELTS test centers can report scores electronically. You must request from the center where you took the test that your scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system (E-TRF) to the following address: University of Washington All Campuses, Organisation ID 365, Undergrad & Graduate Admis, Box 355850, Seattle, WA, 98105, United States of America. If you have already taken the IELTS, you can go to the IELTS test center location for the email address of the IELTS Administrator to make your request. Allow a minimum of 13 working days for reporting test results to our school. IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date.