How to Apply

To apply to our MFA program (or any MFA program) you must first have an undergraduate degree.  Many applicants have undergraduate English or Journalism or Communications degrees, though some students come to the program with Science or Business degrees.  Ideally, applicants should have a respectable grade point average and at least 18 credit hours of English courses.

But by far the most important element of your application is the writing sample: 10-15 poems if applying in poetry; 20-30 pages of prose if applying in fiction (roughly two stories or novel chapters).  Send us your most compelling, most insightful, most entertaining work. Send us the work that best represents your abilities and your aspirations as a writer.

To begin your application, go to the graduate school’s handy “How to Apply” page. There, you will find the online application portal. Your application should include:

1. Your Writing Sample: 10-15 poems, 20-30 pages of fiction.

2. Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your professional and/or academic promise and performance.

3. Statement of Purpose: What are your writerly aspirations? How does an MFA fit into them? How does UMSL?

If you wish to apply for a Teaching Assistantship, you must provide these ADDITIONAL documents with your application. They can be submitted electronically (as .pdf, .docx, or .doc attachments) to seelys@umsl.edu.

4. Application for Teaching Assistantship: Fill out the application

5. Sample of Scholarly Work:  The Admissions Committee wants to see an example of your critical work as an undergraduate. Please choose work that best demonstrates your critical skills and writing ability. Ideally, we would like to see a critical paper that evaluates some aspect of American, British or World literature.  If you don't have such a paper, then please submit a research paper or piece of journalism.

6.Teaching Statement: Tell us how you would approach teaching first-year composition and how you see teaching and tutoring fitting into your graduate career and beyond. The link below will take you to a page that describes in more detail what your teaching statement should entail. 

Teaching Statement Instructions