Application Procedure & Forms
The Master of Fine Arts in Writing program accepts new students twice a year for semesters beginning with the January and June residencies; students may enter the program at either time.
For priority consideration, submit all application materials by September 1st for the semester beginning in January or by March 1st for the semester beginning in June. Applications received after these dates will be considered as space allows and may be processed for the following semester.
Qualified applicants should hold an undergraduate degree or be close to completing one at the time of application. Admission is based primarily on the quality of the applicant's original creative writing in one of the program areas: fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry. In addition, the Admissions Board looks for promise exhibited in the critical and personal essays. In the latter, applicants should address their ability to participate productively and supportively in a writing community and to sustain commitment through extended independent work periods during the correspondence semesters.
Materials the Applicant Submits
Application form. Please type or print in ink.
Creative manuscript. Submit work in the genre you wish to study. Students in the MFA program must choose one primary genre. If you are not sure which genre to choose, you may submit work in two genres and let the Admissions Board decide for you.
- Poetry: 10 pages (no more than one poem per page)
- Fiction: 15 pages maximum (double-spaced)
- Nonfiction: 15 pages maximum (double-spaced)
Personal essay. Maximum of three pages, addressing the following:
- Your background in the study of creative writing and literature
- Additional writing or workshop experience
- Literary influences on your writing, including the titles of books in your genre by writers you feel have shaped your thinking (not including our MFA faculty)
- How your schedule will accommodate devoting 20 to 25 hours per week to your writing and to the completion of program requirements
- Reasons why a low-residency MFA program suits your level of experience and your goals for future development as a writer
Critical analysis. Maximum of three pages exploring some aspect of or element of craft in a literary work.
Two letters of reference. Fill out the top portion of the reference letter form and send to your references. They should mail the completed form to the MFA office. References should be able to assess your qualifications for graduate study in writing.
Transcripts. Arrange for official, sealed transcripts of your undergraduate and, if applicable, your graduate studies showing evidence of degrees earned to be sent to the MFA office from your previous school(s). Mailing transcripts to Pacific’s undergraduate admissions office or other departments may cause your application to be delayed.
Application fee. Include a nonrefundable application fee of $50.00 with your application materials, payable to Pacific University.
The manuscript, personal essay, and critical analysis must be typewritten in Times, 12 point, with page numbers and your name on each poem, story, essay, or chapter. With the exception of poetry manuscripts (which should be single-spaced, one poem per page), all pages should be doubled-spaced. If you are mailing all materials, please send three copies of the manuscript, personal essay, and critical analysis. To save paper, you may email your writing to the MFA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Pacific offers MFA scholarships based on the quality of creative manuscripts. No additional application is required.
If you are applying for financial aid, early application is suggested. For more information, see the Cost, Scholarships and Financial Aid page or contact the Financial Aid Office: email@example.com. We recommend that you not wait for your financial aid letter to enroll in the MFA program. Spaces are limited, and once you are accepted they are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
To Applicants Who Are Reapplying
If you are reapplying to the Pacific MFA in Writing program within one year of your previous application, submit the following: 1) a new or revised manuscript, 2) a new or revised personal essay, 3) a new or revised critical analysis, 4) a new application form and $50.00 fee. Updated references and transcripts are optional.
Summary of Materials Applicant Submits
- Application form
- Manuscript (3 copies if mailing)
- Personal essay (3 copies if mailing)
- Critical analysis (3 copies if mailing)
- A $50 non-refundable application fee, payable to Pacific University.
Additional Materials Sent Separately by the Applicant's References and Universities
These are not required if you are applying only for the Residency Writers Conference. For students applying for the full program, please arrange to have the following materials sent separately to the MFA in Writing program:
- Two letters of recommendation
- Official, sealed copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts showing evidence of degrees earned
Where To Send All Application Materials
Mail all application materials to the address below. To save paper, please note that you may email your creative manuscript, personal essay and critical anaysis to the MFA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MFA in Writing Administrative Office
530 NW 12th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
We welcome the opportunity to speak with applicants and invite you to call or write us with any questions you may have. Please contact assistant director Colleen Sump at 503-352-1533 or email@example.com.