Frequently Asked Questions

Note to applicants: The most important thing to understand about our admissions process is that the writing samples, personal statements, and MCW coversheets are read first.   Semi-finalists are chosen on that basis alone, and we then check their references, GRE scores, and transcripts.  All materials are due by the Dec 15th deadline, but if a letter or transcript is missing despite your best efforts, you will be contacted should you become a semi-finalist.

Is there more than one creative writing program at UT?

Yes, and we encourage you to consider applying concurrently to our affiliated departments’ programs.  While our program is unique in its interdisciplinary approach, all graduate creative writing students at UT Austin have access to the same workshops and courses, including those taught by our distinguished visiting faculty.

UT’s Department of English offers a two-year MFA in Creative Writing in fiction or poetry, now called the New Writers Project.  Their students are supported by TAships (which include a good health insurance package and tuition assistance) for three semesters and a Michener fellowship in the final semester.   Their program also includes editorial opportunities with the department’s literary magazine, Bat City Review.

Theatre and Dance offers a three-year MFA in Playwriting, in which students are supported by a combination of departmental fellowships, Michener scholarships, and teaching assistantships.  Playwrights from both Theatre and MCW share workshops, production opportunities, and play development opportunities at two major play festivals on campus.

Radio-TV-Film offers an MFA in Screenwriting.  Their MFA candidates receive annual Michener scholarship stipends and are eligible for TAships in the department, and enjoy wider access to production opportunities in the Film program.

If you wish to apply to one of the other UT programs as well as ours, you will need to submit the required materials to both departments and meet GIAC’s requirements for multiple applications.

How important is the GRE score?

A low GRE score has never kept a terrifically talented writer out of the program. We look most closely at your verbal score, obviously. But it does help form our overall picture of how academically prepared you are for graduate study. All applicants must present scores less than 5 years old, regardless of educational background.

Who should I ask for letters of reference?

Use your best judgment in securing meaningful letters. Obviously, letters from professors or workshop instructors of any writing classes you’ve taken are most useful. If you have been out of school for a while, you might ask for letters from persons you have worked with professionally or in non-academic writing groups. Your sister or your therapist are probably not good alternatives (yes, we’ve actually gotten such letters).

Is it okay to request more than 3 letters?

Three letters are enough. Extra letters generally aren’t helpful.

What should I say in my Statement of Purpose?

First, stick to the 350-word limit:   we have a lot of reading to do.

Think of this statement as a kind of lens through which all the other elements of your application can be brought into focus for us.   It is your chance to speak in your own words about yourself.   The best personal statements balance clear-eyed professionalism with a fresh voice, without being gimmicky.

Put a header on your statement that includes your name and your PRIMARY and SECONDARY fields.  If you have some special preparation or background in the secondary field, it’s worth briefly mentioning in the statement.

The MCW Coversheet doesn’t appear on the electronic application anywhere!?!

Correct.  The coversheet is a available on our website only.  You will email the completed document to the MCW offices (see below).  Some versions of Acrobat will allow you to fill it in electronically; others will need to print it , fill in manually, scan, and send—either way is fine.  It’s due by December 15 as is everything else.   The subject line of the email you send containing your coversheet must read:   COVERSHEET:  Last Name,  First name  (Primary field).  For example,

COVERSHEET:  Hemingway, Ernest (Fiction)

Email to mcw@www.utexas.edu