Frequently Asked Questions
The University of Oregon's Creative Writing Program ("the Program") is a two-year full-time residency Master of Fine Arts program. Although the Program no longer provides printed materials, general information and answers to commonly asked questions about the Program are located within this website and/or other University of Oregon units such as:
If you have additional questions after reviewing the links above and information below, please email the Creative Writing Program.
How many applications do you typically receive each year?
Since 2005, we've received between 500-600 per application season; however, we received over 720 applications for Fall 2010 admission. Although the amount of applications varies by year, the Program always remains competitive.
How many students are in the MFA program?
The total number of students in the Program averages 24 each year. Admission is offered yearly to 12 applicants (divided equally between fiction and poetry).
What is the difference between terms (quarters) versus semesters?
The University of Oregon is term-based (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer). Each term is 11 weeks including finals.
What is the typical MFA student course load?
CRWR MFA students take 9-16 credit hours each term. CRWR workshops and seminars are each generally three hours long with a short break in the middle, once each week. Because CRWR Writing & Conferences are one-on-one tutorials, the duration varies with each instructor. A student's schedule for each term usually consists of a Workshop, a Seminar, and a Writing & Conference (replaced by Thesis hours in the second year), although this can vary slightly depending on course availability. In addition, students seeking second-year funding take composition pedagogy courses (through the Department of English) during Winter and/or Spring term(s) of their first year.
How large are the workshops?
The limit for each workshop is 15 students, but they are usually smaller.
What does the typical thesis look like?
The CRWR MFA thesis is a book-length manuscript and is defined as "a sustained piece of imaginative writing (poetry or fiction) of high literary merit." It is not an essay.
Can I take a course outside of the program?
Typically, MFA students work toward the degree through CRWR courses; however, students may take courses outside of CRWR. While it is possible to take courses outside of CRWR, credit for such courses toward the MFA degree is at the discretion of the Director.
What type of financial support or fellowships do you offer?
Each year, CRWR accepts 12 graduate students (6 per genre). Traditionally, each of these incoming students is offered a Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF); however, there have been occasions where students have been admitted without funding.
(See also: Teaching Fellowships and Financial Aid.)
Funding through the first year is dependent on satisfactory progress toward the degree and a successful teaching record.
Students with a GTF appointment (.49 FTE) receive full tuition waivers, monthly stipends, and health coverage. (See also: Graduate School: Salary and Benefits.)
What does the Graduate Teaching Fellowship involve?
In the first year, Program GTFs teach one course per 11-week term (including finals) for a total of three courses a year in either Introduction to Creative Writing (fiction or poetry) or a section of the Kidd Tutorials. No previous teaching experience is required for the GTF appointments.
During their second year, MFA candidates typically receive a GTF appointment teaching composition in the English Department (CRWR and English are separate units at the UO). Eligibility to teach composition is dependent on successfully completing pedagogical courses offered by the English Department in the MFA student's first year.
Support for a third year GTF appointment within CRWR is limited; however, there may be opportunities in other units. CRWR thesis advisor permission is required before application for third-year support is sought.
What does the stipend cover?
The stipend is generally enough for the average single person to reasonably live on in the Eugene/Springfield area. For more information, check out the Office of the Registrar's webpage:
- "How Much Will It Cost?" for tuition rates (covered if you receive a GTF appointment)
- "Student Budget Planner" (select "Graduate" from the drop-down menu)
Is there any additional support to cover costs to enter contests, residencies/retreats, or travel?
CRWR does not cover submission fees; however, it does have several internal program awards for MFA students that may be used to cover such expenses.
What other sorts of financial aid are available?
A limited number of fellowships, scholarships, and awards are available through the Graduate School. Other forms of financial aid are available through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Does the program have any community outreach programs for MFA students?
Although such opportunities are sometimes available within the Eugene/Springfield community, CRWR does not currently offer any outreach programs or volunteer opportunities.
Are there any local literary festivals, a local art community, etc.?
There are a variety of local festivals (some of which are literary) in the Eugene/Springfield area; involvement with the local art community depends on the individual.
Are there study or teach abroad opportunities for MFA students?
There are currently no study or teach abroad opportunities offered by CRWR; however, there may be such opportunities offered through other UO units.
On what do you base acceptance?
Faculty members evaluate completed applications only. All components of each application are considered.
What can I do to increase my chances of being accepted into the program?
Submit your very best writing. Get letters of recommendation from people familiar with your work and with you as a student. Make sure your application and all supporting materials are postmarked by January 15.
Will I improve my chances for acceptance if I visit your campus?
No. Although some applicants choose to visit the campus to help them decide if they want to apply to the Program, applicants are not permitted to sit in on any graduate level workshops or seminars. As a rule, the Program Director, faculty, and current students only engage with applicants after they have been accepted.
Is there any advantage to sending in an application long before the deadline?
No. Faculty members do not begin reading applications until January.
What is a profile of the successful applicant?
The most successful applicants have an undergraduate degree with a B average or better; undergraduate or community workshop study in creative writing; enrollment in several literature courses, often with a major in English; ease within the university environment and respect for university teaching; knowledge of our faculty and a clear reason for wishing to study with them.
If I am accepted, may I defer my entrance into the program?
Acceptance into the Program is for Fall term only and cannot be deferred until Winter or Spring term. Deferment until the following year is only allowed under extraordinary circumstances.
May I transfer credits from another graduate school?
Once an applicant has been admitted, only approved seminar credits may be transferred to apply toward the literature requirements of the degree. Workshop credits are never accepted as transfer credits.
Is the January 15 deadline for applications a firm deadline?
Yes; however, materials received afterward with a postmark on/before January 15 will be accepted.
What if I miss the January 15 deadline?
You will need to wait and apply for the following year when the next application season begins in October.
Can I apply in both fiction and poetry?
Yes; however, you must submit two separate application packets (only one application fee is required). To obtain a fee bypass for the second submittal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Each packet must be complete since the fiction and poetry applications are reviewed by different committees. If admitted, students may only take workshops in the genre for which they are accepted.
May I send more than the required number of pages for my writing sample?
No. Limit your writing sample to 14 pages for poetry and 25 pages for fiction. Additional pages will not be read by the admissions committee. Only submit writing samples in your chosen genre. (If you are submitting separate applications in fiction and poetry, you will need to supply the appropriate writing sample for each application.)
May I send nonfiction writing samples in a fiction application?
No. Although we offer some creative nonfiction courses and encourage our writers to explore this genre, because we offer only a fiction or poetry MFA, only applications to those genres will be accepted.
How important is the GRE score?
We pay no attention to the quantitative portion of the exam; however, the verbal and analytical writing sections help us form a better picture of how academically prepared you are for graduate study. An average GRE score in either category will not keep a talented writer out of the Program. All applicants must present scores less than five (5) years old, regardless of educational background.
Is there a minimum GPA requirement?
The Program follows the same guidelines as the UO Office of Admissions. More information may be obtained by visiting their website.
The most successful applicants to our program have an undergraduate degree with a B average or better; undergraduate or community workshop study in creative writing; enrollment in several literature courses, often with a major in English; ease within the university environment and respect for university teaching; knowledge of our faculty and a clear reason for wishing to study with them.
May I send materials not required by the Creative Writing Program?
No. Do not send extraneous application materials such as video cassettes, tapes, news clippings, chapbooks, etc. Also, do not send specialized file covers, bindings, or folders. The strength of your application lies within the required information; each application will be reviewed and considered for admission on the basis of the required materials alone.
May I identify more than 3 recommenders?
Three recommendations are required as part of your application. Identifying a fourth recommender is not required, nor will it increase your chances of admission.
Do my letters of recommendation have to be from college professors?
The most useful letters of recommendation come from teachers familiar with your creative writing and with you as a student. Letters from other college professors, who may be familiar with your habits as a student and with your academic writing, may also be helpful. Letters from employers, unless the work was directly related to writing, are less helpful to us.
Can recommenders submit their letters before I've completed the online application?
Yes. You may provide your recommenders with the ability to respond prior to finishing your application by completing the Letters of Recommendation page of the online application. (Note: We suggest you contact your recommenders before providing their contact information.)
When you enter your recommenders' information and press SAVE or SAVE AND CONTINUE, they will immediately receive an automated email with instructions on how to respond. (The link provided to them will take them to a web-page where they will see information regarding the waiver of your right to see the letter, and a web-form to enter or upload their recommendation letter.) Once emails have been sent, you will not be able to modify recommender information.
Only one email is sent per recommender identified. The Letters of Recommendation page of the online application may not formally indicate that you have officially completed the page; however, you are barred from making changes to recommender information once an email has been released. Regardless of whether you have submitted your application or not, each recommender receives only one auto-generated email per application.
How will my recommenders know to submit their letters? Where do they upload them?
Recommenders will be contacted via email once you have completed required fields and pressed "next" at the bottom of the page. We encourage you to identify your recommenders as soon as possible to give them ample time to respond.
Can my recommendations come from a dossier service or career service center?
- Interfolio: Visit Interfolio's website for instructions on "How do I have my confidential documents uploaded to a web page?" Recommendation letters receive an Interfolio-issued email address which may be included with the respective recommender's first name, last name, position, and institution.
- Other Services: If the service you use does not provide upload instructions, you will need to complete the first recommender position as follows:
- First Name: Name of Service
- Last Name: Full name of first recommender
- Position: (first recommender's)
- Institution: (first recommender's)
- Email Address: email address provided by Service
Recommenders 2 and 3 must be "completed" by inserting the first name, last name, position, and institution of the required recommenders along with a fictitious email address (i.e., email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org); then mark the box next to "This letter will not be sent online." The system will auto-generate an email to the Service where they can upload recommendations on file for you in a single PDF.
|Converting Documents (PDFs)
How do I create a PDF from my word processing document?
Open your word processing document, press "Save As..." and change the "Save as type:" to PDF (.pdf) OR
Open your word processing document, access the print dialog (Ctrl-P or Apple-P), change target to "Adobe PDF" (you will be forced to save the document) OR
Print your word processing document and scan it to a PDF. If you need assistance in doing this, consider contacting a local copy service center such as Kinkos/FedEx OR
Ask a family member, friend, or colleague for assistance.
Do not call the Program office as we are working as quickly as possible to update records.
I don't have a PDF copy of my transcripts. How do I get one?
You may already have access to an electronic copy of your unofficial transcript(s) through an online student account. If not, contact Registrar's Office of your institution(s) to obtain a paper copy and then scan and convert it into a PDF to upload. If you need assistance with the conversion, consider contacting a local copy service center such as FedEx/Kinkos.
May I get advice from a University of Oregon faculty member regarding my application?
No. Since we receive hundreds of applications each year, we are not in a position to critique an applicant’s writing sample—or any other part of the application—before or after the process takes place.
April 15 Resolution
Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants
published by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)
This Resolution applies to offers of financial support only, not offers of admission.
CGS has prepared a shareable PDF of the Resolution that includes a list of CGS member institutions that have expressed support for the agreement.
Please do not call or email the Creative Writing Program office
to check on the status of your application.