The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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The MFA for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst is a three-year residential graduate program that enrolls approximately 10 poets and 10 prose writers each academic year.  Admissions are competitive, averaging 450 applicants per year.   Admission is based on a faculty committee’s evaluation and Graduate School approval.  Applicants are accepted for admission for the Fall semester only.

The community of writers comprising the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass believes that diversity in all respects makes writers and literature stronger and better.  As a program that seeks to nurture the next generation of writers and their work, we are committed to creating a supportive environment for all of our students.  We welcome applications from people of color, LGBTQIA students, international students, veterans, first-generation college students, students with disabilities, students from all historically underrepresented groups, and everyone who wishes to be among a community of writers that regards contemporary literature as a valuable and dynamic force for humanity in the world.

Application Deadline

  • Applications for Fall 2020 admission for the MFA and the Writing Program Teaching Associateship must be submitted online no later than December 15, 2019.

How To Apply

The application process consists of two parts: an application to the MFA and an additional application to the Writing Program. 

Part I:  Online Application to the UMass Graduate School for the MFA

Application materials for the MFA should be submitted directly to the UMass Graduate School. This includes an original manuscript.  You must choose to study in one genre, either poetry or prose.  The online application, manuscript and Writing Program application must be submitted by the December 15 deadline.  If necessary, transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statements and resumés will continue to be accepted until January 5 via email to

Application to the Graduate School 

Your application needs to include the following:

Original Manuscript.

  • For poetry, submit up to 10 pages of poetry.
  • For prose, submit up to 20-25 pages of prose, which may be short stories, essays, creative non-fiction, an excerpt from a novel or longer work, or some combination of these.
  • Your manuscript must include your name and prose manuscripts must be paginated. 

Application fee.  There is an $80 application fee required by the Graduate School. The fee can be paid by check drawn on a U.S. bank or paid by MasterCard or VISA credit cards.  Please note MFA does not grant any application fee waivers. The Graduate School grants fee waivers only for McNair scholars or if you have a GRE fee waiver. If you have either, you must email the form to

Whenever possible, use a check or credit card with your name on it, and with your name exactly as it appears on your application. Once you have paid the application fee and submitted your application, an email will be generated to you within 3-4 days with your log-on credentials. If you use someone else's credit card or check to pay your application fee, please follow up with the Graduate School to be sure your application fee is processed promptly by calling (413) 545-0722 between 8:30 am - 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time), Monday thru Friday. 

Transcripts.  You must include transcripts from all higher education institutions you’ve attended where you received 9 or more credits. Transcripts may be sent electronically directly from your institution to They are considered official. Official transcripts are preferred when applying, but unofficial transcripts are accepted during the admissions process. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit official transcripts. 

Personal Statement.   Submit a personal statement of no more than one to two single-spaced pages. This statement should speak to whatever you think we should know about you.

Letters of Recommendation.    Two letters are required, three are allowed. These letters will be made available to the Writing Program as part of your application for funding.  If you have additional recommenders who may not be familiar with your creative writing, but are able to speak to your abilities or potential as a teacher, you may submit additional letters. This can be noted on your Writing Program application.  Submission of the application and admission fee will generate an email from the Graduate School to each referee with instructions on how to electronically send their recommendation to the Graduate School. If an electronic submission is not possible or there are other technological issues, paper versions of letters are accepted.   Letters from Interfolio are accepted.                                                

GRE Scores are not required for admission.

  • All admitted applicants are considered for MFA fellowships or Graduate School fellowships.  Nominations are determined by the faculty.  No further application is required.
  • Paper materials will be accepted, though electronic is preferred whenever possible.  They can be mailed to:
Graduate Student Service Center
534 Goodell Building
University of Massachusetts
140 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9333

Part II:  Online Application to the UMass Writing Program         

University Writing Program Teaching Associate Application » 

The Writing Program is separate from the MFA program and requires its own application. To be considered for funding as an incoming MFA candidate, you must complete this application.

A Teaching Associate (TO) position in the Writing Program provides tuition credit, 95% of the cost of health insurance and a stipend of approximately $21,728.40 for the 2018/19 academic year. In exchange, the TO teaches three college writing courses per year to UMass undergraduates. Once hired, TOs are eligible for up to 6 semesters of funding. The Writing Program provides substantive training and a supportive work environment, particularly for first-time teachers.  

The Writing Program application must be submitted online by December 15, 2019.  You need to upload your application to the Writing Program as instructed on their website.  Any questions or concerns about this process should be brought directly to Heidi Terault in the Writing Program at or call 413-545-0633.   To be eligible for funding from the Writing Program, you must submit this application.

Those who are admitted to the MFA Program will be notified in February.   The Writing Program  will immediately thereafter begin scheduling telephone interviews. It is strongly suggested that you read and become familiar with  the Writing Program's website prior to your telephone interview.