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 Amherst 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 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.
Important note: Applying for admission to the MFA program and applying for funding to support your time here are two separate processes. To be eligible for funding, applicants must apply for a graduate Teaching Associate position in the Writing Program. The Teaching Associate application must be submitted alongside your program application.
How to Apply
To apply for graduate admission to the MFA, you must submit an online application to the UMass Graduate School. Your application must include the following:
- Original Manuscript - This is the most important part of your application. Poetry applicants should submit up to 10 pages of poetry. Prose applicants should submit up to 20–25 pages of prose, which may be short stories, essays, creative nonfiction, 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 and double-spaced.
- Transcripts - You must include transcripts from all higher education institutions you’ve attended. While official transcripts are preferred, unofficial transcripts are accepted during the admissions process. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit official transcripts. Transcripts may be sent electronically directly from your institution to email@example.com
- Personal Statement - Submit a personal statement of no more than one-two single-spaced pages. This statement is your opportunity to provide us with insight into who you are as a person, your goals as a writer, and why you’re interested in the MFA at UMass.
- Application for a graduate Teaching Associateship in the Writing Program - The application can be found in Word format, or in PDF format. The completed Writing Program application must be uploaded to the "Add Materials" tab in the Graduate Admissions Portal when you submit the rest of your application. This application must be submitted with your Graduate School application to be eligible for funding.
- Letters of Recommendation - Two letters are required, three are allowed. These letters will be made available to the Writing Program for your Teaching Associateship application. 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. 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.
- Application Fee - An $85 application fee is required by the Graduate School upon submission of your application. The Graduate School grants fee waivers only for McNair scholars, or applicants who are eligible for a GRE fee waiver. All fee waiver requests should go directly to the Graduate School. Please visit their website for more information.
Transfers: An applicant who is currently enrolled in or has taken classes in another creative writing graduate program must provide at least one letter of recommendation from a faculty member in that program to be admitted into the UMass MFA. Candidates will be asked to provide a statement explaining their wish to transfer to the UMass Amherst MFA.
The UMass Amherst MFA does not consider applications from writers who have completed an MFA in creative writing from elsewhere.
GRE Scores are not required for admission
Application Deadline: December 15
A Teaching Associate (TO) position in the Writing Program provides tuition credit, 95% of the cost of health insurance, and a stipend of approximately $23,050.80 for the 2021–22 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.
You must submit an application for a graduate Teaching Associate position with the Writing Program. This application must be uploaded to the “Add Materials” tab in the Graduate Admissions Portal. This application must be submitted alongside your MFA Graduate School application.
All admitted applicants are considered for MFA fellowships or Graduate School fellowships. Nominations are determined by the faculty. No further application is required.
All additional materials must be uploaded to your application, or sent directly to the Graduate School: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions regarding the MFA program and the application process, please contact the MFA Program Coordinator:
Francis Lo (pronoun: they/them)
South College E349