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FAQ

  • How many applicants are accepted each year? How many apply?

    We generally receive 100-150 applications per year.  Of these, we accept 3-6 students in each genre (poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.)  The program currently has 41 students.

  • How do you choose your students?

    Several faculty members in your genre review all sections of the application package. The writing sample plays the largest role in the selection process. Be certain to include writing that you not only feel is your finest, but is also representative of the type of writing that you would desire to continue pursuing. We aren't looking for any particular aesthetic; instead, we're looking for serious writers who have made their own aesthetic commitments and who are working, adventurously and fiercely, to fulfill them. 

    We also look closely at your letters of recommendation.  Be sure to offer us letters that speak to your abilities and dedication. 


  • How many fully funded slots do you offer? How many TA-ships?
    In the spring-2013 we had nineteen students accept admission to our program. This is a large class; more typical are classes of 10-15 students.  
    • Five of these have full funding.  This includes a TA-ship, a Nixon scholarship, and an in-state fee waiver.
    • Eight of these have TA-ships.  This includes a stipend, a Nixon scholarship and an out-of-state tuition waiver.
    • Three of these received a Hogue scholarship.

    As of Fall 2013, we have 41 students in the program

    • There are 11 fully-funded positions.
    • There are 25 TAs

  • Is there any funding opportunities beyond a teaching assistanship?
    In addition to a TA-ship, there are a few English Department scholarships available for MFA students. Nixon, Sauve, and Hogue scholarships are awarded by the English Department’s Scholarships Committee.   

    Please see the Graduate School Application form for more details. Applications are due by Jan 15.  Incoming students do not need to apply - they are automatically considered for all scholarships.

    Students should also explore the many university scholarships and fellowships available through the financial aid office
  • Do you offer health insurance?
    Health insurance is available to graduate students through the university, and tuition scholarships do NOT cover it. The cost is about $1500 a year. If you choose to use an alternate insurance company, you must provide proof of that insurance to Health Services.  More information can be obtained through SHIP.
  • What is the teacher/student ratio?
    Workshops have a maximum enrollment of 15 students.  Typically, the actual number in class is lower than that.

    We offer a novel and long-form nonfiction course.  These year-long courses are tapped at 6 students.

    Graduate level literature courses have a maximum enrollment of 26.

    There are currently 41 students in the program.  We have 9 faculty members.
  • How do pieces of genre fiction (fantasy, science fiction, romance) fit into the program? Is there room for writers of genre works or is it geared more towards authors of mainstream fiction?
    We currently do not have any genre fiction faculty members in the program; our faculty create workshops that focus on literary fiction.  We certainly have nothing against high-quality genre fiction writers.  If you write genre fiction on the side, and can hold your own with literary fiction in the classroom, we welcome you with open arms. If you're solely a genre fiction writer, it would be wise to look elsewhere.
  • What if I work in more than one genre, or in a hybrid genre?
    While our program encourages cross-genre work (most of our students take workshops outside their genre), we do ask students to commit to one genre for the duration of their degree. 

    If a student wants to switch genres after acceptance, he/she must provide the MFA Committee an updated letter of intent and writing sample (in proposed genre.) The desired genre subcommittee will review the application and make a decision.
  • Do you accept international students?
    We happily accept international students. In fact, we currently have some international students in our program. The Graduate Admissions office has a detailed webpage with all the information you need.
  • Do you offer study abroad opportunities?
    There are no study abroad opportunities within the M.F.A. creative writing program. It is a three-year residential program.  Four semesters in-residence are required.
  • Can I work concurrently on a M.F.A. and M.A. in English?
    While we generally like students to focus on one degree or the other, it is possible to work on both a M.A. and M.F.A. To do so, you must apply to both programs, be accepted, then have dual admission approved by both the Graduate Studies Committee and the Creative Writing Admissions Committee.
  • Can you tell me more about the analytical essay? Subject? Length?
    The analytical writing sample is required from all applicants.  The essay should be 8-20 pages long.  We use this essay to help us make final decisions on TA-ships.  The best essays will demonstrate your ability to maintain a sustained argument.  Showing your chops at supporting that argument with source material would be ideal.  These essays do not necessarily need to be English class essays.  Any argument-based essay will do.  Just offer us something that proves you could aptly teach an undergraduate composition class.   
  • What is the application deadline and fee? Are there waivers available?
    The application deadline is January 15. All materials should be mailed to the Graduate Admissions office by that date. It's a rolling review process, so you'll be at a disadvantage if you don't make the deadline.

    The processing fee for the online application is $60. There are no application fee waivers.
  • Are there application fee waivers?
    The Graduate School does not offer application fee waivers.
  • Can I send in some application materials separately or do they all have to be in one package?
    You may send in items separately. We know it's sometimes difficult to collect multiple transcripts and sealed letters of recommendation. That said, do your best to minimize mailings to the Graduate Admissions office. The more packages the greater risk for misplacement.  Graduate admissions promises us that electronic submissions will be accepted in the fall-2013.
  • Do the letters of recommendation have to be sent in by the recommender or am I supposed to send them with the rest of the application materials?
    They may be sent to Graduate Admissions directly from your recommenders or you may send them with the other application materials, whatever way is easier for you. If you send them, they must be in the original, sealed envelope from the recommender. Be sure that your name is printed legibly in the letter.
  • If my application is complete before the deadline, will it be evaluated early?
    No. The committee does not review applications until after the deadline.
  • When will I be notified of admission?
    We try our best to send acceptance letters by late-March.  This gives people a couple of weeks to make a decision (students are expected to decide by April 15.)  We do our best to keep applicants updated on their status.  If you haven't heard from us in a while, feel free to contact the program director.
  • Can a non-Idaho resident gain residency in his/her second year?
    According to the registrar's office, it is possible for graduate students to become an Idaho resident. It takes anywhere from 12-18 months. If you want to become an ID resident by your second year you'd need to arrive in Moscow during the summer. Doing this, and then collecting the required documentation to prove residency, is worth it. Out-of-state is $20k and in-state is $7,500k. Please direct your residency questions to the registrar.  Here's their webpage.
  • When will decisions about teaching assistantships and funding be made?
    Most decisions on TA-ships, scholarships and fellowships are announced by April 15. Occasionally, due to a variety of reasons, students decline departmental funding opportunities.  If this happens, students may be notified after April 15 about a scholarship/fellowship "win."
  • Do you have a suggested reading list for incoming students?
    Here's a suggested reading list for our fiction students. We'll post lists for poets and nonfiction students in the near future.

    Fiction Suggested Reading List
    • The Short Story: An Introduction by Stone, Packer, Hoopes
    • Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway
    • The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
    • Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’Connor
    • “The Art of Fiction” by Henry James
    • “The Art of Poetry” by Aristotle
    • Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster
    • Burning Down the House by Charles Baxter
    • The Paris Review Interviews (http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews)
  • If I do not hear from the English Department by April 15, does that mean I will not be offered acceptance and/or a teaching assistantship?
    Students who are offered acceptance and financial support (TA) have until April 15 to make a decision. We cannot make additional TA-ship and acceptance offers until outstanding offers have been declined.  Net-net: we very often notify students of both acceptance and TA-ships after the April 15 deadline.  Don't give up hope until we officially decline your application. 
  • What if I don't receive a TA-ship?
    We understand that most applicants desire a TA-ship. Many students want the teaching experience; other students want to save money. Most of you want to teach and save money. Here are some notes if you're not offered a TA-ship upon admission:
    • TA-ships can become available later in the spring or summer. This is entirely based on university needs, and is impossible to predict. If you are interested in teaching be sure to let the director know.
    • TA-ships may become available your second or third year. We can't guarantee this, of course, but it does happen.  
    • We have a slew of scholarships and fellowships for current students. These include summer workshop scholarships, writing retreat fellowships and travel grants. Fiction students can apply for the Hemingway Fellowship their third year.
    • We have students who work on- and off-campus. There are plenty of part-time jobs in town.   
    • Moscow's a cheap place to live. You don't need a car to get around. Plus, rent's low and food's inexpensive.
  • If I am not offered admission and I reapply the following year, will my application materials still be on file?
    We welcome the opportunity to revisit your work.  Unfortunately, you will need to resubmit all necessary application documents.
  • How many credits can I transfer from another school?
    Credits can be transferred with the consent of the student's committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies, only if the institution from which the course credits are being transferred has a graduate program in the course discipline or, should there be no graduate program in the course discipline, if an exception can be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Transfer credits are subject to all other graduate college rules and regulations. Please contact the Graduate Admissions for more information.