Creative Writing Graduate Application

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Application requirements for MFA programs

As the only university in the United States with three fine arts programs in creative writing, Hamline has a long history of turning writers into published authors. Learn from faculty members that include recent Newbery Medal winners, a National Book Award finalist, and more. 

Priority application deadlines

Applications are processed on a rolling basis. Applications submitted and files completed after deadlines may be reviewed if space permits and enough time exists for an application review. 

We strongly encourage international students to submit all application materials two months in advance of the priority deadline.

Program Application deadlines 
MFA in Creative Writing
  • May 15: Fall term (September) start. We will begin awarding scholarships on February 1. Applications received after February 1 and before the final deadline may be considered for scholarships if funding is available.
  • November 1: Spring term (February) start.
MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults
  • March 1: Summer residency (July) start. If you miss the priority deadline, the final deadline is May 15.
  • September 1: Winter residency (January) start. If you miss the priority deadline, the final deadline is November 1.

MFA application requirements

To apply for admission to the MFA in Creative Writing program or the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC), please submit the materials below.

  • Online application (no fee for US residents). Create a new account to apply or complete your application.
  • Questionnaire (submitted as part of the online application). Our faculty reviewers look for well-written, thoughtful responses that let them know more about the kind of writer you are and the student you will be. 
  • Three- to four-page critical essay, double-spaced, focusing on:
    • MFA: An element of craft or a particular subject in a book you admire as a writer. For example, if you were struck by the strong voice on the page in a piece of writing, focus on how the author achieved this.
    • MFAC: An element of craft or a particular subject in a children's or YA book that impressed you. For example, you could focus on the ways in which an author developed the characters in a picture book.
  • Creative writing sample:
    • MFA: Submit your best 20 pages (double-spaced) of prose or poetry. Your submission may include more than one piece, provided that they are fully-realized pieces.
    • MFAC:  Submit either 20 pages (double-spaced) of prose or poetry written for children or young adults OR two picture book manuscripts. Your submission may include more than one piece or genre, provided that they are fully-realized pieces and do not exceed the 20-page total limit.
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate work. If your transcripts are in a language other than English, you must submit both the original and an official or certified course-by-course English translation. Official transcript of a bachelor's degree must be from a regionally accredited college or university. This should be sent directly from the institution to Graduate Admission or provided in a sealed, signed envelope. Official electronic copies should be emailed to You do not have to provide transcripts for courses taken at Hamline University.
  • Two letters of recommendation written by people unrelated to you, who are familiar with your academic, artistic, and/or professional qualifications.

Additional materials you wish the admission committee to consider, such as letters of recommendation or previously published work.

Additional details to prepare your application

International applicants

For residents outside of the US, please view the additional requirements for international applicants to Hamline University.