• MFA Admission Requirements in Detail


    The questionnaire asks for your basic demographic information and your educational history. You will then be asked to answer the following short answer questions:

    1. Please list any workshops or non-credit writing courses you have attended.
    2. Please list any other writing programs to which you have applied, or intend to apply.
    3. What are your writing goals for the next 3-5 years?
    4. Graduate students can expect to spend between 12 (part time) and 30 (full time) hours per week in our program. Will you be able to make this time commitment?
    5. Have you had experience in a writing workshop setting? Did you find the process helpful? Please explain.
    6. Please describe your current writing practice. How often do you write? What forms do you write in? How do you decide what to write about?
    7. What kind of books do you read for pleasure?
    8. Please list two books that have most influenced you as a writer and very briefly explain why. For Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, please list two books written for children or young adults.
    9. At Hamline, we are committed to creating a learning environment in which cultural differences are valued and respected. We challenge ourselves and our students to grow intellectually and artistically with regard to issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, and physical challenges. How comfortable will you be in this environment?

    Critical Essay

    Please write a 3 to 4 page, double-spaced critical essay, focusing on an element of craft or a particular subject in a book you admire as a writer. Some sample topics successful applicants have explored in the past include:

    • Methods of character development in Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
    • The use of fiction storytelling techniques in Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
    • Scene-Building in Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick
    • The use of repetition in “Homage to Paul Cezanne” by Charles Wright
    • Close reading of “My Mother’s Nipples” by Robert Hass
    • Analysis of theodicy in “The Wreck of the Deutschland” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
    • The use of humor and development of tone in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

    The critical essay asks applicants to examine an element of craft in any book and the effect the author’s use of that craft element has on the reader. The critical essay is an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their ability to read as a writer.

    Applicants may submit a 3-4 page essay from previous relevant coursework, such as a literary analysis or craft essay from an undergraduate English or writing course. Applicants may choose to submit their critical essay with their questionnaire, or to submit it separately at a later date via mail or email.

    Creative Sample

    Please submit a sample of your best creative writing. This includes 20 double-spaced pages of prose or poetry. Students may submit in multiple genres as long as the total number of pages does not exceed 20 pages. We are not looking for samples of professional or technical writing, research papers, or articles. While you may submit more than one piece of writing, we encourage you to submit a fully realized piece—a full story or chapter, a complete poem or sequence of poems, a complete essay or creative nonfiction narrative, etc.

    Supplemental Materials

    Any additional materials you wish the admission committee to consider. These may include additional letters of recommendation or lists of previously published work.