- Application Guide
- MFA Events
- MFA Student Projects
- Graduate Course Descriptions
The GRE is not required; however, you are welcome to send your scores if you have taken the test. The GRE code for OSU is 4586.
Yes, however, applicants are only accepted in ONE genre. Applicants wishing to apply to both the MFA in Poetry and the MFA in Nonfiction, for example, should submit separate applications to the Graduate School, including separate writing samples and statements of objectives, and will be required to pay separate application fees. If you are submitting one application, please send only the writing sample that reflects your genre of choice on screen #4 of the online application.
The writing sample is the most important part of the application. Beyond the writing sample, admission to OSU’s Creative Writing Program is also based on three letters of recommendation, the student’s personal statement of objectives, and college transcripts. Applicants must have a four year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and a combined GPA of at least 3.00 on the last 90 quarter (60 semester) credit hours of graded undergraduate work toward the first baccalaureate degree plus all work completed thereafter.
No. Graduate study in Creative Writing is only available through the MFA Program.
Yes. The writing sample, statement of objectives, resume, and recommendation letters may be submitted online. This is the preferred method. Alternatively, you may send these materials via the postal service to the following address:
School of Writing, Literature, and Film
Oregon State University
238 Moreland Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
Please visit the Application Guide for a list of application materials and guidelines.
To apply for a graduate degree at Oregon State University, simply use the online portal. You will be able to save your application and continue at your convenience.
The application deadline for the 2020-2021 school year is January 2nd, 5 p.m. PST, 2020. The fee is $75 for domestic students, and $85 for international students.
The Graduate School offers application fee waivers under very limited conditions. To see if you meet the requirements, visit the Graduate School website.
The writing sample plays the biggest role in the selection process.
The poetry sample should consist of no more than 10 to 12 poems. The prose sample (fiction or creative nonfiction) should be between 15-20 pages in length.
Three letters of recommendation should be written by individuals who can discuss an applicant’s creative writing in detail, as well as academic interests and aims; letters for teaching assistant applicants should include discussion of teaching potential.
We will accept late recommendation letters, as long as this information gets to us within about a week of the deadline. Please encourage your recommenders to send their letters on time.
There are no spring admissions to the graduate MFA program.
You must complete a new application and re-submit relevant material, including letters of recommendation, writing sample, personal statement of objectives, and transcripts each year.
Absolutely. Our MFA students come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds.
We typically receive between 360 and 400 applications for 10-14 spots across three genres (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry).
Our acceptance rate is under 4%.
Creative writing at OSU is a 2-year, 60-credit program. OSU runs on the quarter system. Most quarters, a student takes a 4-credit workshop in their genre (poetry, fiction, or nonfiction), a 4-credit literature or craft course, and 4 credit hours of thesis advising, for a total of 12 credits each quarter. Click here for more.
Within the 60 required credits, each MFA candidate must take at least 1 pre-1800 English course. Students holding a GTA position must also complete at least 1 composition theory course as part of their coursework.
Students produce a thesis at the end of their second year of study. The thesis is a sustained piece of imaginative writing of literary merit. Generally, length, form, and content are mutually agreed upon by the student and the thesis advisor, with final approval resting with the advisor. Typically, a thesis is between 75 and 120 pages in length for fiction and nonfiction, and may be a short-story or essay collection, a novel, or a sustained nonfiction work. Poetry theses are between 35 and 48 pages in length.
An oral examination, or “thesis defense” is given in the student's final term of study. It measures a writer's growth, and involves questions on theory and technique, on the history of the genre, on the student's own creative work, and on the student's grasp of the contemporary situation in the field of Creative Writing. The committee consists of the student's thesis advisor, a second representative from Creative Writing, a representative from Literature or Rhetoric and Writing (or, in some cases, from another field of study in which a student has a particular interest), and a Graduate School representative.
No. The MFA degree culminates, for each student, in a 2 hour Thesis Defense. See above, under “What is required to graduate” for more details.
Creative writing at OSU is a 2-year, 60-credit program. OSU runs on the quarter system. Most quarters, a student takes a 4-credit workshop in their genre (poetry, prose, or nonfiction), a 4-credit literature or craft course, and 4 credit hours of thesis advising and/or teaching-practicum credits, for a total of 12 credits each quarter. Click here for more information.
The teacher student ratio is approximately 1:3.
Our MFA program features three reading series. The Visiting Writers Series brings 4-5 nationally known writers and poets to campus each year. With each visiting writer, colloquiums, craft talks, and other related events are scheduled specifically for the MFA students.
Our Literary Northwest Series celebrates the burgeoning literary scene in the Willamette Valley and the Northwest.
Our program also hosts a monthly reading by our MFA students.
All our MFA students are fully funded through Graduate Teaching Assistantships. In addition to teaching courses in composition, our MFA students have the opportunity to teach creative writing during their second year.
We typically admit 4 poets, 6 fiction writers, and 4 nonfiction writers a year, for a total of 28 students at any given time.
Our graduate students come to us from top-ranked universities all over the country, from a wide variety of academic majors and post-collegiate careers. We have accepted students of all ages and backgrounds. We welcome diversity, and seek to attract a diverse graduate cohort by actively recruiting, as well as offering Diversity Recruitment Bonus scholarships.
Yes. We offer a nonfiction track with grad-only creative nonfiction workshops and magazine writing courses.
No. At this time, we do not offer a playwriting workshop, or have a playwriting concentration.
A screenwriting workshop is offered once a year.
The MFA program welcomes experimentation with literary forms new and old. While we do not wish to restrict our students from pursuing the writing that most excites them, the workshop emphasizes literary fiction, and encourages students to complicate generic conventions and subvert clichés, rather than recreating and reinforcing them.
Study abroad is not a part of our program at this time.
The Stone Award in Lifetime Literary Achievement is one of the nation’s most generous life-time achievement prizes in the field of literature. Our inaugural recipient was Joyce Carol Oates who visited Corvallis in May, 2012, meeting our graduate students in a small group session, and giving an evening public reading. The award will be granted every other year.
Our program is committed to providing full funding for all admitted MFA students through Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships.
Though the GTAship is offered to students on a yearly basis, it is extremely rare that a student’s contract is not renewed for the second year of study. As a GTA, you are often the sole instructor for the courses that you teach; you may also apply to be a teaching assistant in an introductory literature course. First-year GTAs teach an introductory composition course capped at 25 students. Second-year GTAs have the opportunity to teach creative writing (fiction, poetry, or nonfiction). OSU’s academic calendar is on a quarter system, and GTAs typically teach 1/1/2 (one section for two of the terms, and two sections for one of the terms).
Yes, tuition is covered for all admitted GTAs.
OSU provides health care coverage through an 89% GTA-only health insurance premium subsidy.
All GTA positions are for two years. You do not have to apply. You are automatically granted a teaching position upon acceptance into the program.
We submit our top candidates for prestigious university-wide fellowships, scholarships, and the Diversity Recruitment Bonus. In order to qualify for the Diversity Recruitment Bonus, a student must belong to an acknowledged minority group. Students who may qualify are strongly urged to indicate their ethnic identity on the Graduate School web application. On rare occasions, students receive additional funding by working with other departments.