Application Guide for the MFA Program in Creative Writing

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2024. We will begin accepting applications for Fall 2025 on September 25th, 2024.

Application Overview:

Please use this page as a guide while you complete your application. Following these instructions, which provide important information not included in the online application system, will help ensure timely processing of your application.

In order to attract and empower a range of applicants, our admissions committee uses a holistic admissions process to assess candidates’ potential for success in our program, rather than relying solely on metrics such as test scores and GPA.

Your application to our program should be submitted entirely online.  This includes the following supporting documents, which you will upload as part of your online application:

(1) three letters of recommendation

(2) statement of objectives (500-750 words)

(3) writing sample consisting of either 10-12 poems (single-spaced is acceptable) or 15-20 double-spaced pages of prose, which may be excerpted from a longer work
***Samples longer than 20 pages for any genre will not be accepted***

(4) resume/curriculum vitae

(5) unofficial transcripts

Additional details for each application requirement are included in this guide and in the instructions throughout the online application.

A few more things to know about applying to our program:

  • You may apply to study poetry, fiction, or nonfiction as your area of concentration.  If you would like to apply for more than one genre, you must submit a separate application for each one with the appropriate writing samples.
  • You can begin your application, save it, and return to it later; you do not have to complete it in one sitting.
  • Keep in mind, there is generally a 1-2 business day turnaround time for documents to upload to your application once you have submitted them online.
  • You are highly encouraged to log into the application system frequently to check the status of your application after you have applied.  It is your ultimate responsibility to ensure your application is complete before the deadline.
  • We nominate outstanding candidates for Graduate Diversity Recruitment Bonus Awards and Provost’s Distinguished Graduate Fellowships, offered through the Oregon State University Graduate School.  Early application ensures full consideration for these opportunities.

Application Instructions:

(1) Access the online application here.

(a) The first time you access the online application you will need to click on “Create New Account.” This will let you begin your application, save it, and return to it as needed.

(2) Select the correct type of application by choosing the appropriate answers from the drop-down menus:

Degree/Certificate Seeking



Select the applicable option


Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)*

Degree Level



Creative Writing

Degree Code

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

Graduate Program Start Term

Select the applicable option**


*To apply for the OSU-Cascades Low Residency Program, please visit their website here.

**Please note that we only accept students to begin in Fall term.

(3) Once you have created an account and selected the correct application, you will see your “Application Checklist.”  Please complete each section as instructed in the online application.  Below is a list of each application section you must complete, with additional instructions specific to the MFA application:

(a) Personal Information

(b) Contact Information

(c) Emergency Contact

(d) Prior College

(e) Test Scores

GRE scores are optional—not required.  If you would like to submit GRE scores please enter them in the online application, and also arrange for Educational Testing Services, the administrator of the GRE, to send your official results to OSU (institution code 004586). 

(f) Letter of Reference

We require three letters of recommendation (what the online application calls “Letters of Reference”).  First, you must indicate whether or not you waive your right to view your letters.  Then, you will enter your recommenders’ email addresses as instructed.  When you select “Save & Send” OSU will send that recommender an email with instructions for uploading a digital copy of their recommendation.  Please note that you must hit “Save & Send” for each recommender.

Please ask your recommenders to compose letters on official letterhead.  Each letter should attest to your academic abilities and, if you are applying for a graduate teaching assistantship, your promise and potential for college-level teaching.  Recommendations from employers and other sources may be submitted, but they generally carry less weight.

(g) Residency Information

(h) Release Authorization

(i) Other Graduate Questions

(j) Disclosures

(k) Program Specific Questions

(i) Please select either “Fiction,” “Nonfiction,” or “Poetry.”  As noted above, if you would like to apply for more than one genre you must submit a separate application for each one with the appropriate writing samples.

(ii) Your statement of objectives should be 500-750 words and uploaded in a .pdf, .tif, or .tiff format.  Your statement should address the following points:

1) Your long-term goals as a writer, including how you hope to develop personally and professionally during your two years in our MFA program and what this degree will ultimately mean to you.
2) Your preparation for graduate-level coursework, which may include preparation in the study of creative writing and literature but which may also involve leadership experience, community service, and knowledge in a non-writing field. 
3) Your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. 
4) Any experience(s) you have as a member of a diverse community, and how you have worked through the challenges of living and/or working in a diverse community, or with diverse populations.
5) Any additional experiences that seem particularly relevant to this application. 

(iii) Your writing sample should reflect your best creative work, and it should be uploaded in a .pdf, .tif, or .tiff format.  Your writing sample should be only in the genre you selected in question (i).  For poetry, please submit 10-12 poems (single-spaced is acceptable); for fiction and nonfiction, please submit 15-20 double-spaced pages, which may be excerpted from a longer work.  Please stay within the page/poem maximums.

(iv) Please upload a current resume or curriculum vitae highlighting any publications, awards, honors, fellowships, or relevant writing/teaching experience.

(v) Please ensure that all awards, prizes, honors, and publications listed on your CV/resume are also listed in your answer to question V.  Listing these things here (in addition to on your resume) helps us identify applicants who may be eligible for additional funding sources.

(vi) Please type in the name of the institution where you earned your bachelor's degree. If you completed bachelor's degrees from multiple institutions, list the one where you earned a higher GPA and/or where your major was most relevant to your current application. Please note that this section is only for the institution that granted your bachelor's degree, not for institutions where you did part of your degree work.  This information should also have been included in the “Prior College” section of the online application, but including it here helps us to process applications more quickly.

(vii) Please type in the GPA you earned at the institution you listed in question (vi).  Again, this information was already included in the “Prior College” section; including it here ensures faster processing of your application.


NOTE: When you upload your statement of objectives, your writing sample, and your resume/curriculum vitae in “Program Specific Questions,” these documents will automatically populate in the appropriate fields in the “Document Upload” section.

(l) Document Upload

On the “Document Upload” page, you will see an “Upload Additional Documents” section.  In this section, please upload your unofficial transcripts for all previous academic work (this section should let you upload multiple documents if you have more than one transcript).  Please upload unofficial copies of transcripts that were issued by the institution attended—not web printouts.  Official transcripts will be required upon admission and must be sent by regular mail (please have institutions mail transcripts directly to Graduate School/Oregon State University/300 Kerr Administration Building/Corvallis, OR 97331-2106).

In addition to the “Upload Additional Documents” section on this page, you will see questions (ii), (iii), and (iv) repeated from the “Program Specific Questions” part of the application.  If you uploaded documents correctly on the “Program Specific Questions” page, your statement of objectives, writing sample, and resume/curriculum vitae should already have populated the appropriate fields in the “Document Upload” page.

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