FAQs: Creative Writing (MFA) Applications

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The Application Process

What is the application deadline?

For Fall 2019, the priority deadline is February 1.

If you miss this deadline, that’s okay! We will accept applications on a rolling basis until March 1.


What materials will I need to apply?

All Emerson applications require a few basic materials:

  1. Transcripts from all past degrees
  •    Transcripts should be send to: Emerson College Graduate Admission Processing Center, PO Box 870, Randolph, MA 02368-0870
  •    Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded directly for application review. Official, signed transcripts must be mailed prior to matriculation.
  •    We don’t need to see transcripts for less than 8 credits

2. Letters of Recommendation

  •  We require three letters of recommendation from persons best able to assess your academic qualifications, including motivations and goals.
  •  We prefer submission directly through the application.
  •  Recommendations must be uploaded by the recommender; electronic submissions coming directly from the applicant will not be accepted.

3. Essay

  • Submitted online with your application.
  • Prompt can be viewed on the Graduate Admission page.
  • Essay should be a maximum of 2 pages, double spaced, in 12pt font.

4. Professional Resume

  • Detail your professional and educational history

5. Writing Sample

  • Submitted online with your application.
  • Instructions can be viewed on the Graduate Admission page.
  • Submit a maximum of 15 pages (double spaced for non-fiction and fiction).
  • Can be a standalone piece, an extract from a longer work, or a collection of shorter works.


Applicants for the MFA in Creative Writing are not required to submit GRE scores; however, you may submit scores if you feel they will help your application.


Is 15 pages for the writing sample a hard maximum? What if my sample is a little longer?

This is a hard maximum. The faculty will stop reading at 15 pages, so it is in your best interest to stick to that limit. A cover page does not count toward the page limit.


Where should I upload my materials?

You will complete the application entirely online through our Application Portal. Create an account and then follow the prompts to upload your materials.

You may save and return to your application at any time; just return to the portal and log in as a returning user.


What happens after I apply?

Your program liaison, is responsible for seeing the application through the entire admissions review process. She’s also the best person to contact if you have any questions.

After you press “submit,” your application goes through a rigorous, holistic review. We’ll use everything you have submitted to assess whether you’re a good fit for the program.

Once a decision is made and confirmed, you will receive a letter in your admission portal letting you know if you have been accepted, waitlisted, or denied. If you have been awarded scholarship money, you’ll receive a separate letter with details shortly after.


How long will I have to wait?

We aim to return a decision to you within two weeks of submission, but the committee review process for Creative Writing can slow things down a little. You should hear from us in early March. 


What if I make a mistake on my application?

If you haven’t yet submitted the application, you can correct any errors yourself through the portal.

If you’ve already submitted, contact gradadmission@emerson.edu, and we’ll see what we can do to rectify the error.


What if I’m an international student?

International applicants need to take several additional steps in their application process, including an evaluation of their transcripts and (in some cases) a test of English Language Proficiency. See the “International Applicants” tab on our application guidance page for full details.


Fees and Funding

How much does the program cost?

Emerson bills all tuition per credit. The current cost per credit is $1,251. Creative Writing is a 48-credit program, so the total cost is $60,048.


Is tuition the same for in-state, out-of-state, and international students?

Yes! Emerson is a private college, so tuition is the same for everyone.


What about financial aid and scholarships?

You should complete and submit a FAFSA form when you make your application, just like you did for your undergraduate degree. Emerson’s school code is 002146. See our website for more information.

When you apply, you will be automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. However, please note that applications submitted after the priority deadline (February 1) are less likely to receive these scholarships.


Are international students eligible for scholarships?



Are there TA positions or other assistantships available?

Creative Writing students can apply to teach undergraduate students in the First Year Composition course. There may also be opportunities to teach with EmersonWRITES (a weekend program for Boston Public School students) and the Writing and Academic Resource Center on campus.

You can apply for these opportunities after completing WR600: Teaching College Composition.

All teaching is paid through payroll, not as tuition remission.


Other Questions

Can I study part time?

The Creative Writing MFA is offered both full and part time. Part time standing is usually considered one class per semester.

International students on an F-1 visa must maintain full time status in the program as a condition of their visas. Student in the United States on other types of visas (such as H-1B) may be able to study part time; you are advised to consult with your embassy and check the conditions of your visa.


Can graduate students live on campus?

Emerson does not have on-campus housing for graduate students. However, you can take advantage of our excellent Office of Off-Campus Student Services. Upon acceptance to the program, you will be invited to an accepted students Facebook group where you can explore housing options and potentially find a roommate!


When will classes start?

Classes begin for the Fall 2018 semester on Wednesday, September 5 (after Labor Day). New Graduate Student Orientation begins on August 31 for international students and September 4 for domestic students. See the 2018 Academic Calendar for more details.


What if I have more questions?

There’s lots more information available on the Graduate Admission website and on the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing pages. Click “Apply” in the left-hand navigation menu for details specific to the Creative Writing MFA.

You can also reach out to us at gradadmission@emerson.edu or 617-824-8610 at any time! We’re here to help.


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