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Graduate Admission Requirements

Application Deadline: March 1st, 2024. Questions about applying? See our FAQs below.


Complete the Online Graduate Studies Application

As part of this process, you’ll be asked to pay a $75 application fee and submit the following:
  • Your official transcripts
  • A graduate admissions essay
  • A writing sample labeled with contact information (poetry 10-15 pages, prose 15-25 pages)
  • Two letters of reference to the EWU Graduate School application

If you’re an international student from a non-English speaking country, you’ll also need to submit your TOEFL score.

You will not need GRE scores as part of your application.


Complete your FAFSA

You must file the standard Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for financial aid.


Submit a Graduate Service Appointment (GSA) Application (Optional)

If you wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship, you must both submit a Graduate Service Appointment (GSA) Application here and add a teaching statement to your EWU Graduate School application using the document uploads section. (The teaching statement is a brief letter describing your interest in and prior experience with teaching. This teaching statement is in addition to the Graduate Admission Essay.)

Application Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes. You may apply before having completed your bachelor’s degree; however, you must have graduated with it before you can enroll in the program.

No. There is no foreign language requirement either to apply to the program or to complete the degree.

No. GRE scores are no longer required.

The Graduate Admissions Essay should be an 800-word letter stating your reasons for pursuing the MFA. The most important component of your submission is your writing sample, but you should consider the admissions essay another opportunity to familiarize us with you as a writer and as a candidate for our program.

All materials can be submitted through the EWU Graduate School application using the document uploads area.

The most important element of your application is your writing sample (10-15 pages for poetry, 15-25 pages for prose). We weigh this sample more heavily than letters of recommendation or GPA, and so should you. However, no application is complete until we have all application forms, official transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We accept about 20-24 students.

During your first year you will have a chance to work with any faculty member in your elected genre. Toward the end of your first year, in anticipation of the following year’s work on your thesis, you will be asked your preference for faculty thesis advisor, with whom you will work on the thesis project during your second year. Your thesis advisor will also act as your academic advisor during this time, from the end of your first year until completion of the program.

Though the majority of our students have some formal, academic background in the study of literature and/or creative writing, such a background is not mandatory. The desire to write coupled with some inherent ability to do so, as well as a desire to read penetratingly — these are our only real requirements. Some of our most interesting and successful students have come to the program with formal training in completely unrelated disciplines, including medicine, law, philosophy, anthropology, history, and many others.

Your writing sample must include work in the genre for which you want consideration as a degree candidate; it will be reviewed by the faculty who write primarily in that genre. If you choose to apply in more than one genre you must submit a complete writing sample for each genre for which you want consideration. Very occasionally, and with consent from the thesis director, students will submit a final thesis that is a hybrid of work in more than one genre; with equal infrequency, MFA candidates elect to switch genres midway through the program—such a switch must be approved by your advisor and by the program director, and generally involves extra coursework.

It’s true that our core fiction faculty teach and write mainstream literary fiction almost exclusively. We do, however, offer occasional courses stretching beyond this, including seminars in speculative literary fiction, YA fiction, detective novels, etc.

We are aware of various genre breaking and genre stretching trends in fiction today, and we encourage experimentation of all kinds! So long as the work is original, imaginative and non-formulaic, we are in favor. In submitting your writing sample please bear this in mind. We are generally inclined toward fiction which is well crafted and unique, and not toward fiction which is formulaic or easily characterized as mainstream genre fiction.

Our MFA program is the oldest in the state, and when it first began it was called the Inland Northwest Center for Writers. We have decided to simplify and update, which is why we are now The MFA at EWU. Official transitions of this nature take time, so please bear with us as we make this change. You can now follow us on Twitter @EWUmfa, on Instagram @MFAewu, and on Facebook @EWUMFA.

Yes, you may take as long as six years to complete your MFA degree. However, only students enrolled full-time (taking a minimum of ten credits per term) are eligible for financial aid. If you enroll at twelve credits per term and fulfill specific course requirements, you will finish the program in two years.

Once students have finished all coursework, they do occasionally elect to spend an extra quarter or more in residence, enrolled part-time, in order to complete work on the thesis. At present, there is no financial aid available to students who stay on in this way.

If national enrollment trends change and if funding for the MFA program improves, this will be a top priority. Hopefully before too long, but it’s anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, enrollment for fiction and poetry is robust, as is funding, and there is no perceived risk to those degree tracks.

The students in our program range in age from people straight out of college to older, non-traditional continuing students, some of whom have already experienced careers in other fields. Every year’s incoming class is different in its makeup. It is consistently inconsistent in this regard, however the trend as of late has been that the bulk of our students are in their twenties and thirties.

Most of our students have little trouble finding rentals not too far from the EWU Spokane campus where all of our classes are held. Spokane is an affordable city; apartments go for $550/month and upward, with most of our students paying about $700/month for rent. If you’d like to save on rent, you might choose to live with other members of your cohort.

Since almost all of the MFA classes will be held at the EWU Spokane campus, most students prefer to live nearby rather than in Cheney, where the main campus of EWU is located and TAs teach their classes. The Cheney campus is 17 miles away, and an EWU student ID grants free rides on the public transit system.

Spokane offers the majority of the area’s restaurants, coffee shops, museums, book stores, and general culture. Most of our students choose to live either in historic Browne’s Addition or the lower South Hill, although neighborhoods like the Perry District and Peaceful Valley, and others north of the river are steadily on the rise.

Teaching Assistantship Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The number of TAships available for incoming students each year varies, and can be as many as ten in Composition.

Not usually. Teaching assistantships are offered almost exclusively as two-year appointments to incoming, first-year students. There may be individual instances of second-year TA appointments, but second-year students are eligible for other types of financial aid, as specified on our funding page.

Yes. Many students are able to gain experience teaching through our WITC (Writers in the Community) internship/practicum which offers students experience in the teaching of creative writing at various community placements. In all cases, faculty mentorship and pedagogy training are provided.

TAs are encouraged to apply for a chance to teach creative writing at EWU in their second year. These students teach one section of introductory creative writing (they have the freedom to create their own unique curriculum), which replaces their composition class for that quarter.