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Creative Writing Application Checklist
VCU Department of English

By February 1 of the year in which you are applying, the following items should completed online and/or delivered to

Virginia Commonwealth University
The School of Graduate Studies
Post Office Box 843051
Richmond, VA 23284-3051

— A completed online Application for Graduate Study (available here)
— A application fee
— A completed Application for Virginia In-State Tuition Rates if you are applying as a Virginia resident
— Official transcripts from all schools you attended after high school
— Official GRE test scores. The creative writing program requires the general scores only (although subject scores may be submitted) and places greatest emphasis on the "verbal" and "analytical" sections.
— A "Statement of Purpose." As a part of the general online application, the School of Graduate Studies asks that you write an essay addressing "your reasons for seeking graduate education," emphasizing such areas as goals, aptitude, awards, and honors. The creative writing program asks that you focus more on the following: Your reading habits; Your writing habits; Your experiences with criticism of your own work and the work of others, in workshops, perhaps, but in the study of literature as well; as we as what you see as your responsibilities in the community of writers of which you are a part.

As early as January 15 and by no later than February 1 of the year in which you are applying, the following items should be sent or delivered to

Graduate Programs Advisor
Attn: MFA Program (Fiction or Poetry)
Department of English
Virginia Commonwealth University
Post Office Box 842005
Richmond, VA 23284-2005

— Your portfolio, consisting of eight to ten poems or twenty to fifty pages of fiction. The portfolio may consist of a combination of these, and it may also include drama or nonfiction. Be certain, however, that it includes only your best work, and that it contains a sufficient amount of work in the genre to which you are applying.
— Three letters of recommendation from people who are qualified to give information concerning your probable success in graduate school, especially in a creative writing program. (If you are applying for a graduate teaching assistantship, at least two of these should specifically address your qualifications for an assistantship.)
— A completed Application for Graduate Teaching Assistantship (please note on GTA which genre you are applying to). This separate/additional application also requires an undergraduate, graduate or professional paper, or other piece of expository prose of at least five pages; as well as a brief personal essay (2-3 pages) in which you discuss your relevant teaching experience, educational background and your particular interest in a graduate degree, suggesting where your education seems to be leading.

The Graduate Teaching Assistantship is the creative writing program’s primary source of funding for its students. 12-month asssistantships include a full tuition waiver plus a stipend of $18,000. 9-month asssistantships include a full tuition waiver plus a stipend of $11,500. If you seek funding other than loans, you must submit this application.

*If you are applying for a graduate teaching assistantship or any other type of financial aid, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it in a timely manner to Federal Student Aid Programs, PO Box 4008, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864-8608.

To be considered for an assistanship, Graduate Teaching Assistanship applications must be received by January 15 rather than the general February 1 deadline.


Gregory Donovan, Program Director
Thom Didato, Graduate Programs Advisor


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last updated October 10, 2013
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