Admissions - MFA in Creative Writing

APPLICATION DEADLINE for Fall 2020: 1/5/2020

(application will be available in October 2019)

Applications are reviewed once all supporting materials have been received. For more information about your application status, please check online or contact the graduate program staff

Graduate Studies' Frequently Asked Questions page covers most general admissions questions, but feel free to contact program staff faculty for more details.

Admissions (see note on available funding below)

To apply for admission to our Creative Writing MFA program, you are encouraged to include, as a writing sample, your very best creative writing.  Typically, two—or at the most three—genres exist in a graduate Creative Writing program: Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction.  At UCD, we think of genre as a useful thing to consider… but we do not think of the various genres—however many you would like to list—as necessarily unmixable modes.  

For us, the value of a piece of writing is better gauged directly—by what it says to its readers, and by what that saying does to those readers—rather than by its successful or unsuccessful identification with one or another of the historically certified genres.  This is not to say that we don't believe in genre, or in the usefulness of plumbing each purported genre's history; it is to say, rather, or to notice… that the border between one genre and another is not so much a Great Wall as a small fence.

Your journey begins here, with the online application to the MFA program at the UC Davis.  Applicants need to submit:

A writing sample in your preferred genre

  • either ten to twelve poems or up to thirty pages (double-spaced) of prose. Hybrid-form work must not exceed thirty pages.

A statement of purpose

  • addressing any prior coursework, literary involvement, publications and other experiences that will help launch you into the graduate study of Creative Writing (4,000 character limit, including spaces).

A Personal History and Diversity Statement

  • addressing the ways in which your life experiences and background both inform your decision to pursue graduate study and help contribute to the diversity of graduate education at the University of California, Davis (4,000 character limit, including spaces).

Three letters of recommendation

  • from professors or other persons situated to speak about your potential for graduate Creative Writing study.

TOEFL or IELTS scores, if applicable

Transcripts from each post-secondary institution you have attended

  • copies are allowed.  If admitted, you’ll be required to send official transcripts

An application fee of $105 domestic, $125 international, payable online.

Note: GRE scores are no longer accepted

Application FAQs:


We aim for a class of 10 to 12 writers, hoping for a balance between genres. The writing sample is the most important part of your application; the committee is looking for high quality work in the applicant’s genre of choice.  All students in the MFA program at UC Davis take at least one workshop outside their primary genre, so you need not apply to a second genre in order to have access to it as a student.

The committee makes admissions and financial aid decisions simultaneously.  We offer a limited number of first-year funding packages; all second year students have access to full funding.

For the Fall 2019 cohort, we received 46 applications, admitted 20 applicants and 10 of those applicants will be enrolling in the Fall.

For additional information, please contact:

Andi Carr
Department of English
MFA Program in Creative Writing
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-8581
(530) 752-2281


Funding Your MFA

At UC Davis, we offer you the ability to fund your MFA. In fact, all students admitted to the program are guaranteed full funding in the second year of study, when students serve as teachers of Introduction to Creative Writing (English 5) and receive, in exchange, a tuition waver and a monthly stipend (second year students who come to Davis from out of state are expected to establish residency during their first year). We have a more limited amount of resources – teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and out of state tuition wavers – allocated to us for first year students, but in recent years, we’ve had excellent luck funding our accepted first years. We help students who do not receive English department funding help themselves by posting job announcements from other departments during the spring and summer leading up to their arrival. The Englund Fund is also awarded to assist one or two selected first-year students. We are proud to say that over the course of the last twenty years, nearly every incoming student has wound up with at least partial funding (including a tuition waiver) by the time classes begin in the fall.

We have other resources for students, too – like the Miller Fund, which supports attendance for our writers at any single writer’s workshop or conference. Students have used these funds to attend well-known conferences like AWP, Writing By Writers, and the Tin House Conference. The Davis Humanities Institute offers a fellowship that first year students can apply for to fund their writing projects. Admitted students are also considered for University-wide fellowships.