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MFA FAQs

Select a Question:

What type of student funding is offered?

All of our full-time MFA students are fully funded with two-year graduate assistantships. Currently, assistantships include a stipend of $12,330 per academic year, a tuition and fees waiver, and student health insurance. The teaching load is excellent: one course per semester. Our students also receive summer stipends up to $2,000 for the summer between the first and second years of the program, plus up to several hundred dollars of support for travel, publication, research, and other needs each year (all depending on available funding, year-to-year). Beyond assistantships and summer stipends, we offer a range of other benefits. Students can participate in various writing retreats across Wyoming and Colorado, funded by the MFA. We also actively seek other opportunities for our students once they've arrived in the program, and we regularly collaborate with students on grant applications for research, travel, and writing support. Our students win numerous departmental and university scholarships, including English department scholarships, ENR program grants, and coveted Arts and Sciences Independent Study Awards that support summer writing projects. Recent students have traveled, with UW financial support, to Mexico, China, Uzbekistan, France, Paraguay, Spain, Lebanon, Romania, India, Iceland, and Uruguay.

Further information about graduate assistantships is available in the MFA graduate handbook. Please feel free to contact our program with any other funding-related questions.

How many applicants are accepted each year?

We typically accept between 3 to 5 students in each area-- fiction and nonfiction--but this may vary in a given year, depending upon the applicant pool, range of genre interest, and funding levels.

The UW MFA program is committed to full funding for every full-time student. Over the last decade, we have averaged a fully funded class of 8 new students per year.

On what do you base admission?

Faculty members in your genre review all the parts of your application package. The primary emphasis is on your writing sample. Be certain to include writing that you not only feel is your finest, but also representative of the kind of writing that you want to continue pursuing here. We aren't looking for any particular aesthetic; instead, we're looking for serious writers who have made their own aesthetic commitments and are working rigorously to fulfill them.

What if I work in more than one genre, or in a hybrid genre?

The UW MFA program encourages cross-genre work.  We ask all of our students to explore by taking a workshop outside of their primary genre, and our thesis design invites you to work in multiple genres/hybrid genres if you wish.  We also love working with writers who identify strongly with only one genre.  We're flexible.  For applicants interested in more than one genre, here are some guidelines: if you feel comfortable identifying a primary concentration for your application, then please send us a writing sample in that genre, and include in the personal statement a discussion of your secondary interests as well your primary one.  If you wish to be considered in two primary areas of concentration, please contact the program directly for instructions regarding the writing sample.  And if you work in a hybrid genre, please submit a writing sample that reflects your work and use your personal statement to explain your approach to genre.

What is the curriculum?

Four workshops (including cross-genre opportunities); one course in pedagogy; 3-5 elective courses (may include further workshops or courses in any university department or program); the MFA Project; thesis. A minimum of 36 credit hours are required for the degree.

We encourage interdisciplinary exploration. For example, MFA students can minor in American Indian Studies or Gender and Women's Studies. In the recent past, an affiliation with the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources has enabled MFA students to double major in creative writing and ENR. We are also working on proposals for dual MFA/MA degrees with American Studies and other programs/departments. Stay tuned for updates.

How long will it take to complete the program?

The program is completed in two years.

-also-

The program accepts a limited number of part-time students. Part-time applicants are evaluated on the same basis as full-time applicants.

If I have a master's degree, do I need to submit GRE scores?

No, your transcripts will be enough and will confirm the master's degree.

What is it like to live in Laramie?

One’s perspective depends a great deal on previous experiences.  Laramie (population 32,000) is situated on the high plains of southeastern Wyoming, two hours north of Denver, near the foot of the Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains. Laramie has an Old West charm but also a funky college-town feel. It's home to some fine independent bookstores and coffee shops, and the restaurant options include vegan (in addition to steak houses), Thai, Mexican, and more. Laramie was also recently named by Outside magazine as one of the 40 best college towns in the United States, and for good reason: the rugged mountains of the Snowies and the Medicine Bow National Forest to the east and west of town offer vast areas of public land and boundless opportunities for hiking, camping, trout fishing, mountain biking, and rock climbing.  Winters can be long and cold, but that’s all more reason to take up snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, sledding, or curling (or hunker down in the first-rate gym on campus).

Are there opportunities for MFA students to work with magazines, presses, or other publications?

Various opportunities for MFA students exist at The Owen Wister Review, UWYO magazine, Western Confluence, and Wyoming Public Radio (see FAQ below).

Tell me about the MFA program's partnership with the Ucross Foundation.

The MFA program collaborates with the Ucross Foundation to bring Ucross residents to Laramie for readings and events with MFA students, to place MFA students in internships and community-outreach projects. For more information about Ucross, visit www.ucrossfoundation.org.

Tell me about the Eminent Writer in Residence.

When possible the UW MFA invites Eminent Writers in Residence to join our work. The first Eminent Writer in Residence, for the year 2007-08, was Terry Tempest Williams; the second, for the 2008-09 year, was Joy Williams. In recent years, we’ve been joined by Edward P. Jones, Philip Gourevitch, Claudia Rankine, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Jan Zwicky, Robert Bringhurst, Rebecca Solnit, Colson Whitehead, John D’Agata, Ed Roberson, Maggie Nelson, Mark Nowak, Bhanu Kapil, and Nam Le.  Last year we were delighted to be joined by Jennifer Moxley.  Holders of the residency in the future will continue to include distinguished writers from all three genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry). 

Tell me about the opportunities the MFA program has with Wyoming Public Radio.

The MFA program has placed numerous students in extended internships with Wyoming Public Radio.  Interns get hands-on experience in all aspects of WPR’s work, and their reporting frequently appears on the air and on WPR’s website.  The partnership creates rare opportunities, especially for writers interested in pursuing future work in journalism and nonfiction reporting. Recent MFA graduates with WPR experience have gone on to full-time positions at respected radio stations across the country.

How do I apply?

MFA in Creative Writing application instructions.

Do I need a car?

To get around town, walking and biking work for most errands and destinations, although winters can be a challenge!  And to get up to the mountains for recreation, you’ll need a car.  Hiking, camping, fishing and skiing are only 15 minutes to the east and 45 minutes to the west, but driving is pretty much a necessity.

What is the composition of the student body at UW?

The University of Wyoming has 13,500 students, representing all 50 states and 87 countries.  The majority of students (69%) are from Wyoming. 10% of students are students of color, and 53% are women.

Have a question?

We're happy to answer it.  Please e-mail cw@uwyo.edu

Have questions about admissions practices?  Check our Note to Applicants.

Contact Us

Creative Writing Program

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6453

Fax: 307-766-3189

Email: cw@uwyo.edu

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