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Unc wilmington creative writing mfa

Apply to the MFA Program

Your application to the MFA program in Creative Writing at UNC-Wilmington will be submitted online to UNCW’s Graduate School. Along with your online application, you are required to upload an electronic copy of your manuscript (the writing sample), your personal essay (also called a statement of interest, purpose, or intent), and email addresses for three recommenders. In addition to the application materials submitted online, you will need to mail to the Graduate School your transcripts.

IMPORTANT : You will submit your application & fee BEFORE you upload your supplemental materials, listed below. Please click here for details on the steps to completing your online application, found in the tab of your application (and different from the list of required application materials, below).

Once you submit your application, you may access the Self Service Portal to upload your documents and view your recommendations.

Here is a complete list of the required application materials:

1. An application for admission to the Graduate School (online)

  • The MFA program in Creative Writing (separate from the UNCW MA in English) accepts online applications from September 1—January 7 for August admissions.

2. A typed manuscript in the applicant’s writing genre (uploaded as a single document—cover sheet is optional):

  • Up to 10 total pages of poetry (one poem per page; multi-page poems acceptable)
  • Up to 30 total pages of fiction (double-spaced); single or multiple pieces
  • Up to 30 total pages of creative nonfiction (double-spaced); single or multiple pieces

3. A personal essay (300-500 words), uploaded with the online application, which focuses on goals for the development of your writing. You will want to talk about your writing style, as well as literary influences (both contemporary and historical). In what way(s) does UNCW support/meet your vision for these goals? What will you contribute to the program? In the essay, identify the genre-Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, or Poetry-for which the application is intended.

4. Three letters of recommendation which are accepted ONLY via the online applications system. You will provide email addresses of recommenders, who will then be notified by the system to upload their letters. Thus, these letters may arrive after the deadline for application. Note: the system will also accept letters from Interfolio. Details posted in the FAQs.

5. All official college transcripts, in sealed envelopes requested on or before January 7, or emailed directly from institution to [email protected] The UNCW Graduate School requires transcripts from every institution to which you matriculated. Your application will be considered incomplete until all transcripts have been received. Details posted in the FAQs.

DO NOT SEND transcripts to the Department of Creative Writing as this will delay the Graduate School from receiving and recording your application materials.

Send all official college transcripts, in sealed envelopes, to:

Graduate School
University of North Carolina Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403-5955

Electronic password-protected transcripts may be sent directly from the institution to [email protected] .

6. A non-refundable application fee of $75 (paid online as part of the application). Waiver info here.

7. If you are interested in being considered for an assistantship in the Creative Writing classroom, or in the Publishing Laboratory (or both!), please include a brief (1-2 page) supplemental statement of relevant experience and interest. (If interested in both, upload a single combined essay.)
(upload with online application, in the Assistantship Essay section—separate from the Personal Essay in #3)

Additional information:
  • The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is not required for admission to our program.
  • There is no foreign language requirement nor interview process.
  • International applicants must meet additional requirements; details posted in the FAQs, here.

All application materials (including the application fee) must be posted to the online application system no later than midnight (EST) on January 7. Late applications cannot be accepted as the system closes at 12:01 AM January 8. You may begin to apply as soon as the system allows applications for the following year (around September 1). We do not admit new students mid-year (i.e., in spring semester).

Please click here for details on the steps to completing your online application, found in the tab of your application. You will upload your supplemental materials AFTER you submit your application.

Once you submit your application, you may access the Self Service Portal to upload your documents and view your recommendations.

For more details, see our FAQs at

If you have questions about the application process after reviewing the FAQs for prospective students, please contact Lisa Bertini, MFA Program Assistant, at [email protected] or 910.962.3070. (UNCW will be closed during winter break, generally Dec 23-Jan 1.)

To contact the UNCW Graduate School:

(Note: To check the status of your application or to request confirmation of receipt of application materials, see To address missing items in your application, please see the instructions at If you are having trouble with any part of the online application, please refer to the technical support options available through the application system. If you still need help resolving your issue you may contact the Graduate School at [email protected]

Be sure to review the Getting Started section of the Graduate School website for a step-by-step guide to applying for admission. Many of your questions will be answered there.

The MFA in Creative Writing

Our MFA program—an intensive, three-year studio-academic experience in the writing of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction—joins students who share a common passion and faculty members who provide critical support of their work. The faculty of the Department of Creative Writing view MFA students as colleagues-in-the-making. To help initiate them into the profession, we offer a series of panels and workshops designed to address practical issues that lie outside the scope of the writing workshop.

Our faculty members consider it a privilege to teach in such a community, and our invitation to successful candidates to join our MFA community is an equal privilege and should be regarded as such. We do all that we can to mentor our MFA students to successful lives as writers; in return we ask that they contribute something of value to our writing community.

  • Why an MFA in Creative Writing?
  • Our Partnership with HarperCollins Publishers

Our MFA in creative writing program was named third in the nation for creative nonfiction in the 2013 MFA rankings in Poets & Writers magazine. The magazine has also recently ranked UNCW’s overall creative writing program as one of the top 25 MFA programs in creative writing in the nation.

UNCW is ranked among the best in the nation for graduate school programs. See this and other recent rankings at .

University of North Carolina, Wilmington

The UNCW Department of Creative Writing is a community of passionate, dedicated writers who believe that the creation of art is valuable to self and culture. Our faculty encourages a rigorous yet supportive environment in which writers can grow as artists and as individuals. We believe excellence starts with an informed application of craft and we encourage writers to explore aesthetics and methods across genre lines.

The Department of Creative Writing is an independent department housed in its own building, keeping its undergraduate and graduate communities all in one place. It offers BFA and MFA degrees in Fine Arts (Creative Writing), both programs also having the potential of an extensive publishing and editing component.

UNCW’s MFA Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary and there is no better way to do that than by looking back on the successes of our students. That is where we pride ourselves. Our students and alumni have published more than 90 books and chapbooks. Jason Mott’s first novel became last season’s ABC TV series The Returned; Brad Land’s debut memoir Goat is being filmed as I write this; Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams received a $25,000 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a $50,000 Whiting Writers Award; Arianna Nash won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry; Rochelle Hurt won the Barrow Street Book Prize; Leah Osowski won the Wick Poetry Prize at Kent State; Emily Carr won the New Measures Poetry Prize; Xhenet Aliu won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize; the list of books goes on and on– publishers such as St. Martins; Algonquin; Viking; Ballantine; Morrow; Random House; Simon and Schuster. Alumni have published some hundreds of poems, stories, essays, reviews in prominent and vital venues. Indeed, here are a few of the magazines with which recent students published while still in the program: The Georgia Review, Black Warrior Review, The Journal, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, Colorado Review, Agni, North American Review, Green Mountains Review, Third Coast, Puerto del Sol, Passages North, Oxford American, River Teeth, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre; The Paris Review Daily, Poetry International, Granta Online, and The Nation.

We are a faculty of 15 seasoned, well published, working writers, all teaching graduate coursework in writing, literature, translation, or publishing, editing and book design. We offer the traditional tracks of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, with a graduate course available in screenwriting.

We enjoy a community of 63 students undertaking a three-year program of study in an independent department of creative writing housed in its own building. The community is all in one place. Cross-genre study is not only encouraged—it is required. Our workshops are capped at 14 and often run much smaller. No one phones it in here. We take pride in mentoring our students. And we take pride in engendering a rigorous, but very supportive atmosphere amongst the students.

We offer 9-10 GTAships each year, each paying a stipend of $15,500 and involving the teaching of creative writing or publishing and editing, or, in two cases, film studies, at the undergraduate level.

One opportunity that sets us apart is our Publishing Laboratory and its imprint Lookout Books. Students have now edited, designed and published five national titles, one of which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Pub Lab also houses two national literary magazines, Ecotone and Chautauqua.

Please visit our website (below) and view a short video about us. We are proud of our MFA and BFA programs in Creative Writing, and of that unique, state-of-the-art Publishing Laboratory, where both graduate and undergraduate students learn all aspects of publishing in a hands-on environment that is unique in higher education. You can also read about our award-winning semiannual journal, Ecotone, and its sister book imprint, Lookout Books, at