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Frequently Asked Questions
Is there more than one graduate Creative Writing program at UT—Austin?
Yes! And we encourage you to consider applying concurrently to our affiliated departments’ M.F.A. programs.
The Michener Center for Writers degree program is a three-year M.F.A. in Writing, with concentrations in Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting or Playwriting. Additionally, the Department of Radio, Television and Film offers an M.F.A. in Screenwriting; the Department of Theatre and Dance offers an M.F.A. in Playwriting; and the New Writer’s Project (Department of English) offers an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, with tracks for fiction and poetry.
If you wish to apply to one of the other UT programs as well as ours, you’ll need to submit the required materials to both departments and meet the Graduate School’s requirements for multiple applications. Applicants to multiple graduate programs only pay the admissions fee for their first application.
What makes for a successful Writing Sample?
Send us what you feel is your best and strongest work. A lot of writers make the mistake of trying to show “range” or submitting very recent work that hasn’t yet had time to mature. Likewise, some writers will include work that is more ambitious than accomplished, an approach that often doesn’t give the Admissions Committee the clearest sense of who the writers are. We know that the decision of what to include in a sample can be stressful and confusing, but our advice is to relax and send us what you feel are your best pages to date.
Can I send previously published work as my Writing Sample?
What should I say in my Statement of Purpose?
Think of this statement as a lens through which other elements of your application can be brought into focus for us. What you include is your call, though it’s not uncommon for writers to discuss the work (books, films, plays, etc.) that has shaped their writing lives. If you’ve had jobs or travels that seem relevant to who you are as a writer, we’d be glad to hear about them. If you have some special preparation or background in the secondary field, it’s worth briefly mentioning in the statement.
Include a header on your statement that includes your name and your primary and secondary genres.
Who should I ask to write my Letters of Recommendation?
Use your best judgment in securing meaningful letters. Letters from professors or workshop instructors of any writing classes you’ve taken can be useful, but we’ve also accepted many writers with no formal study in their backgrounds. If you have been out of school for a while, you might ask for letters from people with whom you’ve worked professionally, or in non-academic writing groups.
Is it okay to request more than three letters?
No, please only request three letters. Extra letters are not necessary and will not be read.
How do I change one of my recommenders or resend a recommender the email to upload their letter?
In your MyStatus portal, click on the letter of recommendation in your To Do list, then click the link that says “manage my recommendations.” This link will allow you to change the recommender, or resend them the email.
Do I need to submit a GRE score?
No. We no longer require the GRE.
Do I need a Bachelor’s Degree to apply?
Yes. Michener Center Fellows complete a Master’s Degree during their time at the Center, so all applicants must possess a Bachelor’s Degree. Applicants with a Bachelor’s Degree in progress must complete their degree before the first semester of the program (i.e. applicants for Fall 2024 must possess a Bachelor’s Degree by Summer 2024). Applicants must also meet the UT Graduate School’s minimum requirements for consideration.
Will my application be rejected if it is not complete by the deadline?
If you have submitted your writing sample & statement of purpose and paid the application fee by the deadline, your application will be assessed by the committee.
There is a one-month grace period for letters of recommendation and transcripts. Applications that are not complete by January 1st will be cancelled.
Does UT have a Literary Journal?
Yes! Bat City Review is a nationally distributed (and very cool) literary magazine published at UT-Austin. Each year, MCW Fellows have the option to work on staff and can receive funding to represent the magazine at the annual AWP writers conference.
If I’m accepted to the Michener Center for Writers, will I be teaching?
There are no teaching duties for Michener Center Fellows. We are very proud to offer three years of full funding without any teaching obligations. We want writers to immerse themselves in their projects and we want to spare them any unnecessary labor.
That said, if a Michener Center Fellow wants to teach, there are a variety of options to explore. The Austin Public Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing Program works to make creative writing accessible to anyone and everyone, and MCW Fellows have a rich history of teaching writers of all ages through that program. Students have also worked with resident faculty member Deb Olin Unferth on the Pen-City Writers Program, a creative-writing certificate program for men incarcerated at a maximum-security prison in southern Texas. They may also have the opportunity to teach creative writing and literature courses at UT’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s SAGE (Seminars for Adult Growth and Enrichment).
When will I hear a response to my application?
Decisions are generally made in March, and admitted and wait-listed candidates are contacted immediately by email or phone.
Applicants who are not offered admission will have their application status posted electronically by GIAC. Please note that this may be delayed due to items GIAC considers still missing from the file (such as missing or as-yet-unevaluated transcripts), but the MCW will have already made a final decision based on the uploaded writing sample and statement of purpose.
Can I request an application fee waiver?
The Graduate School oversees all application fees and application fee waivers. Our department is unable to waive them independently. Information on requesting a fee waiver can be found here.