Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to Multiple MFA’s at UT

Is there more than one Creative Writing MFA at UT—Austin?

Yes! And we encourage you to research and consider applying concurrently to our affiliated departments’ M.F.A. programs, as each has it’s own unique structure, degree program, faculty, and setting.

The Michener Center for Writers, offers a three-year M.F.A. in Writing, with concentrations in Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting or Playwriting.

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.

The New Writer’s Project in the Department of English offers an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, with tracks for fiction and poetry.

What do I need to know to apply to multiple programs at UT?

If you are applying to more than 1 graduate program at UT, please note the following:

  • You will need to submit a separate ApplyTexas application for each program.
  • You will also need to submit the required application materials for each department. Include the program name in the header of all documents to ensure they are viewed by the correct committee.
  • Applicants to multiple graduate programs need only pay the admissions fee for their first application. Application fees cannot be refunded once they have been processed.
  • When you upload your Writing Sample and Statement of Purpose to MyStatus, your documents might post to multiple applications. If you need to upload supplemental SOP’s or WS’s for your other applications, navigate to the “Document Upload System” link in the right-hand menu to upload your other documents.
  • In the MyStatus portal, the Michener Center application is labeled “Writing.”

Writing Sample & Statement of Purpose

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?

Yes, but including previously published work is not a requirement.

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.

Letters of Recommendation

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.

Can I change one of my recommenders after I’ve submitted the initial application?

Yes. 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.

One of my recommenders didn’t receive the email to submit their letter. Can I resend it?

Yes. 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 resend the email.

Additional Questions

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. 

Do I need to submit a GRE score?

No. We no longer require the GRE.

Can I include a CV or list of awards and honors?

While these items are not required for our application, you may submit them by logging into your MyStatus portal and navigating to the “Document Upload System” link in the right-hand menu. Upload your items as “miscellaneous documents.”

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 receipt of the letters of recommendation, language test scores, and transcripts. Applications that are not complete by January 1st will be cancelled. You do not need to contact us if your letters, scores, or transcripts will arrive between December 1st and January 1st.

I’ve submitted all of my materials. Is my application complete?

If you have submitted the ApplyTexas application, paid the application fee, and completed the items in your MyStatus portal To Do List (excepting the “Graduate Program Requirements”) items, then your application is complete and under review. There is no final “submit” button in the MyStatus portal.

When will I hear a response to my application?

Decisions are generally made by early March. Admitted and wait-listed candidates are contacted immediately via direct email or phone. Applicants who are not offered admission will have their application status posted electronically in their MyStatus portal.

Please note: Our admissions committee reviews applications that are still considered “incomplete” by the Graduate Admissions Office (such as those with missing or un-evaluated transcripts), as long as they contain a writing sample and statement of purpose. If an application is still considered “incomplete” at the time that a decision to reject the application has been made, our department will cancel the application. If you receive a notice that your “incomplete” application was “canceled,” please know that our committee made the decision to reject your application based on their review of your submitted materials.

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 required  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.

However, if a Michener Center Fellow wants to teach, there are a variety of options for them 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).

Can I request an application fee waiver?

The Office of Graduate Admissions oversees all application fees and application fee waivers. At this time, waivers are only available for U.S. students. Information on requesting a fee waiver can be found here (scroll down to “Fee Waivers” below “Step 2: Pay the Application Fee”).

Please note that our department is unable to waive the application fee and all applicants must request fee waivers through the Office of Graduate Admissions. If you write to us requesting a waiver, we will direct you to the link above.

Applicants to multiple graduate programs only pay the admissions fee for their first application. Application fees cannot be refunded once they have been processed.