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If you’d like us to mail you a packet of information about our brief-residency MFA in Writing via postal mail, email us your address. If you prefer, these same materials are available for you to download, read, and print out. See links, above.
Admission to the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program is based primarily on the quality of the applicant’s original creative writing in one of the particular areas of fiction (short story and/or novel), creative nonfiction, poetry, writing for children and young adults (picture book, middle grade, or young adult), playwriting, and screenwriting. The quality of the writing, which must demonstrate a level of proficiency appropriate for the commencement of graduate work, is judged by a committee of MFA faculty members and the Program Director. The GRE is NOT required.
A bachelor’s degree is required, but it need not have been with an English or writing major. Students, who have completed a significant number of undergraduate hours, may request an exception to the requirement of having already earned a bachelor’s degree. Contact the Program Director.
Students in the MFA in Writing Program may transfer one semester from another brief-residency MFA in Writing Program if the semester was completed satisfactorily. The program also accepts applications for one or two semesters of study (post-graduate semesters) from those who have already completed a graduate degree with a creative thesis.
The formal application consists of
- the Spalding University Application for Graduate Admission (applicants may apply online at http://www.spalding.edu/mfaonlineapp or the application may be printed from above) and $30 application fee. To pay your $30 application fee by credit card, you may call 800-896-8941 x 4326 or x 4335 or call 502-873-4326 or 502-873-4335. You may mail a check for $30 to Admissions, Spalding University, 845 S. Third St., Louisville, KY 40203.
- institution-to-institution official transcripts from every college attended. Electronic transcripts can be emailed to email@example.com or mail transcripts to Admissions, Spalding University, 845 S Third St., Louisville, KY 40203.
- a writing sample in the applicant’s chosen area(s) of concentration: prose (double-spaced, 17-25 pages), screenwriting or playwriting (standard script format, 17-25 pages); poetry (single-spaced, maximum 10 pages); writing for children and young adults (double-spaced, 17-25 pages of middle-grade or young-adult prose or 2-3 picture book stories). The sample is typed copy in 12 point, easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman with 1″ margins; include page numbers. Prospective students who wish to apply in more than one area of concentration send the appropriate writing samples in each area.
Applicants put their name on a cover sheet and not within the writing sample. Along with the applicant’s name, identify the area of concentration on the cover sheet: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, screenwriting, or playwriting. The anonymous samples are read by a faculty committee.
- two personal essays First essay: Applicants write a 2-3 page commentary on a work they have admired. The commentary demonstrates critical thinking in the area in which the prospective student is applying. The subject of the essay may be a novel, a creative nonfiction book, a short story, an essay, a pair of poems, a script of a play or a screenplay. Applicants who apply in more than one area send only one 2-3 page commentary on a work in any one of the areas. Second essay: Applicants write a 2-3 page essay that summarizes their background in writing and shows their motivation to make a serious commitment to a demanding schedule of writing, revising, and critical reading. The essay addresses their ability to work independently. Applicants also discuss their openness to receiving instruction in creative writing and willingness to learn to critique the creative writing of other program members.
Applicants should put their name and area(s) of concentration on a cover sheet, but not on the essay itself. The essays are typed copy (12 pt., easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman), double-spaced with 1″ margins and include page numbers. The anonymous essays are read by a faculty committee.
- two letters of recommendation concerning the student’s ability to read literature and to write both creative and critical prose at a graduate level. Letters from former or current creative writing instructors are preferable; however, if this is not an option, applicants should ask another professor or someone who is familiar with their writing, love of writing and reading, ability to accept and give critiques, motivation to participate in the program, and/or ability to work independently.
To email writing samples and essays, attach the documents as a .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf documents (for scriptwriters, Final Draft is acceptable), and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails should include the subject line “Documents for application of (applicant’s full name).” As with the printed writing sample and essay, the name should appear on the cover sheetonly. Follow the instructions above for formatting.
Emailed letters of recommendation are acceptable if the from email address is identifiable as belonging to the sender. For example, a letter from Susan Sanders emailed from email@example.com (or xxxx.com) is acceptable, while an email from an anonymous address, such as from firstname.lastname@example.org, is not.
If materials are mailed, send to Admissions, Spalding University, 845 S. Third St., Louisville, KY 40203, and not to the MFA Office.
Decisions are usually made four to six weeks after the complete application has been received; however, in some cases a decision may be delayed. Within thirty days of official notification of acceptance, a $500 deposit is required to hold a place in the program or in lieu of the deposit the student may go ahead and enroll in the the first course. The deposit is nonrefundable and is applied to tuition. Students accepted for admission for a particular semester may defer enrollment for one year with the permission of the Program Director.
If a student is denied admission, he or she is advised
- to seek additional instruction at a local undergraduate program,
- to take adult education courses in creative writing,
- to seek instruction in a workshop-style writing class through a university course or writers’ conference,
- to read contemporary literary magazines, available through a local bookstore or public library,
- to keep a journal of ideas about improving one’s writing,
- and/or to work privately with a publishing writer or writing group
and to reapply for admission to the program after such additional experience, submitting a new writing sample. If more than a year has passed since the original application, other items in the application process may need to be resubmitted.
Students in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program may transfer one semester (12-16 credit hours) from another brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program, if the semester was completed satisfactorily. Students may transfer one semester (12-16 hours) from a traditional Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program if the Program Director determines that the course work completed is equivalent to the work completed in a semester at Spalding and the application writing sample warrants the advanced placement. Work from MA programs or previous publication is not accepted for transfer credit.While the Program does not accept “life experience” as credit, students who have published a book or produced a play or screenplay may apply for acceleration in their second semester. For more information about acceleraton, see our Special Features page.
The MFA in Writing Program accepts post-graduate degree students holding the PhD, MFA, or MA, who have written creative writing theses. Such students register for either English 610 or 620 for a Post-Graduate Semester(s) or, in some cases, English 650. Some post-graduate students may wish to use the semester to progress toward completing a book. Application procedure and tuition are the same as for any MFA student, except in the case of transcripts where the applicant need supply only the transcript verifying the graduate degree. The Post-Graduate Semester is also available for Spalding brief-residency MFA graduates who wish to study in an additional area of concentration or to receive additional instruction.
Spalding University welcomes international students and has a long history of having international students on campus; however, international students sometimes have a few more steps in the application process. For example, if the applicant’s bachelor’s degree is from an international university, the applicant must obtain verification that the actual degree is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree that is obtained from an US university.
The verification is obtained by the applicant from a foreign credentialing service (a degree-evaluating company). The University Registrar suggests www.wes.org; however, there are many out there and the applicant may choose another one. The evaluation only needs to address the equivalency of the international bachelor’s degree to a US bachelor’s degree; it does not need to evaluate individual courses on the international transcript. Have the evaluation sent to the same address as transcripts are sent (see above).
In addition, if accepted, international students are asked to provide a copy of their passport and a financial statement showing they have the ability to pay for one year of the MFA Program. The TOEFL may be required if the student does not have a proficiency in English. Other materials may be requested also.
Spalding has an international student specialist to help walk the student through any steps needed for a student visa.
Spalding University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the Master of Fine Arts in Writing. Spalding University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing is a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.
MFA Office: (502) 873-4400 or (800) 896-8941, ext. 4400
MFA in Writing
851 South Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40203
FAX: (502) 992-2409
Last updated 05-03-2013, information is subject to change without notice.