We prefer that applicants to the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing hold a bachelor's degree in English or have taken a significant number of credits in English and American literature. Exceptions are made if applicants can demonstrate the ability to take graduate-level literature courses. We consider the entire application package in our admission decisions.
The minimum admission standard for all graduate students is an undergraduate grade point average of "B" or 3.0 (see bottom of page for exceptions), or the functional equivalent for students who have attended universities outside of the United States.
Submit the following general application materials and supporting materials to be considered for admission. Please note that the Creative Writing Program uses Interfolio for supporting materials, although other options are available, as described farther down this page. All materials (including GRE scores) must be submitted online and/or postmarked by December 15 or they will not be considered.
You may download a PDF of all these instructions.
• Graduate School Application: Complete the general Graduate School application on Temple’s online Banner system. (There is an option on the website to download a paper application, which should be mailed to: Creative Writing Program, Dept. of English (022-29), Temple University, Anderson Hall, Room 1020, 1114 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090.)
• Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Scores for the general test, taken within the past 5 years, should be sent to Temple University electronically by ETS. This is a Graduate School requirement, and there are no waivers. The Creative Writing Program requires the general test only, not the literature subject exam. Receiving score reports by December 15 is extremely important if you wish to be considered for a fellowship.
• International applicants: TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores should be sent to Temple University electronically by ETS or the appropriate agency. The following minimum scores are required: TOEFL score of 79/550, or IELTS score of 6.5, or PTE Academic score of 53. Please refer to the Graduate School's international application page.
• Transcripts: Two copies of all transcripts must be submitted, one official copy by mail, and one unofficial copy electronically. Request that official transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended (including Temple, as well as institutions from which you did not receive a degree) be mailed to: Creative Writing Program, Dept. of English (022-29), Temple University, Anderson Hall, Room 1020, 1114 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090. We ask that you also scan and upload copies of all your transcripts to your Interfolio account and submit them with the other application materials (see next section). These can be unofficial or student copies of transcripts.
The following required materials should be submitted electronically through the Interfolio online dossier service. For instructions on how to create an Interfolio account and submit all the additional applications materials as one package, see “Interfolio Instructions” below.
• Financial Aid Application: Fill out this form if you are interested in being considered for a fellowship or assistantship, then send the form through Interfolio. (This PDF form has fillable fields that may be completed on your computer.) In addition, you must submit a C.V. or résumé through Interfolio if applying for financial assistance. See our Financial Aid page for eligibility information.
• Transcripts: Send scans of unofficial or student copies of all transcripts through Interfolio (refer to “General Application Materials” above).
• Personal Statement (750–1,000 words): Send a personal statement through Interfolio. Give us a sense of who you are—a more detailed, personal picture than what can be gleaned from transcripts or résumés, especially if you have a non-traditional background or atypical undergraduate record. Discuss literary influences and models that feed your creative work; we're interested in which writers and texts have been important to you, as well as what critical approaches you have found useful. Describe your teaching experience if you have any. Mention what attracts you to Temple's program and/or Philadelphia. Double-space the lines, paginate the pages, use a standard font such as Times New Roman sized to 12 points, and have margins of at least one inch on all sides. (You will be required to post a personal statement on the online Banner system for the general Graduate School application. Although it may seem redundant, please send a copy as a separate document.)
• Sample of Written Work: Your writing sample is probably the most crucial single element of your application. Through Interfolio, send a packet of writing in one genre only (poetry or fiction). For poetry, submit ten pages. These pages may include shorter poems, longer poems, and/or an excerpt from a longer project. The poems should be separated by page breaks, not run together. Poems may be single-spaced or formatted in whatever way you see fit. For fiction, send a total of 20–25 pages. Double-space the lines, paginate the pages, use a standard font such as Times New Roman sized to 12 points, and have margins of at least one inch on all sides. For applicants in either genre, if you would like to include a critical essay in addition, please feel free to do so; it should be double-spaced and formatted like the fiction sample.
• Three Letters of Recommendation: Request signed, confidential letters of recommendation through your Interfolio account. After your letters have been uploaded by your evaluators to your Interfolio account, you will be able to send them electronically to us without seeing their contents. If done through Interfolio, your evaluators do not need to also send papers copies of their letters by mail. Your recommendations should address the specific projects you have undertaken in your previous academic and creative career. They should therefore be written by people who have worked closely with you on literary or related projects, and/or supervised your teaching. In most cases, these will be faculty members. We review the letters of recommendation for specific information about how you write, how you approach problems, how you work in the classroom (both in workshops and in literature courses).
In addition, we may request a personal or phone interview with you at a later time.
Please use Interfolio’s dossier service, which accepts files ranging from PDFs to Word documents, to collect and submit application materials. There is a small fee required by the service.
• Create or log in to your Interfolio dossier account at www.interfolio.com/services/dossier.
• Request signed, confidential letters of recommendation from your three evaluators through your Interfolio account.
• Upload all supporting application documents to your Interfolio account.
• Send all required documents as one delivery to Temple University Department of English through the following procedure:
• From the Dossier options, click on “Start Delivery,” then search for Temple University’s Department of English by entering “Temple English” in the box for Institution/Organization Destination.
• Select “Creative Writing MFA Program-Temple University.”
• Select and arrange all the required documents in this order: financial aid application, C.V. or résumé, unofficial copies of all transcripts, personal statement, and writing sample.
• Complete the electronic delivery.
If you do not wish to use Interfolio, you may send your supporting materials to us either by emailing a PDF or by delivering printouts via regular mail.
Emailing a PDF: Combine your supporting materials into one PDF in this order: financial aid application, C.V. or résumé, unofficial copies of all transcripts, personal statement, and writing sample. Use the free pdfmerge.com service or another utility to produce a single PDF. Email the PDF to email@example.com. However, you must have your three evaluators mail their letters of recommendation directly to us on official letterhead, with their signatures across the seals of the envelopes. These letters should be mailed to the address below. Somewhere on the front of the envelope, please have the evaluator write “MFA Recommendation for,” followed by your full name. Note that you must still submit the general Graduate School application on the online Banner system (or through the paper option), have your GRE scores (and, if applicable, your TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores) sent to us electronically by ETS or the appropriate agency, and have official transcripts mailed to us by the institutions to the address below. See the requirements above in “General Application Materials.”
Regular Mail: Assemble your supporting materials in this order: financial aid application, C.V. or résumé, unofficial copies of all transcripts, personal statement, and writing sample. Mail everything to the address below in one package. However, you must have your three evaluators mail their letters of recommendation directly to us on official letterhead, with their signatures across the seals of the envelopes. These letters should be mailed to the address below. Somewhere on the front of the envelope, please have the evaluator write “MFA Recommendation for,” followed by your full name. Note that you must still submit the general Graduate School application on the online Banner system (or through the paper option), have your GRE scores (and, if applicable, your TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores) sent to us electronically by ETS or the appropriate agency, and have official transcripts mailed to us by the institutions to the address below. See the requirements above in “General Application Materials.”
Use the following address (with Polett Walk) to mail materials and letters of recommendation. (The old address with West Berks St. is being phased out.)
Creative Writing Program
Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by December 15. By “postmarked,” we mean that materials should be sent before or on December 15. They do not need to be delivered on that date. Regular USPS mail service, e.g., First Class or Priority Mail, is fine. You needn’t spend extra money on overnight services. Applications are accepted only for fall admission.
General application site: www.temple.edu/grad/admissions/index.htm
General Temple information: www.temple.edu
Temple English Department: www.temple.edu/english
General Graduate School information: www.temple.edu/gradbulletin
If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact Sharon Logan, the Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.204.1796.
Exceptions for GPAs less than 3.0: The Dean of the Graduate School considers exceptions to the admissions requirement if the student meets one of these criteria:
• Achieved a 3.25 cumulative grade point average in a least 9 credits of graduate work at an accredited university in the United States or equivalent academic performance in a university outside the United States.
• Scored above the 65th percentile on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Exam (or other standardized test, such as the Graduate Management Admission Test).
• Earned a 3.5 grade point average during her/his final two years of undergraduate work.
In special circumstances, particularly with an exceptional writing sample, other exceptions may be granted.
|The Creative Writing Program in the Department of English
Temple University | 1114 West Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090 | P: 215.204.1796 | F: 215.204.2662