Students may choose to begin the program during either of the 10-day residencies in March and August.
We admit on a rolling basis. You may apply at any time during the year and we will respond with an admission decision within five to six weeks from the date your application is completed. When a cohort is filled, we will offer deferred admission. Applying sooner will help you begin at the date you prefer.
Apply before November 1 to begin the program at the winter residency in March.
Apply before May 1 to begin the program at the summer residency in August.
We now have merit scholarships available for outstanding applicants! There is no separate process to apply; all admitted students will be considered for aid.
The online application can be started here.
The creative manuscript will be given special emphasis. The applicant must submit 10 pages of poetry or 25 to 30 double-spaced pages of prose, whether of fiction or creative nonfiction, in the student’s chosen genre. (In the case of prose, the applicant must decide whether to send an excerpt of a longer manuscript or stories or essays that fall within the page limit.) The steering committee does not accept fiction applications with writing samples that are in genre fiction (science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, western, et cetera). You must email your manuscript as a PDF file to GradAdmissions@spu.edu. Please include your full name and the degree you're applying for (MFA) on the manuscript and in the body of the email.
Applicants must also submit a three- to four-page (double-spaced) personal essay describing their development as a writer and as a person of faith. Please note that you don't have to take a strictly chronological approach, nor is it necessary to tell us about your various childhood literary productions. We would also be interested to learn why you have applied to our program and which contemporary writers have influenced you. (You will upload this essay in the online application form.)
Three recommendations must be submitted. Two should be focused on the applicant’s abilities as a writer. One should touch on the applicant’s academic achievements. The online application form will guide you to contact those you wish to write recommendations, and they will submit their letters electronically.
A $50 nonrefundable application fee is required. This fee cannot be waived. Financial aid is available in the form of student loans. Applicants must apply for these funds within the deadlines outlined on the application form.
Though GRE scores are not required, the applicant must have a bachelor’s degree and must submit official transcripts from previous schools attended via post.
Mail transcripts to the following address: Graduate Admissions, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 115-G, Seattle, Washington, 98119-1922.
We have a small number of partial merit scholarships available for outstanding applicants. They will be awarded based on the merit of an applicant's writing. An MFA scholarship lowers the total cost of the program by over 25 percent, making it one of the best scholarship opportunities on the low-residency MFA market. There is no separate application to apply for a scholarship. Recipients will be notified at or near the time of acceptance into the program.
For information about financial aid, visit SPU Student Financial Services, particularly Graduate Student Resources.
Contact Student Financial Services at 206-281-2061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about student loan eligibility, visit the SFS loan page.
International graduate students are not eligible for federal financial aid; however, they are eligible for merit-based scholarships.
View videos of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing to hear students and faculty talk about their experiences in the program:
- How does the religious dimension of your MFA affect the program?
- Would my creative writing project have to have overt, Christian themes, symbols, situations?
- Does the MFA have to be finished in two to three years or can a student take longer?
- Do we accept transfer credits?
- Do we require any standardized testing?
- Can you look over some of my published work before I apply?
- Is there any possibility of taking coursework in multiple genres?
- Will there be exposure to other genres during the course of the program?
- Can I enroll concurrently in the MFA program and the SPU teaching certification program?
- Where can I find tuition information?
- Do you accept people who already have an MFA degree?
- Am I too old to be considered for admission into your program?
- I'm worried about the timing of the residencies. What can you tell me?
- Does your program have a teaching practicum?
- Is the MFA considered a terminal degree?
- You ask for two letters of recommendation from those who can speak to my writing abilities and one from an academic perspective. I can't meet that requirement. What do I do?
- Are scholarships available?
- My previous degrees were not in literature or creative writing. Will that hurt my application?
- I haven't really produced much creative writing, but I want to. Should I apply to your program?
- I haven't published anything. Will that make my application less competitive?
Must I apply only for the August residency/autumn academic quarter start to the program?
1) How does the religious dimension of your MFA affect the program? Here's what we write in our brochure: "Our program seeks to extend the tradition of Christian writing in which the highest standards of art, an open-eyed exploration of human experience, and a respect for transcendent mystery come together." We take all three of these elements seriously: aesthetic excellence, unblinkered passion to understand the truth of human life, and an openness to faith in God. This means that our program will be as rigorous as any in the nation--our interest in religion will in no way induce us to take any intellectual or literary "short cuts." But part of our program will involve reflection on writing as a spiritual practice as well as the particular issues that writers of faith must struggle with. All MFA students take a course on "Art and Faith" every residency to raise a series of profound spiritual and aesthetic questions. Optional lectures and worship services will also be available to students at the residencies.
2) Would my creative writing project have to have overt, Christian themes, symbols, situations? Absolutely not. No restrictions will be placed on the subject matter of the work produced in the MFA. Most of what is called "Christian fiction" today is little more than genre fiction with didactic religious messages tacked on. Our program is dedicated to the creation of serious, enduring literature, work that can be read by educated people whatever their religious convictions. The creative writing produced in our program is destined for the public square, not a religious subculture.
3) Does the MFA have to be finished in two-three years or can a student take longer? A student may take leaves of absence from the program. No leave of absence may involve more than three consecutive quarters of the normal academic year. This means that you can take up to five years to complete the degree, though we do not recommend this course of action. After either four consecutive quarters of absence or five years, whichever comes first, the student would have to re-apply to the program and start afresh.
4) Do you accept transfer credits? No. Because each writing program is different, we would like the student to fully engage in the experience and process of writing within the SPU MFA.
5) Do you require any standardized testing? No. In order to assess an applicant's abilities as a writer, our program places the heaviest emphasis on the creative writing manuscript.
6) Can you look over some of my published work before I apply? We welcome you to submit an excerpt of your published work as part of your application, but we cannot read any of your writing prior to your application submission.
7) Is there any possibility of taking coursework in multiple genres? Yes. However, plan to extend your studies by one extra year. Studying two genres will require more time than the normal two-year schedule allows, considering the rigor of the program.
8) Will there be exposure to other genres during the course of the program? During the residencies we require that students attend a certain number of classes in their chosen genres. There will be opportunity to attend workshops, plenary sessions, readings, and lectures dealing with each type of genre.
9) Can I enroll concurrently in the MFA program and the SPU teaching certification program? Yes. Our low-residency structure is conducive to those students who wish to maintain their full time jobs or continue in another area of graduate work. However, students should keep in mind that our program requires a minimum of 25 hours of MFA work per week in order to be successful in the program. For further details, please visit the "Degree Requirements" page on this website.
10) Where can I find tuition information? Visit Student Financial Services for the latest tuition rates.
11) Do you accept people who already have an MFA degree? Yes. Our program will provide students with a unique experience, thanks to our interest in the relationship between art and religious faith.
12) Am I too old to be considered for admission into your program? Low-residency MFAs are perfect for so-called "mature" students. Typically, a large percentage of students in these programs are in that category. So, no, there is no age limit for applying to our program.
13) I'm worried about the timing of the residencies. What can you tell me? Please keep in mind that making a commitment to a program like the MFA may require you to ask employers for extraordinary leniency in terms of when you attend our residencies. We know that the March residency, in particular, may not coincide with the variety of different spring breaks around the country. Remember that a total of five residencies are required to complete our program. The 2018 residencies take place March 15–25 and August 9–19.
14) Does your program have a teaching practicum? No.
15) Is the MFA considered a terminal degree? Yes. The MFA has traditionally been considered the terminal degree for those who wish to teach creative writing at the college level.
16) You ask for two letters of recommendation from those who can speak to my writing abilities and one from an academic perspective. I can't meet that requirement. What do I do? Just try to get the three best letters you can get.
17) Are scholarships available? Yes. A small number of partial scholarships is available, and will be awarded based on the merit of an applicant's writing. An MFA scholarship cuts the total cost of the program by nearly one-third, making it one of the best scholarship opportunities on the low-residency MFA market. There is no separate application to apply for a scholarship. Recipients will be notified at the time of acceptance into the program.
18) My previous degrees were not in literature or creative writing. Will that hurt my application? No. Your previous majors or specializations are not relevant. Writers come from extremely diverse backgrounds. The most important part of your application is the creative writing sample.
19) I haven't really produced much creative writing, but I want to. Should I apply to your program? Probably not. We're looking for individuals who have felt compelled to write creatively over a number of years.
20) I haven't published anything. Will that make my application less competitive? No. While we are interested in people who have demonstrated that they have felt driven to produce creative writing over a number of years, we do not use publication as a criterion in evaluation applications. Publication is a tricky business, so we will focus our attention on the creative writing sample.
21) Must I apply only for the August residency/autumn academic quarter start to the program? No. You may apply to begin your program with the spring quarter and the March residency. In order to be considered for March admission, you must apply before November 1.