How to Apply

Admissions deadline: December 15

Applicants should complete and submit the online application to the Graduate College and upload all supplemental documents through MyUI,

Printed manuscripts should be mailed directly to the Writers' Workshop between October 1 and December 15. The postmark deadline for manuscripts is December 15.

Applicants are only accepted for entry into the Fall semester. Decisions on admissions and financial aid awards are made in March or early April for the following academic year.

How to Submit Your Application

Application instructions follow in detail below; our admissions checklist provides an overview.

Instructions for applying online and submitting required supplemental documents

  • To begin your application, sign in or create a new account at the University of Iowa Admissions website.
  • Proceed to apply to the Graduate College, under "Graduate & Professional Applications." 
  • Complete the application by filling in the required information.
  • Under "Admission Information," specify that your are applying for Fall, 2019 admission, in "English: Creative Writing." 
  • Under "Area of Interest," indicate whether you are applying for admission in poetry, fiction, or both. The degree objective is "MFA (thesis)."
  • Please submit the $60 application fee ($100 for international students), or follow the instructions to apply for a fee waiver. There is no fee waiver for international applicants.
  • When your online application is complete, and your new admissions profile has been processed, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password. Please log-in with your HawkID and password to MyUI. Go to your Admissions Profile to upload the required supplemental documents

Required Supplemental Documents

1. A manuscript 
The applicant should submit a printed manuscript of his or her best work.

For poetry: please submit ten to twelve poems.

For fiction: please submit two or three short stories, a section of a novel, or both. Fiction manuscripts should be double-spaced; they typically range in length from 30 to 80 pages (please do not send more than 80 pages). Send what you feel is your strongest work.

The manuscript and manuscript coversheets are the only supplemental required documents that cannot be uploaded to your Admissions Profile on MyUI. The manuscript coversheet PDF is available here and also at your Admissions Profile in MyUI. Please fill out and print your manuscript coversheet and mail it, with your manuscript, to:

Iowa Writers' Workshop
102 Dey House
University of Iowa
507 N. Clinton St. 
Iowa City, IA 52242-1000

These samples of writing may be a printed manuscript, copies, or pages from periodicals. It is not sufficient for the applicant to furnish only a bibliographical citation of published work.

Please send a self-addressed stamped envelope with correct postage if you would like your manuscript to be returned to you. 

If applying to both fiction and poetry, send both manuscripts in the same envelope. Please include a manuscript coversheet for each program.

Nonfiction prose, screenplays, or critical writings, though of some interest, are not acceptable as the basis for admissions decisions. Those people interested in playwriting should not apply to our program, but directly to the Playwrights Workshop, Department of Theatre Arts; those with an interest in literary nonfiction should apply to the Nonfiction Writing Program. Those interested in screenwriting should apply to Cinematic Arts

2. Statement of Purpose
Include your purpose in pursuing graduate study, any research you wish to pursue, and your future vocational goals. No particular length is required. To be uploaded to MyUI.

3. Graduate Funding Application
Please fill out the Graduate Funding Application in your Admissions Profile on MyUI

4. Department Funding Application 
Please fill out the Department Funding Application in your Admissions Profile on MyUI

5. Letters of Recommendation 
Three letters should be written by instructors or colleagues who are best able to assess your potential for graduate study and teaching.

The letters should be submitted by January 20.

Applicants will be asked to provide contact information for recommenders. Each recommender will then receive an email from the Office of Admissions with instructions for how to upload a recommendation letter to the Office of Admissions. Applicants can also use Interfolio to manage letters of recommendation.

6. Resume or CV (optional)
Please upload your resume or CV to your Admissions Profile in MyUI.

7. Unofficial copy of academic transcripts
Please upload an unofficial academic transcripts for undergraduate and graduate-level coursework, if applicable, to your Admissions Profile in MyUI.

Applicants who are accepted for admission will subsequently be required to send official academic transcripts to the University of Iowa Office of Admissions.

Admission to the Graduate College
The current requirements for admission to the Graduate College are possession of an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university, and achievement of an undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0, based on a 4.0 scale. Students who can present other substantial evidence of probable success in graduate work at the Writers' Workshop are sometimes admitted provisionally in spite of a lower grade-point average. Applications from students who have graduated from foreign universities are considered individually by the Graduate College.

International Applicants: Please closely review the admissions requirements on the Graduate Admissions website, and contact the Graduate Admissions office if you have any questions.

8. General GRE scores (optional
Admission to the Workshop is based on your writing sample and not your GRE scores. The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop does not require GRE scores for admission. In the past, student applications that included GRE scores were more competitive for certain University-wide fellowships, but this is no longer true. Self-reported GRE scores may be entered in MyUI. Official GRE scores may be sent to the University of Iowa Office of Admissions, at institution code 6681.


The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of  consideration as an individual. The university also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to  university facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and  Diversity, the University of Iowa, 202 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA, 52242-1316, 319-335-0705 (voice), 319-335-0697 (TDD), If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in these programs, please contact the Writers' Workshop at (319) 335-0416.