How to Apply for the MFA

Application Deadline: December 15th

The next appliction cycle will begin October 1st

To be considered for admission to the graduate program, you must complete the online application, including all supplemental materials, and mail a hard copy of your manuscript and a manuscript cover sheet directly to the Writers’ Workshop (102 Dey House). The manuscript must be postmarked by December 15.

Students at Dey House

Set Up Your Graduate Application

* Note: It can take up to 24 hours for the online application to be processed and for you to receive your HawkID.

  • To begin your application, sign in or create a new account on the University of Iowa Office of Admissions page and provide the required basic information.
  • Click through to the applications page and select the Graduate Application option. You must fill out and submit the complete application, including the application fee, before you can upload your Writers’ Workshop application documents.*** 
    *** In Section B: Admissions Information, enter the following:
    • “English: Creative Writing” on the Department or Program dropdown
    • enter the genre(s) (fiction, poetry, or both) in which you are applying in the “Area of interest or specialization” text box
    • select “MFA (thesis)” on the “Degree” dropdown menu
  • The fee to complete the application is $60 ($100 for international students). If you would like to apply for a fee waiver, follow the fee waiver instructions. There is no fee waiver for international applicants.
  • Once your application has been submitted and processed, you will receive an email with instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password (this can take up to 24 hours). You will need your HawkID and password to upload additional application documents.

Mail Your Manuscript

To apply to the Writers’ Workshop, you must send, in hard copy, a printed, unbound manuscript of your best work, accompanied by a completed manuscript coversheet.

For poetry: Please submit ten to twelve poems.

For fiction: Please submit at least two short stories, or two or more sections of a novel, or a combination of novel excerpts and shorter work. Fiction manuscripts should be double-spaced and 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 coversheet CANNOT solely be submitted online. Please mail the manuscript and manuscript cover sheet to:

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

If applying to both fiction and poetry, send both manuscripts in the same envelope and include ONE cover sheet with both genres selected.

Please note that nonfiction prose, screenplays, or critical writings, though of some interest, are not acceptable as the basis for admissions decisions. Those interested in playwriting should not apply to the Creative Writing 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.

  • DO NOT email the manuscript. In order to evaluate your manuscript, we need to receive a physical copy. We also request a digital upload, via MyUI, as a backup (see below). The digital upload DOES NOT replace the mailed hard copy.
  • Please do not bind the manuscript (paperclip or staple is acceptable)
  • We cannot accept updated/revised manuscripts after your initial submission
  • Please allow up to four weeks for us to acknowledge your manuscript via your online admissions profile; if your manuscript has not been acknowledged by January 20th, please call the office to make sure it’s been received; please note: we cannot check on manuscript status before January 20
  • Due to the large number of submissions, we cannot provide feedback on your work.

Additional Application Materials

Once you've set up your Graduate Admissions application, you will receive an email with instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password (this can take up to 24 hours). Follow the instructions to set up your HawkID and password. If you cannot find the email, contact

Once you set up your HawkID and password, Sign in to your admissions profile on MyUI to upload all additional application documents.

  1. Upload Your Mailed Manuscript 
    We are requesting that all applicants upload their manuscript on MyUI in addition to mailing the manuscript by the December 15 deadline.
  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

    Please provide contact info for you recommenders through your MyUI Admissions Profile. Once contact info has been submitted, each recommender will receive an email from the Office of Admissions with instructions for how to upload a recommendation letter to the Office of Admissions. The University of Iowa accepts letters of recommendation through Interfolio.
  6. Resume or CV (optional) 
    If you choose, you can upload your resume or CV to your Admissions Profile in MyUI.
  7. Unofficial copy of academic transcripts 
    Please upload unofficial academic transcripts for undergraduate and graduate-level coursework, if applicable, to your Admissions Profile in MyUI (current University of Iowa students can skip this step).
    Applicants who are accepted for admission will subsequently be required to send official academic transcripts to the University of Iowa Office of Admissions.
  8. General GRE scores – not required 
    The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop does not require GRE scores for admission.

To Complete Your Application

Your application is complete once you have uploaded all of the required documents to your admissions profile on MyUI, provided contact information for your recommenders, and mailed your manuscript to the Writers’ Workshop.

Decisions will be made in March or early April.

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.

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.