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MFA in Creative Writing & Literature

Admissions

Deadlines & How to Apply | Eligibility | Costs & Benefits | For More Information

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Deadlines

The MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literature accepts applications for admission on a rolling basis, but to be considered for funding, you must apply by January 1. All applicants for the summer and fall semester should apply by May 1. Spring semester applicants should apply by October 15. International applications may not apply for spring or summer admission, only fall, and only as a full-time student. The international deadline for all fall admissions is January 15.

How to Apply for the MFA

  • Please use the Stony Brook Graduate School’s online application.
  • In the program drop-down menu, please choose Creative Writing and Literature--MFA.
  • Please choose the semester for which you are applying. Only admissions to fall semester will be considered for funding.
  • Indicate whether you are applying as a part-time or full-time student. Only full-time applications received by January 1 will be considered for funding.
  • Interested in the Manhattan Track? Type “Manhattan Track” in the “Specialization” line, but please note that funded students must spend their first year in Southampton and that we have a great deal of uncertainty about our Manhattan location. We cannot guarantee access to courses in New York City for the 2 1/2 to 5 years it takes to earn an MFA.
  • Even though the application will ask for it, you do not need GRE scores. 
  • Be prepared to upload the following:
    • A statement of purpose discussing your reasons for study, your evolution as a writer, and your reading life. This should be one to two pages, the length of a good letter.
    • A writing sample. Admission to the program is based primarily on the evaluation of your creative writing. Your sample may be in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, scriptwriting, or a combination of genres. Please send up to 10 pages of poetry, single-spaced, or 25 pages of prose, double-spaced, with your name on every page. Send your best work, and disabuse yourself of any requirement to submit the maximum number of pages if they are not all of equally high quality. Please prepare a cover sheet for your writing sample, listing your address, phone number, e-mail address, genre(s), and title(s) of your submission.
    • Contact information for three letters of recommendation from writers, professors or writing professionals who are familiar with your work. The application system will email them with a link and instructions to upload their letters. See below for dossier services and for recommenders who do not use email.
    • A résumé or C.V.
  • When you upload your materials, be aware that formatting can be altered and that high-resolution artwork may prove too large a file to upload. If this is an issue, send a hard copy of your writing sample directly to the MFA Program (address below).
  • If you are using Interfolio for your letters of recommendation, please have the dossier emailed to southamptonwriters@stonybrook.edu. If a recommender does not want to submit a letter online or doesn’t use email, you may print out a blank recommendation form for him or her to fill out and mail, along with his or her letter, directly to the program.
  • Finally, you will need to have an official transcript from any undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended. Electronic transcripts should be emailed to gradadmissions@stonybrook.edu. Hard copies should be sent to our program office:

MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literature
Chancellors Hall, Room 238
Stony Brook Southampton
239 Montauk Highway
Southampton, NY 11968
(631) 632-5030

  • If you are accepted and decide to matriculate here, we will ask for a second set of official transcripts in hard copy format. 

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Eligibility

Applicants to the Master of Fine Arts program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and, except in special circumstances, have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale. It’s fine to have an undergraduate degree in an area outside of the humanities. A candidate with outstanding promise in creative writing but a less-than-stellar academic transcript may be admitted on a conditional basis.

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Costs & Benefits

Tuition

As of Spring 2016, tuition is $453/credit for New York State residents and $925/credit for non-residents. A New York resident who takes a full-time load of three courses for 12 credits would pay $7,772 for the semester, inclusive of fees and health insurance. The second year full-time load of 9 credits would be $4,755. The Bursar has more detailed breakdowns of tuition scenarios. 

The cost compares favorably to any number of writing programs charging twice or three times as much, upward of $50,000 for a single year at some institutions. At ours, the whole MFA degree costs $27,000 for New Yorkers. Unless you are getting a full tuition waiver somewhere, our rates are pretty hard to beat.

Out-of-state residents pay more, so if you are accepted to the program, you should consider establishing residency in New York State, a process that takes one year.

Teaching Assistantships/Graduate Assistantships 

We award full and partial Graduate and Teaching Assistantships to full-time students applying for admission to the Fall term. Applications must be submitted by January 1. These are extremely competitive: in 2016-2017, a total of 6 first-year and 8 second-year students received partial or full funding.

A full TA/GA offer comes with an academic-year stipend of approximately $17,000, a 15-20 hour/week workload, full tuition waiver and subsidized health insurance. A partial TA/GA offer comes with a 50% tuition scholarship and academic-year stipend of approximately $8,500, as well as subsidized health insurance and an 8-10 hour/week workload. Students in good standing could expect to have their funding renewed for their second year, when they teach creative writing courses to Stony Brook undergraduates.

Recipients of funding offers who can contribute to the diversity of Stony Brook may be eligible for the Turner Fellowship. Those with outstanding academic promise may be eligible for the Graduate Council Fellowship. These fellowships award an additional $30,000 over the course of three years to their recipients. The cohorts entering our program in the fall of 2015 and 2016 have Turner Fellows among their cloudy trophies hung.

Other Financial Support

The Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize in Fiction, Jody Donahue Poetry Prize and Joseph Kelly Prize in Creative Writing are cash prizes of $500 each awarded to three incoming MFA in Creative Writing students of exceptional promise in fiction, poetry and/or creative nonfiction. All applicants, both full- and part-time, are eligible. Winners are chosen based on their application writing samples and will be notified in their acceptance letters.

From time to time, our program is able to raise additional funds that we can distribute to our deserving students in the form of prizes or scholarships for current students. All second-year students receive partial scholarships to the Southampton Writers Conference.

Qualified graduate students without TA/GA funding are encouraged and, in their second year, eligible to apply for teaching artist and administrative jobs as they arise. We regularly assign undergraduate creative writing courses to MFA students who have taken the Teaching Practicum or are otherwise qualified.  YAWP, our outreach to area middle and high schools, is another regular source of employment. 

To favor one incoming student over another, by awarding assistantships or prizes, runs counter to our philosophy that we are all in this together, faculty and students alike, struggling with the extraordinarily difficult work of putting words together. If you earn admission to our program, with funding or without, we guarantee that you will be treated with the same respect as any other member of our community.

Applicants are also encouraged to explore opportunities for external funding independent of our program's limited resources. For more information on other types of financial aid, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid Services at (631) 632-6840.  

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For More Information

The fine print about transfer credits, international students, and other admissions arcana is revealed in the Graduate Bulletin.

Or contact us:

MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literature
Chancellors Hall, Room 238
Stony Brook Southampton
239 Montauk Highway Southampton, NY 11968
Phone: (631) 632-5030
Fax: (631) 632-2576
E-mail: southamptonwriters@stonybrook.edu
Web: www.stonybrook.edu/mfa

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