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Frequently asked questions about the MFA Program in Writing.


Can I apply to the MFA program if I have an advanced academic degree?
Yes. University policy prohibits duplication of advanced academic degrees (M.A., M.S., Ph.D.) but a professional degree at the Master's or doctoral level, e.g. an M.F.A., Au.D., D.M.A., Ed.D., M.A.S., M.B.A., M.Ed.,M.Eng.,M.I.A., M.P.I.A., M.D. or Pharm.D., is not regarded as a duplicate of an academic degree.

I completed a three-year bachelor's degree program at a foreign university—is it equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's for admission purposes?
The general rule is that international applicants must have a bachelor’s degree that represents four years of study or else a master’s degree; however, academic records from foreign universities will be evaluated on an individual basis. Please read the general guidelines found at the bottom of the OGS webpage, International Academic Records to help you determine if your academic background is adequate for application to graduate studies at UC San Diego.

Program Information

Can I visit campus and speak to the faculty and students?
You are welcome to visit campus, meet with the graduate coordinator (by appointment), and attend the New Writing Series, where you will meet MFA faculty and students. Sorry, we do not allow classroom visits.

Can I transfer graduate credit I earned at another university?
Transfer credit requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The general rule is that students may petition to transfer up to 8 quarter units of relevant graduate credit that has not been used for another degree.


I applied last year; do I have to resubmit my transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other documents?
Yes. The documentation must be resubmitted.

What do I do if I encounter a technological problem while completing the online application?
If you haven't done so already, please update your OS patches and antivirus software; download and use the latest version of Firefox or Chrome; add GradApply to your security software's list of trusted websites; clear cookies from previous sessions; and allow pop-ups. (Tip: Sometimes links in the online application open in a new window behind other open windows.) If the problem persists, please click the Help link in GradApply and describe the problem, or email a detailed message to the MFA Program (mfawriting@ucsd.edu) for forwarding to the helpdesk. Describe the action you were trying to perform, the page or section you were working on, and the error message you received; also, please attach a screenshot if possible.

What do I do if I have a question about how to fill out the online application?
Please email your question to the MFA's graduate coordinator at mfawriting@ucsd.edu.

Can a colleague or employer provide a letter of recommendation?
We prefer letters of recommendation from people who are qualified to speak about your academic performance and preparation for graduate study, or your creative writing.

Will my application be considered if I can't provide the minimum number of recommendations?
All submitted applications will be reviewed. If you anticipate that you may not be able to provide the number of recommendations requested, please briefly say why in your statement of purpose.

To whom should the letters of recommendation be addressed?
Letters can be addressed To Whom It May Concern, to the MFA Admissions Committee, or to the Director of the MFA Program.

Does the program accept letters of recommendation submitted by a dossier service?
We accept letters from recognized services such as Interfolio. The dossier service must mail or email the letters to the MFA Program office.

What changes can I make to my application after I submit it?
You may log in to GradApply to update your contact information, add recommenders or send them reminders.

I missed the application deadline; will you put my name on a stand-by list to be considered if you still have spaces after you admit all qualified applicants?
Sorry, we do not accept applications after the deadline has passed. Please apply next year.


How much time do I have to accept or decline your offer of admission?
The deadline to accept or decline an offer of admission is April 15.

Does the MFA Program keep a waitlist?
We may keep a waitlist if we have more qualified applicants than we can admit. The waitlist will be dissolved (candidates will admitted or denied) by April 30.

If I'm denied admission, will you tell me why and what I can do to improve my chances next year?
Sorry; no. The evaluations and deliberations of the admissions review committee are confidential.

If I'm admitted but can't start school in the fall, can I defer to next year?
The MFA Program does not allow deferrals. Please reapply next year.

Can I enroll in MFA workshops through UCSD's non-degree, concurrent enrollment program?
Sorry; no. The MFA Program in Writing does not allow concurrent enrollment in its workshops.


What does the MFA Program consider to be "full" funding?
Full funding is roughly equivalent to a 9-month appointment as a TA or Reader at 25% time, which offers partial remissions of regular tuition/fees plus a salary. (Note: Nonresident supplemental tuition is not subject to remissions).

What percentage of MFA students obtain full funding?
During the program's first three years (Fall 2009 to Spring 2012), all students obtained a 25% TAship/Readership or better every quarter, with the majority employed as TAs at 50% time. As of June 2012, 90% of new and continuing students had secured full funding or better for the 2012/2013 academic year.

If admitted, when will I receive information about funding?
Applicants who are nominated for admission receive a letter from the MFA Program that provides preliminary information about funding. The letter describes the types of funding for which the nominee is eligible and the additional steps he/she must take to obtain it. The 'additional steps' vary according to the type and source of funding. Some funding offers can be secured by accepting admission, while others require that the nominee submit applications and participate in interviews (Writing Program TAships) or wait for a campus committee to review their application and make a decision (Tribal fellowships).

The timeline for securing an offer also varies according to the type of funding. San Diego and Tribal Membership fellowships are announced in February or March. Most TAs and Readers are hired in May or September. MFA Program funding is generally announced in February but may be awarded or augmented as late as September. Need-based financial aid is announced during the summer.

I don't have teaching experience, is training available?
The college writing programs provide training for their TAs, and Literature instructors provide guidance and supervision to their TAs. All graduate students are strongly encouraged to seek free training from the Center for Teaching Development.

How do I apply for a TAship or Readership?
The MFA graduate coordinator will provide tips and instructions to admitted students.

2014 Admissions

Application Period
Sep.1 - Dec.2, 2013 only

Deadline to Apply
Dec. 2 @11:59pm Pacific

Applicants Notified
February 2014

Program Begins
September 2014

Start here.


The MFA Program does not require the Graduate Record Examination.