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Nonfiction Writing (MFA in English)

The MFA in English with a focus in nonfiction writing is awarded by the Graduate College.

Admission Requirements 

Applicants must meet the Admission Requirements of the Graduate College and the department offering the degree program (review the Nonfiction Writing Program Website or the General Catalog for departmental requirements).

Estimated Cost of Attendance

Tuition and fees vary by degree program and the type of student you are.

Application Deadlines 

  • Fall Semester—Must be postmarked by December 15
  • Spring Semester—not offered
  • Summer Session—not offered

Application Procedures 

The graduate application process has two steps

  • Submit the online application to the Graduate College and pay the $60 application fee by credit card ($100 for international applicants).
  • Submit supplemental materials required by your degree program. A few programs require materials be sent directly to them. However, almost all supplemental material can and should be uploaded from your Admissions Profile on ISIS, our online service center for applicants and students.

Degree Program Supplemental Materials

  • A statement of purpose (no more than 500 words) explaining your reasons for choosing this degree program
  • A 20- to 30-page writing sample representing any form of literary nonfiction, such as a personal essay, cultural commentary, in-depth portrait, interview, memoir, or feature story
    • Your writing sample may consist of a single 20-30 page piece of writing, a collection of shorter pieces, or an excerpt from a longer piece.
    • Submissions should be double-spaced with a one-inch margin in 10- to 12-point font and should include your name on each page.
  • The NWP Online Application, including:
    • A plain-text version of your statement of purpose, copied and pasted into the application form
    • A .doc, .rtf, or .pdf file of your writing sample, combining multiple pieces of writing (when applicable) into one document
  • An Application for Graduate Awards
  • An NWP Financial Aid Application
  • NOTE: The Nonfiction Writing Program does not require GRE scores. However, exceptionally high GRE scores may help us secure funding for an applicant after we have decided to admit him or her. (The university's institutional code is 6681; the English department’s code is 2501.)

Recommendations

The application requirement section of your Profile includes an electronic letter of recommendation feature. If your program of study requires letters of recommendation, you will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders including their email on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email giving them instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.

  • Three letters of recommendation

Materials to send to Admissions

  • A set of your official academic records/transcripts from all post-secondary institutions, in addition to the set for the Department of English (current and former UI students do not need to provide UI transcripts)
  • International students must satisfy the university's English-language proficiency requirement by sending their official TOEFL scores (the university's institutional code on the TOEFL is 6681; the English department's code is 2501).
  • Once recommended for admission, international students must send a Financial Statement.

Apply 

Apply Online, the $60 application fee ($100 for international students) is payable by Discover, MasterCard, or Visa.

Contact Information 

Office of Graduate Studies (Nonfiction)
Department of English
The University of Iowa
308 English-Philosophy Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
cherie-rieskamp@uiowa.edu
319-335-0440

Office of Admissions
The University of Iowa
107 Calvin Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1396
admissions@uiowa.edu
319-335-1525