M.F.A. Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the MFA in Creative Writing must submit the following items to the English Department c/o Alan Soldofsky, MFA Director.   Applicants must also apply for admission to San Jose State University via CSU Mentor, and order a second copy of transcripts to be sent to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluation office (GAPE). Both the departmental and CSU Mentor application must be sent no later than March 1 (postmark deadline). Incomplete applications cannot be considered for admission.

1. Portfolio

  • 10-15 pages of poetry (single-spaced), or
  • Two short stories or excerpt from novel (double-spaced), or
  • Two short essays of creative nonfiction (double-spaced), or
  • A complete short play script or screenplay, or an excerpt for a full length play script or screenplay (20 - 60 pages)

(Please note: Applicants are welcome to submit portfolios containing more than one genre.)

2. Statement of Purpose: You should write an essay (no more than 750 words) including an introduction of yourself and your goals in pursuing the MFA degree in Creative Writing. This essay is a crucial portion of your application package, and one of our main sources of information about you.

3. Three letters of recommendation: Your letters of recommendation should come from current or former professors, editors, or individuals who can comment on your academic work and creative potential. Letters should be written on faculty or professional letterhead.

4. Official Transcripts: Please send one copy of your official transcripts of all your undergraduate and/or graduate course work directly to the Office of Graduate Studies; and send another copy to the MFA program offices directly.

  • c/o Alan Soldofsky, MFA director
    English Department
    San Jose State University
    One Washington Square
    San Jose, CA 95192-0090

Submit transcripts from ALL schools attended (even if you did not get your degree). All transcripts must be sealed and unopened in order to be accepted as official documents.

5. Credits in Related Field: Applicants must have an undergraduate major or minor in English or Creative Writing, or a minimum of 24 credit hours in literature and/or creative writing, with a grade point average of 3.0 or above.

6. Graduate School Application: Like most universities, you must apply for admission as a graduate student when you apply to the Creative Writing Program. Failure to complete this application can delay acceptance. GRE scores are not required for admission to the Creative Writing Program; however, students with promising portfolios and grade point averages below the 3.0 minimum may be required to provide GRE scores.

We prefer that you include all recommendation letters and transcripts in the application package sent to the English Department office.  Letters and transcripts will be accepted if mailed separately, but all supporting documents must be received by March 15.  


Fulfillment of the above constitutes the minimum requirements and does not guarantee admission to the Creative Writing Program. In general, we are seeking candidates who show an artistic commitment and literary promise in their writing. The most important factor in evaluating applicants is the quality and potential of the portfolio. With this in mind, applicants should take great care in preparing a manuscript, which represents the writer's finest work.