Admission is highly selective; students will be accepted on the basis of manuscript samples and past educational experience in creative writing. Applications for the two annual admissions cycles are due on September 1st and February 1st. All application materials, including letters of recommendation and transcripts, must be postmarked by the application deadline for that admissions cycle, though later applications may be considered in exceptional cases or until all places are filled. If application material are late, and the class has been filled, we will hold that application for the next round of admissions.
Please consider applying early. It is not uncommon for transcripts to take six to eight weeks, and sometimes longer, to be sent out. Often in the summer it is difficult to get letters of recommendation, as many college faculty travel during the summer break. It is in your best interests to obtain these materials as early as possible. However, we do not consider early applications for early admission; your completed application will be considered at the same time as all other applications.
Incoming Stonecoast students may transfer one semester's work from another graduate creative writing program into the Stonecoast MFA program, with the approval of the Director. Students interested in transferring credit should mention this fact in their application and should include relevant transcripts.
For admission, please submit the following to:
Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412
Electronic transcripts and other application materials can be emailed to:
- The USM Graduate Admissions Application Forms. This form must be submitted electronically.
- A 1-2 page essay describing your writing background, your reasons for wanting to enroll in our MFA program, and your goals after graduation. This may be pasted in to the online application or mailed in separately with the writing sample.
- A sample of your writing (see guidelines below), clearly marked to indicate the genre in which you are applying: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry or Popular Fiction. Manuscripts will not be returned; do not send originals.
- Two copies of official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work.
- Three letters of recommendation, including at least one from a published writer. Each letter must be accompanied by a recommendation form: .http://www.usm.maine.edu/sites/default/files/Graduate Admissions/Ltr_of_Rec_Form.pdf Letters of recommendation should be included with the electronic application.
- A 500-750 word statement discussing the work of at least three writers in the genre in which you are applying who have influenced your own writing. This statement may involve close readings, critical analysis, and/or a more personal discussion of why and how you value these writers. Ideally, it should convey a sense of the literary heritage in which you situate your own work and of your skill as a reader.
- Application fee of $65.00 paid online.
GRE scores are not required. Please do not use any staples when submitting your application.
For Creative Nonfiction, submit a sample of memoir, personal essay, literary journalism, or longform narrative nonfiction of 20 pages or fewer. Creative Nonfiction for this program does not include book reviews, letters, short journalism features or job-related documents such as memos, legal briefs, etc. If you send an excerpt from a memoir, please include a brief synopsis of the entire work.
For Fiction, submit a short story or novel excerpt, maximum of 20 pages. If you choose to submit a novel excerpt, please include a short synopsis.
For Poetry, submit a maximum of ten poems.
For Popular Fiction, submit a piece of fantasy, horror, mystery, science fiction, romance, or thriller, maximum 20 pages. If you submit a novel excerpt, please include a brief synopsis.
All writing samples should be double-spaced, with 1 inch margins, in 12 point font. You may submit as many short pieces of Fiction, Popular Fiction or Creative Nonfiction as you like, provided that they do not exceed the 20 page limit.
Students and faculty must have Internet capabilities on home computers in order to participate in Web-based workshops and conferences. In addition, all Stonecoat MFA students must use their usm.maine.edu email address while enrolled in Stonecoast MFA, as all communication from University of Southern Maine will be sent to that address. Stonecoast also has a Blackboard community, where we post community documents, host chat forums, and maintain a calendar of important program deadlines.
University of Southern Maine
The University of Southern Maine, with campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, has gained a national reputation for the breadth and quality of programs that serve the population center of the state. Over 4,800 students attend classes during the summer and the academic year enrollment is over 11,000. Approximately 2,000 students are graduate students.
Current tuition for students entering the Stonecoast MFA program is $5,988.00 per semester, plus USM's Unified Fee. Tuition is subject to change without notice; however we will post information about tuition changes as soon as it is available. If you have any questions about tuition, fees, and student billing, please contact USM Student Billing.
To be considered for financial aid, the University of Southern Maine requires students to complete a FAFSA form. The priority deadline for filing the FAFSA form is February 15. For financial aid information and applications, visit the Office of Financial Aid website at www.usm.maine.edu/fin.
A small number of partial scholarships are available each year. We encourage all qualifying applicants to apply.
Stonecoast MFA Scholarship Opportunities
Maine Resident (available to Maine residents only): In an essay of up to 500 words, explain how Maine has influenced your writing and/or how your writing might contribute to the culture of Maine. Applicants will be evaluated on the quality of the writing, applicability to specific goals of the scholarship, and/or the student's financial need.
Cultural Diversity: In an essay of up to 500 words, explore how living in a culturally or ethnically diverse environment has affected your writing and/or how your writing might enhance awareness of cultural or ethnic diversity. Applicants will be evaluated on the quality of the writing, applicability to specific goals of the scholarship, and/or the student's financial need.
Social Action: In an essay of up to 500 words, describe a specific writing project you plan to work on at Stonecoast and explain how your project will contribute creatively to positive social change. Applicants will be evaluated on the quality of the writing, applicability to specific goals of the scholarship, and/or the student's financial need.
Academic Merit: In an essay of up to 500 words, discuss how your writing relates to the traditions and conventions of your genre and/or how your work might change or contribute to the genre. Applicants will be evaluated on the quality of the writing, applicability to specific goals of the scholarship, and/or the student's financial need.
Materials must be postmarked by April 1, 2014
We do not accept electronic materials. Please send your completed Stonecoast MFA Scholarship Application to:
University of Southern Maine
Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing
Attention: Scholarship Committee
PO Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104
Guidelines and Information:
You must submit your completed Stonecoast MFA Scholarship Application and writing materials by April 1, 2015.
When you complete the application process, a committee will read and evaluate the quality of the writing, applicability to specific goals of the scholarships, and/or the student's financial need.
Students are selected for these scholarships solely upon the criteria developed by the committee in accordance to University of Southern Maine policies. However, if you receive financial aid, Federal regulations require the University to include any scholarships received into your financial aid package.
Scholarship recipients will receive an award letter.
The University of Southern Maine confirms its commitment to recognize and reward students' achievements both inside and outside the program.
For More Information
Stonecoast MFA applications go through the Graduate Office of the University of Southern Maine. The graduate office will be processing your application, so if you have questions about the application process or about the status of your application BEFORE the deadline date, please contact USM Graduate Admissions at (207) 780-4386. With special questions, you may contact Associate Director of Graduate Admissions Lisa Sweet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Stonecoast MFA staff are also happy to talk with you at any time to address your questions. For questions about the status of your application AFTER the deadline date, please contact Robin Talbot at email@example.com. If you have questions about the distinctive academic character of Stonecoast, or if academic questions or general academic issues affect your application, you may contact the Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.