Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing is a graduate program in creative writing offered at the University of Southern Maine. It is a low-residency program founded in 2002 and became popular around 2010.
Ever since, it has been one of the most-sought graduate programs at the University of Southern Maine, Portland, United States. The program focuses on four major genres, including;
- Creative nonfiction
- Poetry, and
- Popular fiction
In addition, other areas are considered elective options along with the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing. The elective options span various areas of student interest like;
- Writing nature
- Cross-genre writing
- Writing for stage and screen
- Performance, and
- Literary translation
If you are interested in the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing, you should have enough knowledge about its acceptance rate, admission requirements, and how to go about your application. This article will touch on every important detail.
What is Stonecoast’s MFA Acceptance Rate?
As many interested applicants know, admission to Stonecoast MFA is highly selective. That is, the acceptance rate is relatively low. However, there is no fixed acceptance rate for the Stonecoast MFA program.
Every year, Stonecoast enrols a rounded figure of 100 students in its four major genres. No matter the number of applications it receives for that year, the number of students accepted will be approximately one hundred.
The Stonecoast MFA Program is now popular; hence the number of applications keeps increasing every admission year. To maintain a balance in each of the genres, admitted students are estimated to be 100.
If you wish to be among the lucky students that will get accepted to the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing, you need to meet up with the admission requirements and beat other applicants at it.
How does Admission work at Stonecoast MFA?
As I mentioned earlier, the creative writing at Stonecoast MFA is a graduate program, which is also one of the reasons for its low acceptance rate. Admission is highly selective; therefore, applicants must meet up with requirements before they can be selected.
The basis for admission is manuscript samples and past educational experience in creative writing. You will be asked to provide the necessary proof for these. Once you submit your application, it will be reviewed during two annual admission cycles.
These two cycles depend on when the student starts their MFA program. The first review cycle begins in late February, and successful applicants are to resume the program during the summer residency/fall semester.
On the other hand, the second review cycle begins in late August, and successful applicants are expected to start their MFA during the winter residency/spring semester. However, the key to a successful application is submitting your materials early.
While sending in your application, you will be asked to provide documents like transcripts which might take a long time to obtain. To prevent any delay, it is advised that you get this and any other important material ready as soon as possible.
What if I don’t have all my materials ready?
It is most likely that any applicant who has not gotten all their materials ready will wait before completing the online portion of their application. However, this is not advised as it might delay your admission process.
Instead of waiting for all your materials to be ready, submit the ones already available. Other materials, like supporting materials, can be submitted after completing the online form. Let’s have a look at the admission requirements.
Materials needed for Admission to Stonecoast MFA
Before your application to the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine can be considered valid, you need to submit some materials in the application. These materials include;
USM graduate admissions applications forms:
This is the most important material for admission into the Stonecoast MFA program. You need to fill in the necessary information in the form and submit it electronically when you are done.
1-2 page essay:
You do not need to write much; all you need to do is draft and create a 1-2 page essay on important areas of your education. The essay must include a brief description of your writing background, the reasons you wish to enroll in the MFA program, and the goals you have after graduation.
You can attach the essay to the online form while submitting it. However, it is most preferred that you send the essay as a separate pdf document. The email should be sent to [email protected].
Your writing sample:
Another material that must be included with your application is a sample of your writing. However, you should clearly indicate the genre you are applying while sending your writing sample. Choose a genre from the four I mentioned earlier.
Your application will be considered incomplete without your official transcript. The official transcripts will include those of all previous undergraduate and graduate work. It is important that you send electronic and hard copies of your transcripts.
Two letters of recommendation:
In addition, you have to provide two letters of recommendation. However, one of the two letters must come from a published writer. Also, have in mind that both letters must be accompanied by recommendation forms.
Once you fill in and complete your application, a copy of the recommendation form will be sent to the two references you must have listed. The form will also include instructions on how they can submit the form for you.
A 500-750 word personal statement:
Of course, the school wants to hear from you too. In this statement, you will discuss the work of a minimum of three writers whose skills and techniques have influenced your writing style in your genre of interest.
In addition, you might include close readings, critical analysis, and personal reasons you value these writers and hold them in high regard in the statement. Basically, the statement should portray a sense of literary heritage.
How much is the Stonecoast MFA application?
You might have heard in other places that you have to pay a specific amount in order to process your Stonecoast MFA application. If you have come across any of that before, let me point out to you that it is all false.
Application to the Stonecoast MFA program in creative writing is absolutely free. You are not required to pay any amount to purchase and obtain the application form or to submit your materials. Every service offered for your application is free.
Addresses to submit application materials
Depending on how you wish to submit your materials, it is important that you know the addresses to send them to. Of course, there are some materials that you have to submit both electronically and as hard copies.
For electronic transcripts;
Send the transcripts and other supporting materials by email to [email protected]. It is important that you send these materials as pdf attachments.
For hard copied materials:
Forward the transcripts and materials to;
Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412
Other things to note while submitting your application
Aside from the materials mentioned above, there is a list of other things you must consider before submitting your Stonecoast MFA program application. Although they might look small, these points are very important.
If you are submitting any hard copies for your application, you mustn’t use any staples. Using staples on your application might render it invalid when received. Also, GRE scores are not required in the application.
Although the applicant might choose to include the scores in their application, it is not considered when offering admissions. Another important thing to put in mind is the writing samples which will depend on the genre you are applying.
For Creative Nonfiction, you must submit a sample personal essay, memoir, or literary journalism of a maximum of 20 pages. The writing sample for this program does not include book reviews, letters, memos, legal briefs, etc.
For Poetry, you have to submit a maximum of ten poems. For Fiction, applications are to write and submit a short story or novel excerpt, which should be a maximum of 20 pages. If you are submitting a novel excerpt, do well to include a short synopsis.
Lastly, for Popular Fiction, you should create and submit a piece of romance, thriller, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc., which must not be more than 20 pages.
How much is Stonecoast MFA tuition?
Contrary to the opinion of many, the Stonecoast MFA program is quite affordable. On average, the tuition ranges between $8,000 and $9,000 per semester for local and international students. The tuition also includes USM’s Unified Fee.
Once you have completely filled out the online portion of the application, you can proceed to submit it. After submission, the University’s Office of Admissions will send a confirmation letter to each applicant. The letter will include an ID number and an account activation code.
When you receive this, you need to activate your account using the code. After account activation, applicants can track the progress of their application on their account and receive first-hand news.