NWP Admissions FAQ - Fall 2022

General Information

When is the application deadline?

Your ApplyTexas online application form and supporting application materials must be submitted by December 3rd, 2021 at 11:59 pm CST. There is a two-week grace period for receiving letters of recommendation.

Please note that it can take up to 3 days after submitting the ApplyTexas application to receive access to MyStatus, where you will be able to upload supporting documents. For this reason, we recommend submitting your ApplyTexas application at least a week in advance of the deadline. 

How early can I apply and submit my application materials? 

ApplyTexas will open the Fall 2021 application on August 15th. After you submit your online application form and pay your application fee, you will receive an email with your UT Austin credentials. Once you receive this email, you will be able to upload your application materials in MyStatus.

Will you let me know if something of importance is missing from my file?

No. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we cannot confirm the receipt of nor manage your application materials. You are responsible for ensuring all applications materials are submitted by their respective deadlines. This is accomplished via your MyStatus "To-Do List."

When will I hear an admission decision?

We typically respond to applications by March 15th.


Applying to New Writers Project and Michener Center for Writers: 

Do I need to submit separate applications, writing samples, and statements of purpose for the two programs?

Yes. The two MFA programs’ admissions processes are completely separate. Applicants are to submit an ApplyTexas application for each program (note that you do not need to pay the admissions fee twice—see the next question). Upon logging into MyStatus, applicants should submit separate writing samples and personal statements for each program. Be sure to include the program name (NWP or MCW) in the header and file name of all supplemental materials to ensure your documents are given to the intended admissions committee.

Do I need to pay the application fee twice? 

No. When submitting your second ApplyTexas application, select the option that says, “I will pay The University of Texas at Austin directly, outside of ApplyTexas.” Once the second application has processed, the graduate school will automatically waive the application fee.

When I log in to MyStatus, the two applications are listed as “Creative Writing” and “Writing.” Which is which? 

“Creative Writing” is the New Writers Project application. “Writing” is the Michener Center for Writers application.

Should I include unique writing samples and personal statements for each program, or can I submit the same documents for the two programs?

The two MFA programs’ admissions processes are completely separate. The content of your writing sample and statement of purpose is up to you. The New Writers Project is interested in what you consider your best work, why you wish to study in our program, and/or which faculty you are most excited to work with. 

I just uploaded a document to one of my applications in MyStatus and it looks like it posted to both programs. What do I do?

While MyStatus may show your documents on both applications, you still need to upload separate documents for each program using the Document Upload System (accessed in the right-hand menu of MyStatus). Be sure to include the program name (NWP or MCW) in the header and file name of all supplemental materials to ensure your documents are given to the intended admissions committee.


Test Scores

Is there a requirement for a general GRE or Subject Test score?

No, the New Writer’s Project does not require GRE scores. 

Can the New Writer’s Project grant an English Proficiency Test Score waiver if I have an expired TOEFL/IELTS and/or another English proficiency test?

No. GIAC certifies all test scores independently of the Department of English. If you have questions about the validity of your TOEFL/IELTS, please write to giatest@austin.utexas.edu.



(Please visit the Graduate School's Graduate Admission website for more information re: transcripts. For specific questions about transcripts, please contact gradtranscript@austin.utexas.edu).

Do I need transcripts from schools that are not four-year colleges?

Can I have my transcripts sent directly to GIAC from my institution(s)?

Only if your college or university uses the electronic SPEEDE or Parchment delivery service. Please do not mail official transcripts or paper copies of your transcripts before you are offered admission. Sending paper copies of documents will significantly delay the processing of your application.


Writing Sample

What makes for a competitive writing sample?

Our admissions committees are looking for nothing in particular--except writing that is particular. We favor no style or school or tradition; we read with open minds to find work and writers who excite us. Submit the work you most believe in and that you consider finished. We're interested in a diversity of perspectives and approaches. 

Can I submit a longer Writing Sample?

No. Please adhere to the length guidelines listed on our application guidelines.

Can my writing sample be previously published? Should it be previously published?

Your writing sample can be published or unpublished work. Whether or not it has been published will not affect the admissions committee's decision.

If I am applying in fiction, can I submit multiple short stories or a combination of short stories and novel excerpts?

Yes, as long as your writing sample adheres to the set length guidelines.


Statement of Purpose

What should I include in my statement of purpose?

No two writers are the same, and no two personal statements should be. Your statement of purpose should give us some idea of you as a person and a writer and why you're interested in pursuing an MFA. You can talk about published work that has been meaningful to you or life experiences that have had an effect on your own writing. We're not looking for formal or academic writing. Don't take general advice from the internet about "good" statements of purpose: we want to hear about you, particularly.

Should I submit my Statement of Purpose to “Apply Texas” or as a separate document?

Please type “See Attached Statement of Purpose” in the ApplyTexas application and upload your Statement of Purpose with your other documents via MyStatus.


Letters of Recommendation

Must I have three recommendation letters or is two acceptable?

Applicants will be at a disadvantage with only two letters of recommendation. 

Can I have more than three letters of recommendation?

It is highly discouraged. Evaluators spend a great deal of time reviewing all supporting materials of your application packet. More letters of recommendation could be interpreted as a lack of confidence. It is better to choose three strong recommenders than four adequate ones.

Does the program accept mailed recommendation letters or letters from Interfolio?

No. Your recommenders must submit their letter of recommendation via the email invitation sent to them from the Graduate School.

What should I do if one of my recommenders has not received their email invitation to submit their letter of recommendation?

You can resend the invitation email via MyStatus. Click on the "Manage your recommendation requests" link in your "To-Do List" and follow the prompts to resend the email.

One of my recommenders will not be able to submit a letter on my behalf. Can I ask someone else to submit a letter instead? 

Yes. You can edit your recommenders in MyStatus. Click on the "Manage your recommendation requests" link in your "To-Do List" to add a new recommender.


Course Work and Major 

Must I have been an English major to get into the M.F.A. program?


Should I report my overall GPA or my GPA in English courses?

We are more concerned with your GPA in English (and related) courses.

Can I apply even though I have not yet graduated with my B.A.?

Yes—but you will be required to present evidence of your graduation before you join our program the following fall.


Application Procedures

Do I need to apply for a teaching assistantship (TA) or fellowship as part of my application?

No. All admitted students receive funding, which includes a mix of teaching assignments and fellowships.

Will I be disqualified from consideration if some of my materials have not arrived by December 3rd?

No—but only if you have properly submitted all the materials reasonably under your control (e.g., personal statement, writing sample, etc.).  We offer a two-week grace period for receiving letters of recommendation.

Can I have the application fee waived?

The department does not provide fee waivers directly. However, students who qualify can request a fee waiver from the Graduate and International Admissions Center. Please visit the Graduate School's website for more information. The information is listed under the section titled "Fee Waivers."



Do I need to take any particular courses to help my admission chances before I apply?


Is there an optimal age for a beginning graduate student?


Can students over 30 apply?


Does the program have an interviewing process, and if so, is it advantageous to visit UT for an interview?




If the FAQ page has not answered your questions, please contact our admissions coordinator, Blake Lee Pate (blake.lee.pate@austin.utexas.edu).


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  • New Writers Project

    Department of English
    204 W 21st Street B5000
    Austin, Texas, 78712-1164
    (512) 471-4991