Frequently Asked Questions of the UNCG MFA Program

Below is a list of frequently-asked questions about UNCG’s M.F.A. Writing Program. If you have a question not on the list below, please submit it to the associate director.

Select a Question:

What type of student funding is offered?

Graduate Assistantships are available to most committed students. A GA’s duties might include working in The University Writing Center, The Digital ACT Studio, helping organize conferences and events, assisting in the production of English Department publications, or light office work. The stipend is $12,000 for nine months. Applicants holding a master’s degree in English may seek Teaching Assistantships. In  the first year, TAs teach one section of composition each semester and tutor in the University Writing Center. The second year, they teach three sections over the academic year. Students without an MA may seek a TA their second year. Out-of-state and in-state tuition waivers often accompany assistantships awarded to students. All applicants are considered for the Randall Jarrell and Fred Chappell fellowships. The MFA Program at Greensboro is committed to full-funding. However, we generally do not know the exact number of fully-funded slots for the incoming class until April.

How many applicants are accepted each year?

We expect to accept 5 to 7 students in each area–poetry and fiction–but this may vary in a given year, depending upon the applicant pool, range of genre interest, acceptance rates in the year before, and funding levels.

On what do you base admission?

The primary emphasis is on your writing sample, which is reviewed by all faculty members in your genre. Be certain to include writing that you not only feel is your best, but also representative of the kind of writing that you want to continue pursuing here. We aren’t looking for any particular aesthetic; instead, we’re looking for serious writers who have made their own artistic commitments and are ready to work rigorously to advance them.

What is the curriculum?

6 to 8 writing courses (including workshop courses for poetry or fiction and tutorials in writing where students work on-on-one with a member of the faculty); 2 structure courses (all students take both the Structure of Fiction and the Structure of Verse); 2 elective academic courses (English courses or other graduate level courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences); thesis. A minimum of 48 credit hours are required for the degree.

How long will it take to complete the program?

The program is completed in two years.

If I have a master’s degree or PhD, do I need to re-take the GRE?

If your GRE scores are over 5 years old, you will need to submit new scores.

What is it like to live in Greensboro?

Greensboro (population 273,000) is situated in the North Carolina Piedmont just hours away from both the mountains and the coast. It is North Carolina’s third largest city and home to five different universities and colleges. Downtown Greensboro is vibrant urban center that serves the region as a center for commerce, culture and connectivity. With its mix of shops, restaurants, offices, museums, festivals, parks, architecture and growing residential enclaves, downtown brings people together from all walks of life for a wide range of activities.

Are there any student publications?

For nearly fifty years, the MFA Writing Program has published The Greensboro Review. Works from the journal are consistently anthologized or cited in Pushcart Prize, The Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and other collections honoring the finest new writing. MFA students serve as fiction and poetry editors of the publication.

Tell me about the Visiting Writers Series.

Each year the faculty invites writers and editors to visit the campus for readings, workshops, and one-on-one tutorials with MFA students. They bring unique voices and a variety of experience to the writing community. Guests have included winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Rome Prize, and the PEN/Hemingway Award, among other honors. Recent guests include Chris Abani, David Baker, Ross Gay, Kelly Link, and Eileen Myles.

Tell me about the opportunities MFA students have with Write-on-Greensboro

Write-on-Greensboro is a public outreach program that runs a series of creative writing workshops for children, the elderly, and other at at-risk communities in the area. MFA students coordinate the schedule each year and serve as workshop leaders.

How do I apply?

See Admissions & Assistantships.

Have a question?

We’re happy to answer it.  Please contact us.