city view at night
streetcar on market
flowers at Kalmanovitz
Shurin and Brady
Kalmanovitz front door
girl with braids
reading series speaker
MFA students and Kate Brady

How to Apply

Apply Online for Fall Admission!

The MFA in Writing program starts each Fall. Applications for fall admission must be submitted by January 15. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application items early; late applications are not accepted. Review of applications for admission begins after January 15.

Required Application Items

  • First Step: Start your application online by clicking the "Apply Online Now" link above where you will be asked to set up a user name and password for this application. Fill out the required fields and upload all required documents prior to submission of your application. You will be able to scan and upload all of your application items to your USF online application. Please ensure that your scanned documents are easy to read and printable.
  • Writing Sample - The writing sample, the most heavily weighted component of the application, should comprise no more than 20 pages of writing in the genre in which you are applying (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry). Please indicate the genre on the first page of the writing sample. The writing sample should include original work that demonstrates your talents and interests as a writer. It should not include collaborative assignments, such as edited pieces for newspapers, because these might not accurately represent your own work. Prose should be double-spaced, and all writing samples should be set in 12 pt. type.
  • Statement of Purpose - In no more than three pages, tell us about your writing—the kinds of subjects or themes you're drawn to, writers or movements you've found influential, your strengths and weaknesses, or anything else that might give us a sense of your work. Explain how your writing sample gives evidence of your interests and aims as a writer. Please discuss your goals for your writing during your time as an MFA student, and tell us why you are interested in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco. The statement should be double-spaced and set in 12 pt. type.
  • Transcripts - Applicants must hold a Bachelor's degree in any major from an accredited institution. An unofficial transcript from each accredited college or university attended should be uploaded to the application. You should have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7. (Accepted students will be asked to provide an official transcript before enrolling.)
  • Letters of recommendation - Academic and/or professional letters are required from two individuals who can attest to your competence and ability to succeed in the Writing program. Have their names and email addresses ready to enter into your application. You do not need to wait until you submit your application to notify your recommenders online. If necessary, you can log in and send them a reminder email to complete the recommendation. 
  • Résumé - Your resume includes work and life experience, outside interests, and any writing, published or unpublished, that you would like the admissions committee to know about.
  • International applicants - The completed and signed Certification of Finance (with bank statements) and official TOEFL scores are required for international applicants to be considered for admission. For further instructions see

Tests and GPA Requirements

The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is not required for this graduate program.

An official TOEFL score is required of international applicants. The minimum TOEFL score required is 79 (internet-based). The TOEFL code for USF is 4850.

A minimum overall GPA (grade point average) of 2.7 is required.

Application Status

Please log back into the online application system frequently to check your application status and ensure pending items have been received after you submit your application. Applications are not considered complete until all required items have been received. Your application status will reflect whether you are complete, pending review, under review or if any additional items are required online. 

If you have questions about your application status after checking the online application site; please contact the Office of Graduate Programs, not the MFA in Writing Program.

Notification of Admission Decision

The review of applications begins after January 15. Applicants are notified beginning in early February through late April.

Applicants are sent decision letters by mail to the addresses listed on their application. If you have questions regarding your admission status, please do not contact the MFA office until April.

Financial Aid Application

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for a U.S. federal student loan at

All U.S. students who have not defaulted on a previous federal student loan are eligible for $20,500 each year for graduate studies. Students can accept all or any part of this amount (students indicate amount on the "financial aid award letter") during the federal student loan application process. For more financial aid information, please visit Financial Aid/Tuition.

Registration, Orientation, and Start of Classes

Admitted students will be contacted by the MFA in Writing Program regarding registration, orientation, and start of classes in the fall of each year. The program can be contacted at 415.422.6066 or at All new students begin with a required weekend orientation in mid-August before the start of the fall semester.

International Students

International students are highly recommended to arrive at USF at least 10 days before the first day of classes in order to finalize housing arrangements and attend a required International Student Orientation.

International students should note that the earliest arrival in the United States that an F-1 visa allows is 30 days before the start date on the I-20 form issued to you.

International students must contact the Office of International Student Services at or by phone at 415.422.2654 for details about the required orientation when arriving on campus. The Office of International Student Services is a very helpful resource for concerns and questions of international students.