The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree at Warren Wilson College represents the study of literature from the writer's perspective.  Founded in 1976 by Ellen Bryant Voigt, as the first low-residency MFA program in the country, the MFA Program for Writers puts the student at the center of both the curriculum and institutional structure and assists them—through the variety of lectures, classes, seminars and workshops during residency and the reading, analytical components, and extensive exchanges with a faculty mentor during each semester project—in their education and development as writers. 

All applicants will receive a response from the program within a month of the application deadline.  Applicants who are not accepted are welcome to reapply. Please contact the office if you have questions or wish more information.

Beginning in fall 2019, the MFA Program for Writers is pleased to also offer the Holden Residency Scholarship. This residency-only scholarship for a non-degree student of color, supported by the Holden Fund for Diversity, covers tuition and fees for participation in a single residency.  


                            Application Requirements for the MFA Program for Writers

  • Application fee: $75, or $110 if applying in both genres.  (Payable online via Submittable)

Please note that while you may apply in both genres, if you are accepted in both genres, you must choose only one course of study.

  • Application form
  • Application manuscript (in Word or PDF format)

Poetry: 10 pages maximum, no more than one poem per page

Fiction: 25 pages (double-spaced) maximum

  • Personal essay (3-4 pages, double-spaced, Word or PDF format)

The essay should address your preparation in the study of creative writing and literature, additional experiences that seem particularly relevant to this application, the strengths and weaknesses of your writing, and your goals for your two years of degree study.

  • Critical analysis (3-4 pages, double-spaced, Word or PDF format)

This brief essay should examine an aspect of craft in a poem, if applying in poetry, or in a story or novel if applying in fiction. If applying in both genres, please submit a craft essay for each.

  • 2 letters of recommendation

References will receive an email directly from Submittable with questions and instructions to submit their letters to the Program. A third letter is allowed but optional.

  • Transcripts from each college or university you have attended.

Unofficial transcripts are acceptable at the application stage; upon acceptance, you will be required to submit official transcripts.

  • Financial Aid

Any student interested in receiving financial aid must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the deadline date. All grants and scholarships in our program require that the FAFSA demonstrates financial need. Federal loans, available to any student, also require submission of the FAFSA by the deadline date. Please note the filing date on the application form.



Applications must be received by March 1 for July Residency.

Applications must be received by September 1 for January Residency. 


for non-degree participation in a single residency by a writer of color

The Holden Residency Scholarship, provided by the Holden Fund for Diversity at Friends of Writers, Inc., covers residency-only tuition and room/board/facilities fees for a non-matriculating writer of color in either fiction or poetry for a single residency.  This opportunity is intended for a writer who is contemplating entering an MFA program in creative writing and wishes a fuller introduction to what our program offers and entails before applying to the degree program. The student will be responsible for any other residency-related expenses, including travel and books. Writers who have previously earned an MFA in creative writing are ineligible. 

The Holden Residency Scholar will participate fully in all events of the MFA Program for Writers’ ten-day residency, attending lectures and classes, workshop and bookshop sessions, and readings. They will also have a one-on-one conference with a faculty member. Please note that no graduate credit is earned, independently or toward a subsequent degree, during this residency-only engagement.

Holden Residency Scholar applicants will be evaluated by the same criteria and standards used for full-program applicants. Only one scholarship will be awarded per residency. The program reserves the right not to award the scholarship if candidates do not meet the criteria. 

A Holden Residency Scholar who subsequently applies for full program admission must undergo the same process as other applicants, with a new or revised manuscript and essays, but the admission fee will be waived.

Applications must be received by March 1 for July Residency.
Applications must be received by September 1 for January Residency.
Applications must be received by March 1 for July Residency.
Applications must be received by September 1 for January Residency.

PLEASE NOTE: Writers may submit applications in both genres, but they may pursue study in only one. 

Applications must be received by March 1 for July Residency.

Applications must be received by September 1 for January Residency.

MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College