Admission Requirements and Application

APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR 2015

Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing admits students throughout the year on a continuous admissions model, but we encourage our students to begin their program of study during the Summer Intensive Residency (July 12 - 26, 2015). We therefore encourage students to submit their complete applications by April 15, 2015. Depending on openings in the Summer Intensive Residency, we do admit students later than this (up to July 1), or to begin in alternative semesters, at the discretion of the Concentration Directors and the Program Director. We make admissions decisions on all completed applications within one month. Please inquire directly if you have any questions about dates and enrollment schedules.

Please inquire if you have questions:

Extended Studies Graduate Office, Western State Colorado University

graduatestudies@western.edu / 970-943-2885

Western Graduate Program Application Forms

Checklist for Application to the MFA and MA

In addition to filling out the online graduate school application forms (which you will find by clicking on the red button above that says "Western Graduate Program Application Forms"), please also forward the following to Western's Extended Studies Graduate Office, Taylor 303, 600 N. Adams Street, Gunnison, CO 81231, or email to  Graduate Office (graduatestudies@western.edu):

  • An official transcript of the bachelor's degree, including grades of B- or above in at least four (4) undergraduate or graduate courses in literary and/or film studies (either in analytical or creative work). The baccalaureate-granting institution must send the transcript directly to the Western State Colorado University Extended Studies Graduate Office. If students do not have transcripted credit for the requisite four courses in literary and/or film studies, they may make the case to the Admissions Committee for sufficient familiarity with the field by presenting other evidence, e.g. publication, professional experience, or other forms of relevant study.
  • An 800- to 1,000-word personal statement describing writing experience and commitment to writing. This statement should include a self-assessment of qualifications for admission to Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing for the chosen degree and concentration.
  • A 20- to 30-page writing sample in the appropriate genre, double spaced and numbered, or properly formatted for the appropriate genre. The Fiction concentration sample should cap at 25 pages and ideally be from a single work. The Poetry concentration sample should include 20 pages of poetry and 10 pages of analytical prose in any genre. The Screenwriting concentration sample should include a complete scene or short.
  • At least two letters of professional recommendation from those capable of assessing the applicant's preparation to succeed in a low-residency program. All letters must be submitted on letterhead, must be originals, less than a year old and signed by the person giving the recommendation.
  • For Poetry Concentration only: Poetry applicants must have sufficient preparation in a foreign language (ancient or modern) to work on translation with aid of a dictionary and other supporting texts during second year of studies.

Western Graduate Program Application Forms

Checklist for Application to the Certificate in Publishing

In addition to filling out the online graduate school application forms (which you will find by clicking on the red button above that says "Western Graduate Program Application Forms"), please also forward the following to Western's Extended Studies Graduate Office, Taylor 303, 600 N. Adams Street, Gunnison, CO 81231, or email to Graduate Office (graduatestudies@western.edu):

  • An official transcript of the bachelor's degree, demonstrating evidence of literary and/or film studies of at least four (4) undergraduate or graduate courses. The baccalaureate-granting institution must send the transcript directly to the Western State Colorado University Extended Studies Graduate Office.
  • An 800- to 1,000-word personal statement describing writing experience and interest in publishing. This statement should include a self-assessment of qualifications for admission to Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing for the chosen degree and concentration.
  • A writing sample of 15-20 pages prose (double-spaced); or 5-7 poems; or a combination of 2-3 poems and 7-10 pages of prose, double spaced and numbered, or properly formatted for the appropriate genre.
  • At least two letters of professional recommendation from those capable of assessing the applicant's preparation to succeed in a low-residency program. All letters must be submitted on letterhead, must be originals, less than a year old and signed by the person giving the recommendation.

Western Graduate Program Application Forms

Checklist for Application to Non-Matriculated Enrollment

Western allows anyone holding a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution to complete up to nine credit hours of 600-level graduate coursework before applying to matriculate into the MA or MFA program.

Costs per credit/hour are the same as for matriculated students.

To apply to be a non-matriculated student, fill out the online graduate school application forms (which you will find by clicking on the red button above that says "Western Graduate Program Application Forms"), and please also forward the following to Western's Extended Studies Graduate Office, Taylor 303, 600 N. Adams Street, Gunnison, CO 81231, or email to Graduate Office (graduatestudies@western.edu):

  • One-page cover letter explaining your desire to take classes in one of the Graduate Program's three tracks (Genre Fiction, Poetry with an Emphasis on Versecraft, Screenwriting for Film and Television)
  • 10-15-page writing sample in the appropriate genre, double spaced and numbered, or properly formatted for the appropriate genre. The Fiction concentration sample should cap at 15 pages and ideally be from a single work. The Poetry concentration sample should include 10 pages of poetry and 5-10 pages of analytical prose. The Screenwriting concentration sample should include a complete scene or short.
  • Unofficial transcript documenting successfully completion of baccalaureate degree.

Non-matriculated credits (graded B- or higher) may be applied to a graduate degree at Western upon admission and approval by the appropriate Concentration Director and the Director of the Graduate Programs in Creative Writing.

Admission to non-matriculated status is subject to approval by the Director of each concentration. Non-matriculated completion of graduate level courses does not constitute or imply admission in the graduate program, as the candidate must still apply to the program and meet the full program admission requirements – but it does provide the opportunity to sample the program before applying for admission into a degree program and fully committing.

Application for Non-Matriculated Enrollment in Summer Intensives

All Summer Intensives in Genre Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting and Publishing are open to the public depending on availability and at the discretion of the instructor.

Courses meet 1:00-4:00 pm for eight days in the second half of July (In 2015 these dates are M-F, July 13-17 and M-W, July 20-22).

There are three categories of non-matriculated enrollment in Summer Intensives available to the public:

1) Students who have been admitted through our admissions process to non-matriculated status (see above) and who wish to attend a Summer Intensive pay the same amount per credit as matriculated MA/MFA students and receive transcripted 600-level graduate credit. These credits are transferrable to degree-earning status if students matriculate into the program at a later date.

2) Students who have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and who wish to attend a Summer Intensive can earn 2 credits of graduate-level non-degree-seeking credit. Admission is at the discretion of the instructor and the program director, and is subject to availability. Cost: $650.

3) Students who wish to attend a Summer Intensive without earning any credit may also register at the discretion of the instructor and the program director. The program has offered this option to a wide range of participants, from advanced high school students to members of our local community and visitors who are passionate about writing but not interested in pursuing a degree or graduate credit. Cost: $400.

Participation in a Summer Intensive includes not only classes, but also readings, workshops, lectures and other special events. It does not include housing, meals, travel and any other events that require extra fees. Summer Intensive registration also does not include registration for Writing the Rockies, our national conference that begins on the final day of the Summer Intensive and runs through the weekend (July 22 - 25, 2015).

To apply for participation in a Summer Intensive, please follow the links to the course that interests you, and fill out the forms in full:

For-Credit Options

Meter in English Poetry, 2 Credits (CRWR 510). Instructor: David J. Rothman.

Poetry and Music, 2 Credits (CRWR 510). Instructor: Ernest Hilbert.

Screenwriting, 2 Credits (CRWR 510). Instructor: JS Mayank.

Non-Credit Options

Meter in English Poetry, Non-Credit. Instructor: David J. Rothman.

Poetry and Music, Non-Credit. Instructor: Ernest Hilbert.

Screenwriting, Non-Credit. Instructor: JS Mayank.

Non-Matriculated Credit Options for "Writing the Rockies"

Undergraduate and graduate students who are not enrolled in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing may apply to earn credit for attendance at our summer conference, Writing the Rockies, through Western's Division of Extended Studies. Undergraduates can earn degree-seeking credit. Students with an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution can earn one non-degree graduate-level credit in “ENG 510,” which is run through the Western Teachers Institute, administered by Western's Extended Studies Office. Additional fees apply. For more information contact Western's Extended Studies Program at or 1-800-876-5309 , ext. 7, or ExtendedStudies@western.edu.

Transfer Credits

Departmental representatives determine if graduate classes completed at other accredited institutions can be transferred to the respective Western graduate studies programs. Transfer credits must be listed and approved by the major advisor on the degree plan. Transferred graduate credits must be:

Earned at a regionally-accredited institution;

Numbered at the graduate level and accepted as part of a graduate degree program at the sending institution;

Passed by the student with a grade of B- or above (courses with grades such as pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory are not acceptable);

Earned within the past five years unless a department specifies otherwise;

Account for no more than nine credits towards a Western degree.

Students must provide official transcripts, and request and receive permission in writing from Western to transfer coursework.

Western Graduate Program Application Forms