Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Application

How do I apply?

THE APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR FALL 2015 ADMISSION  IS YET TO BE ANNOUNCED. This past year the deadline was December 15, 2013.  You must complete your application by the designated day. In order to encourage candidates to use the online application system, Vanderbilt’s Graduate School waives the application fee for electronic applications.  This is the most common form of application.

Is there an application fee?

Rarely.  If applicants want to submit hard copy, Vanderbilt requires payment of $40, but few submit that way.

If I have a technical question regarding my online application, whom do I contact?

For technical questions regarding your online application please email vandygrad@vanderbilt.edu .

If my recommender would like to send a letter of recommendation via the postal service, will I have to pay an application fee?

No.  We understand that some of your recommenders will prefer to send a letter in hard copy.

May I use a dossier record service?

We do not accept records from a dossier service.  Vanderbilt has its own online form for Letters of Recommendation.

I applied to the Vanderbilt MFA program last year.  Do I need to submit another application?   Must I resend my transcripts and my GRE scores?

As of Fall 2013, Vanderbilt has a new application system.  Therefore all applicants must fill out a new application.  When you are ready to begin your application, click on:

https://apply.vanderbilt.edu/apply/

I was waitlisted for admission to the MFA Program last year.  I want to reapply this year.  Should I resubmit the same materials?

You may submit the same transcripts and letters of recommendation, but we encourage you to send a fresh writing sample so the faculty can see how your writing is developing.

My undergraduate grades (GPA) are not as high as I’d like them to be.  How much emphasis is put on my GPA?

The most important component of your application is your Writing Sample.  Your GPA is a confirmation of your ability to handle the academic subjects.

If my letters of recommendation or GRE scores arrive at Vanderbilt after the deadline, will my application still be considered?

We understand that sometimes the delivery of your supporting documentation (GRE scores or letters of recommendation) is delayed.   If we have not received certain of your supporting materials and we need to see them, we will contact you so you can make sure the materials are sent.

When will I hear if I am accepted?

We try to notify those who are accepted by mid-February, or no later than mid-March.

Questions about the GRE and TOEFL

Is the GRE test required?

Yes, the GRE test is required; GRE scores must be submitted as part of the application.  The GRE Subject Test is not required.

Is there a minimum GRE score?

There is no minimum GRE score, nor does Vanderbilt track the GRE scores of applicants or those accepted to the MFA program. GRE scores are a confirmation that the candidate is able to manage the academic portion of the program, and the scores are evaluated that way.

I took the GRE in 1997.  Do I have to take it again?

GRE scores must be no more than 5 years old.

I already have a Master’s Degree.  Do I have to take the GRE test?

Yes, the GRE test is required.  The GRE Subject Test is not required.  However, if your GRE test scores are 5 years old or less, those scores will suffice.

Do I have to take the GRE Subject Test?

The GRE test is required.  The GRE Subject test is not required.

How important is the quantitative portion of the GRE score?

The quantitative portion of the GRE has less impact on your application than the verbal portion.  But your Writing Sample carries the most weight.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Applicants whose native language is not English and who have not received a degree at an English-speaking university must submit scores on the TOEFL.  International students should have a TOEFL score of not less than 570 on the paper-based test, computer-based TOEFL score of 230, or an Internet-based TOEFL score of 88. Since four to six weeks are usually required for scores to reach the University, you should take the test no later than November 19, in order for the score to arrive by January 15.  You may send inquiries and your requests for applications to TOEFL, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey, 08541-6151.

Questions about Genre

May I take classes outside my genre (fiction or poetry)?

Yes, MFA students enroll in workshops outside their genre, with the consent of the instructor.

How do I apply if I am applying for both fiction and poetry?

If you are applying for both fiction and poetry, our application system allows you to submit a second application for your additional genre.  On the main page, where you log in, click on the link, “Start New Application,” to complete a second application.  Be sure to indicate in your Personal Statement that you would like to be considered for both fiction and poetry.  All other components of the application remain the same.

Do you have a Creative Non-Fiction specialization?

No. At this time, Vanderbilt’s areas of specialization are fiction and poetry.  We offer one Creative Non-Fiction workshop each year in the spring, which students may take if they are interested in doing so and the instructor agrees.

Do you consider applications in genre-fiction (speculative, science fiction, fantasy, mystery writing, children’s literature, and the like)?

No, we do not.

Questions about Interviews

I would like to meet with a faculty member to discuss the MFA program.

Due to the large volume of applications we receive, we are unable to arrange individual meetings with faculty members in advance of your acceptance into the program.  Our website is filled with information about the MFA program; if you have a question that is not addressed on our website, please feel free to email us at creativewriting@vanderbilt.edu.  We invite you to campus and arrange meetings with faculty once you have been accepted.

May I talk to one of the current MFA students?

As noted above, we invite all candidates accepted into the Vanderbilt MFA program to campus in the spring so they can meet MFA students and faculty.   We do not arrange meetings before then; our MFA students have a heavy workload of writing, attending classes, studying, and teaching, and we do not want to burden them with additional obligations before then.  But the visit should give you an ample amount of  time to talk with students and faculty alike about what it’s like to attend the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Vanderbilt.