Graduate Application

New faculty members Emily Pohl-Weary and Ian Williams

New faculty members Emily Pohl-Weary and Ian Williams


We are Canada’s oldest and most respected MFA Program in Creative Writing, and our faculty and alumni have global reputations. Students work in a learner-centered, workshop-driven program which offers an exciting breadth of choices, award-winning faculty and a setting in one of the world’s most beautiful and livable cities. Can’t come to Vancouver? Our uniquely flexible Optional-Residency MFA allows students around the world to study at UBC by distance education.

How to Apply to UBC Creative Writing

Please review our website to find out more about us and our unique multi-genre approach to writing education. Students graduate with experience in a minimum of three separate genres of writing (out of the 11 we offer), a form of literary ‘cross training’ we believe uniquely positions our graduates to succeed in their post-MFA careers.

All applicants to our on-campus and Optional-Residency MFA Programs, as well as the MFA in Creative Writing & Stage Playwriting, must apply to Creative Writing using the UBC Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies online application system. Applicants for the Joint MFA in Film Production and Screenwriting must apply to the Film Program rather than the Creative Writing Program.


Admission is based primarily on your portfolio submission. This is evaluated by members of the Creative Writing faculty. We also take professional experience and publications into account. Students’ previous degrees may be in any discipline, but must include a 4-year Bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited university-level institution.

Faculty do not provide critiques of manuscript submissions. The evaluation procedure is confidential, and we do not disclose any details regarding the decision to accept or reject an application. We cannot provide pre-evaluation of portfolios. To find out if you will be accepted, you must apply.

It is important for applicants to clearly specify their primary (usually the strongest) genre in their personal cover letter. Faculty with experience in this genre will review the application for possible short-listing. If the application is short-listed, the portfolio will then be read by the entire faculty reading committee.

Between one in four and one in five applicants are accepted each year. Some applicants are successful in applying again after not being accepted a previous year.


Acceptance is a two-stage process, first by the Creative Writing Program and then by UBC’s Faculty of Graduate Studies. Once applications have been approved by the Creative Writing Program, they are forwarded to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for acceptance into UBC. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requires the following for admission:

  • A four-year undergraduate degree. There are very few exceptions to this requirement, though students with three-year degrees and the equivalent of an extra year of third or fourth year credits have been accepted.
  • A B+ average in third and fourth year-level course work, or at least 12 credits of third-or fourth-year courses in the A- grade range (at UBC this is 80% or higher) in the field of intended graduate study. This can be waived in some circumstances.
  • Sufficient preparatory academic background to carry out graduate work in a chosen field.
  • Evidence of English-language proficiency. Note that Creative Writing students are expected to function at a very high level of proficiency in English.

On approval, UBC will issue a formal letter of acceptance.

For UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies information, please see their website.

Details regarding portfolio requirements are available in our Application Guidelines for each stream of the program. Applicants MUST review these guidelines.

Optional-Residency MFA Application
On-Campus MFA Application
Joint MFA in Film Production & Screenwriting


2017 Academic Year
MFA (Optional-Residency): Applications are closed

MFA (on-campus):
Applications are closed.  
Joint MFA (Film Production & Screenwriting): Applications are closed

Applications for the 2018 Academic Year will be open in late summer, 2017.