The Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program- How to Apply

Accepting applications in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction ONLY for fall 2018
Application Deadline: 01/01/2018

Look for Program Code E26MF when searching for this degree program in the application system.

Applications for fall 2019 will be accepted in fiction and creative nonfiction
Applications for fall 2020 will be accepted in fiction and poetry


All supplemental application materials must be submitted through The Graduate School's application system. Please do not send, or have sent, paper copies of any documents. If you or your recommenders are having difficulty submitting any component of the application online, and the application system's online help is unable to resolve your problem, please contact the Assistant Director of Creative Writing.

Recommendations from Interfolio cannot be submitted directly to the application system, and must be sent directly to the Assistant Director of Creative Writing.

In all cases, our department's specifics regarding supplemental application materials supersede those listed on The Graduate School's website, as well as any listed in the application itself.


Supplemental Application Materials

In addition to the online application, the English Department requires the following documents for application to the MFA+MA in Creative Writing and English

  • One scanned copy of the OFFICIAL transcript from each institution you've attended;
    • We cannot accept printouts of unofficial grade reports,
    • Transcripts for non-degree courses are not needed,
    • Transfer credits and courses taken as part of a study-abroad program will usually be included in your degree-awarding institution's transcript. There's no need to submit separate transcripts from those other institutions;
  • Two letters of recommendation, though we strongly advise you to ask for three;
  • A statement of purpose detailing your artistic and intellectual interests, strengths, and reasons for wanting to undertake graduate study - approximately 400-500 words, double-spaced.  These guidelines supersede any instructions to the contrary on the online application;
  • GRE scores from the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing sections of the exam;
    • Arrange for ETS to report the scores to Northwestern directly.  The institution code is 1565.  No department code is needed,
    • The Literature in English subject test remains optional,
    • For scores to be considered official, the test must have been taken no more than five years before the intended September of entry and must come directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS);
  • A creative writing sample in the genre for which you are applying- 10 pages in poetry; 20-25 pages in prose;
  • A sample of your writing on a literary topic - ideally a critical essay - between 12 and 25 pages.  Scholarly citations must be included, but do not count against the page limit;
  • All non-native English speaking applicants are required to report scores from either the TOEFL or the IELTS exam;
    • To be considered official, the exam must have been taken no more than two years prior to the intended September of entry,
    • Because of the level of English fluency required of students in our program, we will only consider applications with a TOEFL score of at least 100, or IELTS score of at least 7,
    • Rules governing exemptions from this requirement can be found in our FAQ;
  • Additional details from Northwestern's Graduate School about the application (including further details on the TOEFL/IELTS requirement, transcript submission, application fees, etc...) can be found on The Graduate School's website.