MFA Teaching Assistantship Application Guidelines



Thank you for your interest in applying to the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University.  Below you will find basic information about required application materials along with some tips about how to prepare your writing samples.  We hope this information is helpful, and we look forward to reading your application.
Complete Application Guidelines: Please visit the following page for links to relevant application upload websites and for complete application guidelines: How to Apply.


We make every effort to offer assistantship support to all the students admitted to the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment.  At present, starting teaching assistantships for MFA students total $19,200 ($2,133 paid out over 9 months).  Teaching assistants also receive a full tuition waiver scholarship (approximate value $9,302) and health insurance coverage.
The teaching load for teaching assistants is four classes a year (2 classes per semester), teaching in the ISUComm program or the speech communication program. Teaching assistants receive excellent preparatory training to support their teaching from the directors of these teaching programs. They are carefully mentored during their first year of teaching.
Other Support: The MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment is home to the Pearl Hogrefe Fellowship in Creative Writing. Click here for more information.


January 5 is the single application deadline for admission consideration for entry the following academic year (beginning fall term) into all six graduate degree programs in the Department of English.


Application Requirements and Instructions
All of the following materials are required for your application to be complete and must be uploaded electronically via the Iowa State University Office of Admissions online application system:

  • Online Graduate Application
  • GRE General Test Official Scores
  • Scanned Official Transcripts and degree statements
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Statement of Purpose & Personal Goals—2-3 double-spaced pages maximum uploaded as a supplemental document

Some Tips for Preparing Your Statement of Purpose:

• Be sure to include information about the creative writing projects you have completed or are currently working on, as well as any publications, honors, or prizes you’ve received for creative work.

• If you are seeking a teaching assistantship, please include any teacher-training you’ve had, as well as any previous teaching, tutoring, and/or mentoring experience.

• In order to describe how the MFA in CWE suits your interests and creative projects, it’s useful to touch on any of the following experiences/interests in your statement of purpose:

• Fieldwork experiences in natural or urban landscapes that have influenced your practice or aesthetic as a writer;

• Any writers or currents of environmental thought that have influenced your work;

• Issues of place, landscape, the natural world, or environment with which your work engages;

• Any organizations you’ve worked with or activities you’ve completed that are related to ecological or environmental issues;

• Creative projects that you have started or can imagine writing while in the program that have an environmental dimension.

  • Writing Samples—Two writing samples are required for the MFA in CWE application

1) Creative Writing Sample

Include a sample of no more than 25 pages of prose (double-spaced) or 15 pages of poetry (may use 1.15 spacing) demonstrating exemplary ability in one genre. We ask that you declare a primary genre at time of application, although once admitted, students will not be restricted to working in one genre.

2) Expository Prose Writing Sample (5 – 10 pages, double-spaced)

Your expository writing sample allows you to display your command of scholarly research and accepted grammatical rules for written English. Applicants usually submit a scholarly research essay written for an undergraduate class or a graduate course in English that demonstrates critical and research skills.