Frequently Asked Questions | Department of English

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about UNCG’s MFA Writing Program. If you have a question not on the list below, please get in touch with us.

What type of student funding is offered?

Our program offers fully funded Graduate Assistantships, including out-of-state and in-state tuition, fees, and health insurance in addition to a stipend. A GA’s duties in the first year of the MFA might include working in The University Writing Center, helping organize conferences and events, assisting in the production of English Department publications, or light office work. Stipends generally start at $12,000 for nine months. In the second year of the program, GAs and TAs offer students college teaching experience and editorial work on The Greensboro Review. Applicants entering the program with a master’s degree in English may also seek a Teaching Assistantship in their first year. All applicants are considered for the Randall Jarrell and Fred Chappell fellowships. The MFA at Greensboro is committed to making our degree affordable and accessible through full funding. However, we generally will not know the exact number of fully funded slots for the incoming class until April. More information about funding sources and cost of living in Greensboro can be found at

How many applicants are accepted each year?

We expect to accept 5 to 7 students in each area–poetry and fiction–though this may vary somewhat in a given year depending upon the applicant pool, range of genre interest, acceptance rates in the year before, and funding levels.

On what do you base admission?

The primary emphasis is on your writing sample, which is reviewed by all faculty members in your genre. Be certain to include writing that you not only feel is your best, but also representative of the kind of writing that you want to continue pursuing here. We aren’t looking for any particular aesthetic; instead, we’re looking for serious writers who have made their own artistic commitments and are ready to work rigorously to advance them.

What is the curriculum?

6 to 8 writing courses (including workshop courses for poetry or fiction and tutorials in writing where students work one-on-one with members of the faculty); 2 courses in form and structure (all students take both the Structure of Fiction and the Structure of Verse); 2 elective academic courses (English courses or other graduate level courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences); and a final thesis. A minimum of 48 credit hours are required for the degree.

How long will it take to complete the program?

The program is completed in two years.

Do you require GRE scores?

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test scores are no longer required for admission to the MFA Writing Program. We do recommend applicants send test scores to The Graduate School if already taking the GRE general test, though, if possible. Some competitive scholarships and fellowships we often nominate students for through UNC Greensboro’s Graduate School may require scores as part of the admissions information.

What is it like to live in Greensboro?

Greensboro (population around 300,000) is situated in the North Carolina Piedmont just hours away from both the mountains and the coast. It is North Carolina’s third largest city and home to five different universities and colleges. Downtown Greensboro serves the region as a center for commerce, culture and connectivity. With its mix of shops, restaurants, breweries, museums, festivals, parks, architecture and growing residential enclaves, the city center brings people together from all walks of life. Greensboro is a vibrant place with its own generations-deep literary scene; it offers the benefits of a larger city while preserving the feel and affordability of a smaller college town.

Are there any on-campus publications?

For over fifty years, the MFA Writing Program has published The Greensboro Review. Works from the journal are consistently included in the Pushcart Prize anthologies, Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Awards, New Stories from the South, and other collections honoring the finest new writing by both established and emerging voices. MFA students serve as fiction and poetry editors of the publication.

What are the opportunities like for teaching?

Many of our MFA students gain college-level teaching experience through Teaching Assistantships (TAs) in the department. Applicants entering the program with a master’s degree in English may seek a TA for their first year; students without an MA may seek a TA their second year. In the first year, TAs teach one section of composition each semester and work in the University Writing Center. The second year, they teach three sections over the academic year. Teaching Internships with full faculty and strong course offerings in rhetoric and composition give further training in the teaching of writing, after which graduates may be invited to apply for full-time departmental lecturer positions.

Tell me about the Visiting Writers Series.

Each year the faculty invites writers and editors to visit the campus for readings, workshops, and one-on-one tutorials with MFA students. They bring unique voices and a variety of experience to the writing community. Guests have included winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant, the National Book Award, the Rome Prize, and the PEN/Hemingway Award, among other honors. Recent visitors include Chris Abani, Tyree Daye, Ross Gay, Kelly Link, Antonya Nelson, and Natasha Trethewey.

Tell me about the opportunities MFA students have with Write-on-Greensboro and Greensboro Bound.

Write-on-Greensboro is a public outreach program that runs a series of creative writing workshops for children, the elderly, and other at-risk communities in the area. MFA students coordinate the schedule and serve as workshop leaders. The annual Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, launched in 2017, gives MFA students further opportunities to work with the community as volunteers or interns, and to connect with guest writers like Nikki Giovanni, Carmen Maria Machado, Rebecca Makkai, and Zadie Smith.

How do I apply?

See Admissions & Assistantships.

Have a question?

We’re happy to answer it. Please contact us.