Department of English

MFA Application Checklist

Application to the UTPA Graduate School

The graduate school has its own standards for admission, separate from the requirements of the MFA program. Begin your application using the Embark program on the Graduate Office main page www.utpa.edu/gradschool and hit “Apply Now”. Feel free to request advice from one of the MFA advisors before officially submitting your application. If your GPA is below the minimum, submit your writing sample to the MFA Admissions Committee anyway; if you’re a good writer it may be possible for you to get  admission on probationary status.

Complete all parts of the Embark process, including payment of the $35 application fee, and submit the application.

Recommendation Letters

Find three people who are qualified and willing to recommend your achievements and potential as a writer, a student at the graduate level, and a member of a community dedicated to literary arts.  You have two options regarding recommendations. One is to have each recommender complete an online form as part of the Embark process. The other is to have your recommenders mail letters directly to the MFA program at the following address:

MFA Admissions Committee
English Department
The University of Texas-Pan American
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, TX  78539-2999

Do whichever is most convenient for you and your recommenders. If any of your recommenders are unfamiliar with academia, they can find some helpful tips at the recommendation form

Departmental Materials

  • Application deadline to enroll in the Fall semester is April 1.
  • Application deadline to enroll in the Spring semester is October 1.

Required departmental materials can be uploaded through Embark, under the “Documents/Essays” section, or you can send them directly to the MFA Program.


  • your own cover letter (letter of application)
  • student background info sheet
  • A sample of your best creative writing, either:
    • 8-10 poems, if you are a poet, or
    • 20 pages of prose, if you write fiction or creative nonfiction

The writing sample is by far the most important part of your application.  Good luck!

If you want to be considered for a graduate assistantship, enclose an additional brief (one page) statement explaining your interest and qualifications, and tell your recommenders.

If you experience any difficulty uploading all your departmental materials through Embark, send them to:

MFA Admissions Committee
English Department
The University of Texas-Pan American
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, TX  78541

1201 W. University Drive Edinburg, TX 78539-2999
956/665-UTPA  1-866-441-UTPA
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