Concentrations

MFA in Creative Writing

Become a Mason Graduate Student

All applicants for graduate study at George Mason University must meet the admission standards specified in the Admission chapter of the University Catalog.

CHSS Graduate Admissions is self-managed. You are responsible for submitting all required application materials by the posted deadline. Review your program's Admissions Requirements and Deadlines before you begin your application. You can also visit our Grad Admissions FAQs page for helpful hints on how best to prepare your transcripts and other Admissions materials.

Step 1: Complete and submit the online Graduate Admissions application. George Mason University requires all graduate applicants to upload all possible required supplementary materials, such as unofficial transcripts, goals statement or writing sample, at the same time you submit your application. Online applications require a non-refundable $75 application processing fee.

Step 2: Within a few days of submitting of your online application, you will receive an email with your Mason G number (G#). This is a tracking number provided to all applicants that allows us to match your supporting documentation to your completed application.

Step 3: Check your application status and requirements checklist in your application portal. Initial processing takes 3 to 5 business days from the date of submission. You can use your application log-in and password to access your information throughout the application process. Graduate Admissions may send updates or notify you of issues with your application through your admissions portal, so it is best to log in periodically to stay on top of your application.

Step 4: For newly admitted students, refer to the CHSS New Graduate Student webpage for tips on confirming enrollment, submitting official transcripts, registering for class and more.

Program Specific Requirements

College Transcripts Goals Statement GRE Portfolio Recommendation Letters Resume Writing Sample
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Additional Information

The goals statement should be 750-1000 words and address professional and academic plans. A well-structured goals statement should also explain the applicant's interest in the program, relate the program to the applicant's career and academic plans, discuss research interests, and highlight information that may be useful to the admissions committee.

Portfolio of original work.  Portfolio requirements vary according to genre. Read the information below carefully.

Fiction portfolios should consist of at least two complete short stories, or novel/novella excerpts numbering no more than 50 pages in length. Please include more than one work in order to represent the breadth of your abilities. Work should be single-sided and double-spaced. An author’s note to explain excerpts or chapter selections from novels/novellas is appreciated by the admissions committee.

Nonfiction portfolios should consist of at least two complete essays or the equivalent totaling no more than 50 pages.  A nonfiction portfolio may contain longer essays, biographies or autobiographies, but applicants should submit more than one work. Nonfiction portfolios should be single-sided and double-spaced.

Poetry portfolios should include up to 10 pages of poems and a table of contents. Applicants in poetry are welcome to submit long poems or shorter poems up to the requested 10 pages. Poetry portfolios should be single-sided and include no more than one poem per page with adequate margins and a readable font. The applicant's name should appear on every page and pages should be numbered and referenced in the table of contents.

Writing Sample.  1000-word nonfiction writing sample, preferably literary analysis.  The writing sample is optional, however is required of applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship. Read More >> 

Application Deadlines

PRIORITY DEADLINE: January 15

FUNDING DEADLINE: February 15

FINAL DEADLINE: April 15

Applications are accepted for fall semester only. All applicants are strongly advised to submit all supporting documents by the program's posted deadline date.  Late applications will be considered on a space-available basis.

Additional Requirements for

International Graduate Applicants

International students interested in pursuing graduate study must meet the following requirements:

  • Completed online application for graduate study and application fee

  • An earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, or international equivalent, verified from copies of unofficial transcripts uploaded to the online application portal.


    Note: Due to admissions deadlines, graduate students are sometimes admitted before conferral of a bachelor’s degree. Students who are awaiting conferral of the degree will be permitted to register for their first semester. However, continuance in any graduate program requires an official transcript which verifies conferral of a bachelor’s degree.


  • Copies of unofficial university transcripts from all universities attended and any earned degree uploaded to the online application portal.

  • All transcripts from colleges or universities outside the United States must be translated into English, if applicable, and submitted for evaluation to the Mason Office of Admissions. Mason will provide evaluation service free of charge for all international transcripts, however, some programs may request an outside evaluation be completed. Because of volume, more time may be needed to process applications requiring a Mason evaluation. For expedited service, students can submit their documents to a recognized U.S. evaluation service at their own expense. If you decide to use an external evaluation service or if your program requires an outside evaluation, GPA and Degree equivalences must be included with your course-by-course evaluation. The Office of Admissions has final authority on all evaluations. Evaluations are used for internal purposes and are not released to applicants. For information on international transcript requirements, refer to the submission guidelines.

  • Official GRE test scores, as required by your program sent directly to Mason from the testing agency

  • Other supplemental materials specified by your academic program such as writing samples, portfolios, or interviews

  • Verification of English language proficiency

    Proof of English Proficiency

    Students who were educated outside of the US, Canada (excluding Quebec), UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand must submit qualifying TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English exam results. All examinations require advance registration and it could take several weeks to receive your results. It is important to register for these examinations early.

    Examinations and Scores

    The university will not accept any examination scores that are more than two years old as verification of English language proficiency.

    Minimum scores required for each exam:

    • TOEFL: 88 points, minimum of 20 points in each section
    • IELTS: 6.5 total band score
    • Pearson: minimum score of 59
  • International Student Visa Information

    • Submit the Certificate of Financial Responsibility form. The Certificate of Financial Responsibility (PDF) provides important information needed to prepare the I-20 document for your student visa. The form must be filled out completely and signed by both you and your sponsor(s). Applicants need to indicate on the Certificate of Financial Responsibility (PDF) the source(s) of the funds and the location where they would like their I-20 document mailed.

    • Submit the appropriate bank or financial support documents. Individuals (parents, brothers, uncles, etc.) listed on the Certificate of Financial Responsibility, as the source of funding for the student, should provide original bank statements. Bank statements should be dated within the past twelve months, be from an individual account and show funds that are immediately accessible and transferable. Credit card statements, business accounts, property value documents, solvency statements, statements of income, and insurance policies may not be submitted as sources of financial verification. Photocopies, faxes and scanned documents are accepted.

    • Provide a copy of the identification page of your passport. Students are required to provide a photocopy of their identification page in their passport. This ensures the accuracy of the name and date of birth listed on your I-20. The name and birth date on your application for admission must match those that are listed on the identification page of your passport. Please do not use nicknames or Western names that are not your formal given name. If the names on your admission letters, I-20 form, and passport do not match you may have difficulty during your student visa interview or when you try to enter the U.S.

    • Provide your permanent home address when you apply. Applicants requesting an I-20 must provide their permanent address in their home country even if they are currently living in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security requires that we maintain that information in our files for all students receiving an I-20 from George Mason University.

    • Students who are currently in the U.S should submit a copy of your current I-20 form, a photocopy of your U.S. student visa and I-94 card, and a completed Transfer Form signed by you and the International Student Advisor at the school from which you are transferring.

Non-Degree Admissions

You have the option to take graduate courses in non-degree status. To apply, you must complete an online application for your intended start term and include transcripts as well as a resume. You will also be required to indicate on the application which courses you plan to take for approval during the application review process. Credits earned in non-degree status may potentially transfer to a degree program at a later date so long as it meets the program requirements and the program director approves the transfer. For information on transfer credit policies, please refer to the University Catalog.

Non-Degree Requirements

College Transcripts Goals Statement GRE Portfolio Recommendation Letters Resume Writing Sample

Application deadlines for graduate non-degree coursework differ from program deadlines. For additional information on the non-degree application process and deadlines please refer to Applying for Non-Degree Graduate Study.