How To Apply

This page covers everything you need to know in order to put together your best possible application to our program.  

For most graduate programs in creative writing, including ours, the most important part of your application is a sample of your creative work. We base admission decisions primarily on a written sample of the prospective student’s creative work submitted in the genre the student intends to study. If you want to study fiction, you should send us a short story or a portion of a novel, preferably the beginning. Poets should send poems; nonfiction writers should send their best narrative nonfiction of any type.

We read applications on a rolling basis. Once your file is complete, we try to make a decision on your application within one week. Our summer program begins July 15. 

Supporting materials that accompany an application (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement identifying the student’s reasons for pursuing graduate study) are used to help consider the other positive attributes a student might contribute to the university and program communities respectively.

Admission Process

Admission to Saint Leo's Master of Arts in Creative Writing program is a simple, straightforward process. Applicants should submit the following materials:

All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 3.25 on a 4-point scale; students not meeting this standard may be admitted on a probationary basis at the discretion of the director.

  1. Application
    Fill out the online application or download, complete and return the application for graduate admission. You should select that you are completing your M.A. Degree as part of a COHORT.
  2. Application Fee
    Submit a one-time, non-refundable $80 application fee.
  3. Official Transcripts
    Send official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you've previously attended to the Office of Graduate Admission. A United States equivalency evaluation must accompany transcripts from foreign institutions, which must be certified by an approved evaluation service. Graduates or former students of Saint Leo University do not need to submit transcripts if they have been previously been submitted and are on file. Download Transcript Request Form.
  4. Writing Sample
    A sample of the applicant’s original creative work in the genre in which the student wishes to specialize. Poets must submit a minimum of 10 and maximum of 25 pages; prose writers must submit between 20 and 30 pages of original work. The document should have minimum 1-inch margins on all four sides of the page. All manuscripts should be in a serif font, in 12-point type. Some good examples are Times New Roman, Garamond, and Cochin. Prose manuscripts must be double-spaced. 
  5. Professional Recommendation
    Two letters of reference, ideally one professional and one academic. If an academic writer is not possible, the reference letter should address the ability of the prospective student to succeed in graduate study. Recommendations must be completed on forms provided by Saint Leo. Download Professional Recommendation Form.
  6. Statement of Professional Goals
    A personal statement detailing the candidate’s reasons for pursuing graduate study in creative writing, and their goals for obtaining the degree. The essay should address the following questions:
    1. What are your professional goals and how will a Creative Writing degree from Saint Leo University assist you in reaching those goals?
    2. Based on your previous collegiate, professional, and life experience, why do you think now this is the right time for you to enroll into the Creative Writing program?
    3. How do you think you will be able to handle an academic rigor of a graduate program that requires students to maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA?
  7. Financial Aid & Payment Options
    Determine how you plan to pay for the program. If using Financial Aid, complete the FAFSA online. It is in your best interest to complete the financial aid process as early as possible.

Completed applications will remain active for two years. Conditional admission as non-degree-seeking students may be granted only for up to six semester hours of graduate work.

Application, letters and transcripts can be sent to:

Director of Graduate Admission - MC2248
Saint Leo University
P.O. Box 6665
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665

Advice on Applying to the Saint Leo M.A. in Creative Writing

For the Personal Statement:

  • Give us a sense of who you are and what you’ve read and why what you’ve read speaks to you. Stay away from platitudes and categorical statements.
  • If there’s a reason that the low-residency approach appeals to you, include it in your statement.
  • What writers have you read, what books have you loved, and how do they inform the kind of writer that you hope to be?
  • Finally, if there is something specific that you want to learn, a particular author or type of work that you hope to emulate, tell us here. The most helpful statements are the most specific.

For the Writing Sample:

  • Send only your best work.
  • Your writing sample should be in the genre in which you hope to be admitted; once you have been admitted to the program, you’ll have a chance to explore other modes and genres, but you should start in one genre. If you aren’t certain what your primary genre is, mention this conflict in your personal statement. All writing samples should be a minimum of 10 pages, and a maximum of 25.
  • We like to be able to read your work comfortably: all work should be in a 12 point, serif font, such as Times New Roman, Garamond, Cochin, etc., and prose manuscripts should be double-spaced. A minimum one-inch margin on all sides is necessary too. Please don’t shrink the margins to fit more pages. A smaller number of good pages beats a greater number of average ones every time.
  • We’re looking for promise implicit in the writing, even if that piece is substantially unfinished. The people who read your application are working writers and deal with this problem daily, in their own writing and teaching. Your strategy should be to send the piece (or pieces, as appropriate) best represents you as a writer.
  • Proofread. Check your spelling. This is a graduate program taught by professors of English. In other words, the rules apply, and spelling counts!