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Is the GRE required for admission?
Can I apply to the program in both fiction and poetry?
Yes, however, an application will need to be completed for each genre for which you’re seeking admission.
When is the deadline for submitting application materials?
January 15th is the postmark deadline. Due to the inevitable snags of the application process, we will accept letters of recommendation after the deadline, but be absolutely sure your writing sample and letter of intent reach us on time.
Where should I send my application materials?
All of your application materials should be submitted through the online graduate application.

How many students are admitted each year?
2-3 in each genre.
Do you offer spring admission?
When should I hear about the admission decision?
End of March, beginning of April.
What percentage of admitted applicants receive some form of funding?
100% of admitted applicants receive a teaching assistantship or graduate assistantship. Both include a full tuition waiver, student health insurance, and a living stipend of $10,450 per year, which for most students is enough to live on throughout the school year.
Who should write my letters of recommendation?
They should be written by someone who is either familiar with your writing ability or your academic work.
Can I apply in Creative Non-fiction?
We do accept applications in Non-Fiction though we take only very few and do not offer financial assistance to Creative Non-Fiction applicants. Graduate workshops in the genre are offered, although less regularly than Fiction or Poetry Workshops, and we have a number of Faculty members who publish in the genre.
If I am not offered admission, but reapply the following year, will my application materials still be on file?
You will still have to fill out an application through the grad college but you will not need to submit transcripts, nor pay the application fee. For the MFA program application you will have to submit new recommendation letters, letter of intent and writing sample.
Can I apply if I wasn’t an English major?
Of course. By far the most important factor in the selection process is the quality of the writing sample, regardless of an applicant’s academic background.
Do I need to submit all transcripts, or just the last degree completed?
You need to submit all transcripts of any institution you have attended. Even if you have a PhD, submit transcripts from Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees.

Program Overview

How large is the average workshop?
Given the small number of accepted applicants in each genre, workshops are generally between 6-11 students depending on the specific goals of each course. Some genre workshops are limited to MFA students studying that specific genre, and others are open to a variety of interested students.
What are the graduation requirements?
The Boise State MFA Program is a three-year, 48-hour course of study requiring 12 credit hours of workshop, 6 credit hours of thesis completion done in students’ third year, and the remaining credit hours requirements to be met through a variety of English electives including literature, form and theory, linguistics, and rhetoric and composition courses. A book-length creative work is completed during the third year and subjected to a thesis committee to be chosen by the student.
Does Boise State feature visiting writers?
Yes! Each semester a number of visiting writers are brought to campus through the MFA Reading Series to give a public reading, and, in many cases, sit in on an MFA workshop or give a lecture. Most visiting writers are in town for multiple days and students, whether at a formal reception or over informal drinks, are given ample time to interact and converse with them. The ’11/12 school year has featured/will feature Julie Doxsee, Abraham Smith, Forrest Gander, Charles Bernstein, Juliana Spahr, Brian Henry, Ales Steger, Michael Palmer, Fanny Howe, William Giraldi, Steve Evans, Jennifer Moxley, Tom Raworth, Joy Williams, Tyler McMahon, Bhanu Kapil and more.
Are there travel funds for MFA students?
Yes. The amount available depends on the year, but every student is guaranteed to receive some funding at least once during their time at Boise State. The AWP Conference is a popular application for the money, as are other conferences and destinations for research, but the awarding of the funds is given on a case by case basis with the requirement that the traveling further a student’s creative writing education.
What other kinds of opportunities are available to MFA students?
Students can gain experience working for The Idaho Review, a nationally-renowned literary journal, and Ahsahta Press, a highly-respected small-press publisher of experimental poetry, through the course Writing, Editing, and Design for Professional Advancement. In addition to the teaching experience gained by Teaching Assistants in their Freshman Composition 101 classes, MFA students are also given the opportunity to teach creative writing courses in their second or third years.


What is the cost of living in Boise?
Very low. Most students find the living stipend to be enough to live on fairly comfortably, as rent in Boise is very manageable and the proximity of campus to downtown and a variety of attractions make transportation costs minimal.
What is the weather like?
As a Rocky Mountain city, Boise has four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and dry, Fall brings cooler temperatures and the beautiful blush of autumn trees, and Spring can be a mix of wet and cold, sun and blue skies. Winters, though generally mild, will see moderate snowfall from time to time, but mostly temperatures in the 30s to 40s with varying degrees of sun.
Is there a literary community outside of the University?
Certainly. Boise is home to a large contingent of published and unpublished writers and any given month will feature a number of workshops, poetry slams, readings, or book signings hosted by the city’s own bookstores, coffee shops and bars.
What kind of distractions (from writing) exist in Boise?
There’s generally something for everyone. For the outdoor enthusiast, Boise’s location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains offers a plethora of activities, from white water rafting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and biking, in addition to an extensive, 30-mile long biking/jogging path that runs along either side of the Boise River as it winds its way through the heart of the city. North of Boise is the largest designated wilderness area in the lower 48.
For the arts enthusiast, there are entertainment options for any time of year. Boise is home to a number of renowned theatres, ballet companies, concert houses, movie theatres, and museums, from the art-house films (The Flicks) to modern ballet (Trey McIntyre Project), from touring productions of Broadway musicals (The Morrison Center for Performing Arts), to contemporary and classical takes on Shakespeare (The Idaho Shakespeare Festival).

News & Announcements

  • Ahsahta Press, directed by Janet Holmes, saw three of its seven 2015 publications land on Best of 2015 lists. Read Maureen McLane's review of Anne Boyer's Garments Against Women in the New York Times Book Review.
  • MFA program director Mitch Wieland's short story "Snow Angels" appeared in the summer issue of The Missouri Review. The story, set in Tokyo, is an excerpt from Strange You Never Knew, his novel in progress.
  • In April, Professor Martin Corless-Smith published his sixth book, a new novel titled This Fatal Looking Glass from SplitLevel Texts.