We are thrilled to welcome our new colleague, Danielle Evans, who is joining us as an advanced assistant professor of fiction. If her name is new to you, it shouldn't be—we recommend that you drop everything right now and check out her website and her profile in the Washington Post. Evans is the author of the short story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. Her work has received the PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Paterson Prize, and the Hurston-Wright Award, and is a National Book Foundation “5 under 35” selection. Her writing has appeared in magazines including The Paris Review, A Public Space, and Callaloo, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and New Stories from the South.






The Memorial Union Terrace, located right next door to the Program in Creative Writing, features cheap beer, food, and free events in the non-winter months. Photo © University of Wisconsin-Madison Board of Regents.







SPOTLIGHT: Poetry MFA Zac Fulton
Zaccaria Fulton entered the UW-Madison MFA Program in 2010. He was born in Virginia and raised on Old Saw Mill Lane, a road which in fact led to a quarry. In 2005 he moved to Seattle to pursue the art of stained glass, eventually winding up as a student at the University of Washington, where he was the fiction editor of Bricolage, a reader for The Seattle Review, and the organizer/em-cee of the graduate and undergraduate reading series "Stray." In 2010 and 2011 he hosted Works in Progress, a literary open mic at the Richard Hugo House. Photo © 2011-13 MFA Oliver Bendorf.








Madison is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, with bike lanes on most major roads and many pathways reserved specifically for cyclists. Photo © University of Wisconsin Board of Regents.







Winter in the Arboretum, a ten-minute bus ride from the Creative Writing offices. Photo © University of Wisconsin Board of Regents.







Graduate Program Coordinator Sean Bishop and former poetry fellow Rebecca Hazelton get ready to introduce an MFA reading at Avol's Books. Photo © Oliver Bendorf, 2011-13 MFA.


Contact Us

Graduate Coordinator Sean Bishop
Program in Creative Writing
Department of English
600 N. Park St, H.C. White Rm 6195
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

phone: 206-491-1505
fax: 608-263-3709

Jacques Rancourt and Jesse Damiani




2011-12 HEAF fellow Jacques Rancourt and 2011-13 MFA Jesse Damiani talk after a reading
by MFA grad Bri Cavallaro in Milwaukee. Photo © Oliver Bendorf, 2011-13 MFA.


MFA Admissions

Students who have earned a BA or equivalent degree may apply for admission to the MFA program in fiction or in poetry. Fiction writers and poets are admitted in alternating years. This year we are reading poetry: the application period opens in September and closes December 15, 2014, for admission in fall 2015. We are not reading fiction applications this year; the next application deadline for fiction writers is December 15, 2015, for admission in fall 2016. All application materials—including transcripts, statements of purpose, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and the application fee—must be submitted online in pdf format by midnight, U.S. Central Time, on December 15.


Application Process

In Fall 2014 we are reading for poetry only. To submit online, please prepare the materials listed below, in pdf format. Please note that the applications system may not be active or up-to-date until September. However, it is strongly recommended that you begin the application and request your recommendations as early as possible; you do not need to have all of these materials prepared the moment you begin the application:

For questions about the MFA Program, writing sample, or statement of purpose, please contact Sean Bishop, the Graduate Program Coordinator, at mfamail@english.wisc.edu. For all questions related to the online application itself, or technical problems, please contact Robyn Shanahan in the Department of English. As a courtesy, please make sure your question is not answered on this website before emailing.


Online Application Requirements

Once you've prepared the above materials, you may apply online by clicking here. When filling out the application form, please note the following:

Wisconsin Protocol

Like most institutions with a graduate program in creative writing, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools and as such is bound to the following resolution: "Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution." You can see the full resolution as well as a list of council members by clicking here.

We at Wisconsin advise any applicant who is feeling pressured to accept another MFA program's offer before the April 15th deadline to simply send the program a friendly email that states, "I see that your institution is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools. As such, I believe that I have the right to consider your offer up until the April 15th deadline as established by the council. Thanks so much!" Most universities are big places where one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing. Showing them you know your rights will help ensure that your rights are respected. At Wisconsin, our promise is simple:

Finally, we urge all MFA applicants to know their rights and to ask the schools they're applying to in advance if they are members of the Council of Graduate Schools. If they're not familiar with the CGS's resolution, send them a link to this page. We hope that by spreading the word regarding applicants' rights, all students can begin their graduate studies on the right path.


Campus Visits for
Prospective Students

While we are happy to answer questions about our graduate programs via email and to meet with anyone who has been admitted to the MFA program, it is difficult for us to meet with potential applicants or with applicants who have yet to be accepted. We wish this were not the case, but we are a small group trying to run three significant programs, teach our classes, and attend our meetings, and then there's that writing thing we try to find time for. In short, we just have no time to meet with all the applicants who are interested in our program. We also worry that it's a bit unfair for some people to have what amounts to on-campus interviews and others not to have that face-time.

We also cannot provide you with contact information for our current MFA students unless and until you've been admitted to the program (or placed on the wait-list). Again, we receive over 600 applications for our program and our 12 graduate students cannot handle the requests we have for their time. You are always welcome to come to campus and take one of the University's free guided tours or self-tour yourself around. Feel free to poke your head in the Creative Writing suite at 6195 Helen C. White Hall, which will give you a sense of our program. If you don't see a dartboard and several glass bookcases full of faculty, fellow, and student books—and if you don't hear laughter—then you are not in the Creative Writing suite.


Creative Writing Admissions FAQ

If you do not find your answers in this FAQ, please look through the Graduate School FAQs before contacting Sean Bishop, the Graduate Creative Writing Program Coordinator, at mfamail@english.wisc.edu.