We are pleased that you are considering joining the Nonfiction MFA program at The University of Iowa. Our next admissions cycle is for Fall 2024. Applications are accepted between September 1, 2023 through December 14, 2023. Online application and all pdf documents (transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing sample, and statement of purpose) must be submitted by Thursday, December 14, 2023, by 4:00 PM CST. All admitted applicants will be contacted by phone or email around the middle of March. We do not accept applications for spring semester admissions.

All applicants must meet the Admission Requirements of the Graduate College.  See the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College on the Graduate College website for additional information. The Nonfiction Writing Program is committed to fully funding all students who are admitted to the program, and to maintaining that funding for three years as long as students remain in good standing. For information about our Financial Aid Packages, please visit this page for details about our fellowships, tuition stipends, and generous health benefits. 

Application Procedures

  • To apply to the Nonfiction Writing Program, you will need to upload your pdf documents directly to the University of Iowa’s Office of Admissions. Please click here. The $60.00 application fee must be paid via credit card ($100.00 for international applicants). Please note that it can take up to 24 hours for the online application to be processed and you to receive your HawkID.
  • After you submit your application, you will receive email instructions (within 24 hours) on how to establish your HawkID and password in order to access your Admissions Profile on MyUI, our online portal for students. You will then upload the required supplemental documents through a secure portal. 

All pdf documents listed below are due no later than December 14th, 2023, by 4:00 PM CST.

  1. Your unofficial academic records/transcripts from all post-secondary institutions. If you are formally admitted, you will need to submit official transcripts prior to entering the program.
  2. Three letters of recommendation. You will be asked to provide the contact information of your recommenders on your Profile. The recommender will then receive an email from the Office of Admissions instructing them on how to upload a recommendation letter.  Letters should be written by persons familiar enough with your intellectual attainments to evaluate your potential as a graduate student in English (preferably instructors of your college English courses or professionals familiar with your writing abilities and work habits). Letters of Recommendation may be submitted through a dossier service (such as Interfolio), please inform the service to submit the letters via email to cherie-hansen-rieskamp@uiowa.edu.
  3. A brief statement of purpose (no more than 500 words) explaining your reasons for choosing this degree program.
  4. We do NOT require GRE scores.
  5. Official TOEFL scores for non-native speakers of English. Applicants whose native language is not English, please see list below:
    • Paper-based (PBT) 637
    • Internet based (iBT) 110
    • DuoLingo (DET) 135
    • IELTS Overall scores of 8 with no subscore less than 7 
  6. A 20 to 30-page writing sample that represents the best of your work in literary nonfiction.  These can be in any forms of nonfiction and may be a single sustained work or a series of shorter pieces.  Please be sure you double-space your pages and use a 12-point font with 1-inch margins all around.
  7. CV/Resume

*Non-native speakers of English should note that most students are funded through teaching, and the Iowa Board of Regents mandates that all non-native speakers of English pass an oral English test in order to teach; the equivalent of an iBT speaking section score of 26 is required. If you are a non-native English speaker, we consider your official TOEFL scores and, additionally, we will conduct a telephone interview with you at an appropriate time in order to discern mastery of spoken English. For electronic submission of TOEFL test scores, the University of Iowa Institutional Code is 6681.

Please send direct questions about applications to cherie-hansen-rieskamp@uiowa.edu.  

The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. For additional information contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 319-335-0705. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in these programs, please contact the English Department at 319-335-0440.