Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA)
Creative Writers are at the heart of our cultural industries. Poets, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, graphic novelists, magazine writers: they entertain, inform and inspire. For more than 50 years, UBC’s Creative Writing program has been producing writers who’ve shaped Canadian and international culture. A studio program with the writing workshop at its heart, the MFA focuses on the work created by students as the primary text. Through intensive peer critique and craft discussion, faculty and students work together with the same goal: literary excellence.
What makes the program unique?
UBC’s Creative Writing program was the first writing program in Canada, and is the largest and most comprehensive in the country. It is highly ranked internationally, and draws students from around the world for its multi-genre approach to writing instruction. Students are required to work in multiple genres during the course of the degree. As a fine arts program rather than an English program, students focus on the practice of writing rather than the study of literature.
Small, intensive workshops characterize the program, as does our breadth of offerings: with 12 genres of writing available for study there are more opportunities for learning than at any other writing program in the world.
Faculty are distinguished, working writers. We have 12 professors, an additional 9 permanent instructors and regularly bring in a wide variety of writers in residence and adjunct instructors from the writing community.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA)
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
The residency MFA program only has a September intake.
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date15 October 2020
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching and Research Assistantships
Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Belcourt, Billy-Ray (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry)
Lee, Nancy (Fiction; Creative Writing)
Lyon, Annabel (50th Anniversary of Creative Writing, fiction, creative writing )
Maillard, Keith (Fiction, poetry)
McGowan, Sharon (Planning of film productions from concept to completion)
Medved, Maureen (Fiction, writing for screen)
Svendsen, Linda (Fiction, television)
Taylor, Timothy (fiction and nonfiction)
Vigna, John (Novel and Short Story, Fiction, Creative Writing)
Wade, Bryan (Stageplay, radio drama)
Further Program Information
Creative Writing combines the best of traditional workshop and leading-edge pedagogy. Literary cross-training offers opportunities in a broad range of genres including fiction, poetry, screenplay, podcasting, video game writing and graphic novel.