Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Distance) (MFA)

Overview

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 15 years, UBC's Creative Writing program has been educating writers through distance education in a program which complements our long-standing on-campus MFA program.

A studio program with the writing workshop at its heart, the distance 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.

The MFA granted to distance students is the same degree as granted to on-campus students, and the same criteria of excellence in multiple genres of study apply.

What makes the program unique?

UBC's Optional-Residency (Distance) MFA was the first distance education MFA program in Canada and remains the only full MFA which can be taken completely online. It is designed to be uniquely flexible, allowing students across Canada and around the world to study writing at the graduate level while still living in their local communities and fulfilling career and family obligations.

The program is unique globally 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. Students may work on a part-time basis, taking up to five years to complete the degree.

Quick Facts

 

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Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

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.

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

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:

90
22
21
22
21
6.5
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0

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:

The GRE is not required.

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.

Supervision

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 (Distance) (MFA)
Applicants should apply without contacting individual faculty members prior to the application. Identification of potential faculty members in the application form is optional. Faculty members will review applications of applicants they are interested in and get in touch as part of the applicant evaluation.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Application Notes

The optional residency MFA (distance) program only has a July intake.

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

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.

July 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 08 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 08 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 22 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 08 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 08 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 22 January 2021

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Tuition per credit$628.04$1,109.04
Other Fees and Costs
Student FeesVary
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
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.

Financial Support

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 Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

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.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

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.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Options

Graduates of the MFA program have found success in varied fields related to writing and communication. The MFA qualifies graduates for teaching at the university level and many graduates have gone on to teach at colleges and universities in Canada, the United States and overseas as well as holding writing residencies. Many publish books and win literary awards. Others go on to work in publishing, and graduates have become book and magazine editors.

Although the MFA is a terminal degree, some graduates go on to further study in PhD programs in the US, UK and Australia.

The Optional-Residency MFA is particularly well suited to teachers: our teacher-students have been able to gain an advanced degree while continuing their careers.

 

Research Supervisors

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.

Further Program Information

Specialization

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.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

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July 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
08 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
08 January 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

Why should you choose UBC?

From academic excellence and modern facilities to our diverse degree program listings to being named one of the “most innovative universities” by Reuters in 2019, UBC has a lot to offer.