Poetry and fiction writers can take years to develop their craft, years longer to publish literary works, and even longer to make a living from that writing. We don't think they benefit by being saddled with massive student loans. We also believe that graduate workshop is better—more collegial and supportive—when everyone is funded at the same level.
If you join our two-year MFA program, you will receive fellowship support and/or teaching income in the amount of $20,000 each academic year, as well as full funding of your tuition, enrollment fees, and the health insurance premium for single-person coverage through the university. Tax obligations on your fellowship income will vary student to student depending on other income earned during the tax year, U.S. vs. international status, and other factors. See below.
|1st Academic Year||2nd Academic Year||Optional 3rd Year|
|Health Insur. Cost||$0||$0||$0|
You will have no teaching responsibilities in your first academic year of study so that you can focus on your writing. In your second year, you will teach one introductory-level creative writing workshop (introduction to fiction writing or poetry writing, depending on the genre of your acceptance) each semester. We provide pedagogical training and peer support to help you build a course that meets our university and program requirements, but the course is largely of your own design: you create the exercises, reading list, and course structure. We know of few MFA programs in the country that offer such an opportunity to graduate students.
We fund all of our MFA students at the same level during their two academic years in our program. Students do not have to re-compete for funding during their time at UVA. Like awards and fellowships at most universities, our offer of fellowship and teaching support is contingent on your satisfactory academic performance and compliance with all applicable university, school, and departmental policies, including but not limited to those governing student conduct, academics, and the UVA Honor System.
Beyond the Second Year
During your second year, you may apply for one more year of teaching support. Approval for a third year of teaching will depend on performance in the MFA program, teaching evaluations and demonstrated commitment to teaching, and, of course, successfully defending a thesis at the end of our second year. For this third year we offer the standard teaching assistantship package, which provides a total wage income of $10,000 for the academic year ($5,000 each semester), as well as full funding of your tuition, enrollment fees, and the health insurance premium for single-person coverage through the university. Students enrolled in third years can continue taking graduate-level coursework at the University of Virginia, though they do not enroll in our workshops. Students in a third year teach one of our 2000-level creative writing courses in one semester and ENWR 1510, Writing and Critical Inquiry, in the other.
TaxesJust like at any other US college or university, UVA fellowship support is considered reportable, taxable income by the IRS, as are teaching wages. See this Scholarship Tax Information page and the Student Financial Services page for more details on your reporting responsibilities. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that the University of Virginia apply specific federal tax withholding and reporting rules to payments made to international students and scholars. See this office of Human Resources Compliance and Immigration Services page for more information and a contact email.
Travel, Summer, and Other Funding
We do not have dedicated program funds available for student travel, conference fees, summer projects, or literary research. Our students can apply for support through UVA's College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences or the English Department on a case-by-case basis, but we cannot guarantee these other funds at acceptance. As a program, we have focused on building a solid and equitable core funding package, but we continue to look for new ways to support MFA students who wish to take their studies beyond the confines of UVA.