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Admission Requirements

Requirement for admission to the MFA program is a baccalaureate degree, in an honours program or the equivalent, from a recognized degree-granting institution. There is no requirement as to the discipline in which the degree was earned. Successful applicants will be expected to have achieved an average standing of at least second-class honours (B-) in their last four semesters of study. Note, however, that a limited number of students may be admitted to the MFA without having satisfied the degree requirement or academic standing requirement, if they are assessed as qualified to undertake graduate studies in creative writing on the basis of other experience and practice.

Further information on admission requirements, how to prepare for graduate school, and the financial commitment of a graduate program, can be found here.


We are now accepting fall 2024 applications.

Please read through the instructions below and apply by December 4th, 2023 to be considered for fall 2024 entrance.


The MFA application process involves multiple steps, in two separate portals, so please read through all the information. Get started well in advance of the deadline, as the application process takes time.

Applying to the Creative Writing MFA program requires that you submit an online application through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) portal, as well as a CV, a letter of intent, and a writing portfolio to the University of Guelph SlideRoom portal. 

Your OUAC application AND all three parts of your portfolio submission are due by 11:59pm on Monday, December 4, 2023.


STEP ONE: Complete the OUAC application


The OUAC portal offers the convenience of submitting your application and paying the CDN $110 application fee online.

After you submit your online OUAC application, and it has been received by the University of Guelph, within five (5) business days an account will be created for you in WebAdvisor. WebAdvisor is the University of Guelph student information system. 

Once this account is created, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access WebAdvisor.

In WebAdvisor, you’ll see a checklist of documents you must then upload.

This checklist will include:


A transcript is required, with the institution grading scale and degree confer date, for each degree-granting institution in which you’ve been previously enrolled. Transcripts must be provided for every degree-granting institution you’ve attended, and for all full or partial programs you’ve completed.

Scans of your unofficial transcript(s) can be uploaded using the online application portal, or electronic transcripts can, in many cases, be ordered from your previous academic institution. If you prefer to submit a hard copy transcript, it can be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road E., Guelph, ON N1G 2W1.

‘Official’ transcripts are not required at this time but, if admitted, applicants will have to provide official transcripts to the Office of Graduate Studies before their studies begin.


Your referees do not have to be academic references, but we recommend that you choose referees who can speak about your writing practice and your ability to navigate a graduate program successfully. They should be familiar with your current writing work, and it's recommended that you share relevant information about your application with them before you apply (including your CV and portfolio) so that they can write an informed statement. You may also use a professional reference in the writing field: a publisher, agent, author, or writing workshop facilitator.

Applicants and referees do not submit hard copies of their letters of reference. Letters of reference are always sent electronically, directly from the referees to the University of Guelph, and the applicant is not directly involved in this process.

You, as the applicant, will declare your referees on your OUAC application and then your referees will receive an email 1-5 days after you submit your OUAC application, around the same time you receive your WebAdvisor information. This request will include instructions on how to complete a Referee Assessment Form on your behalf.

Please contact your referees prior to submitting your application. If your referees have any trouble with the form, let them know they can reach out to


Applicants who indicate on their application that English is not their first language are required to submit the results of a standardized language test, such as TOEFL, or IELTS. Find the list of standardized tests we accept, and the score requirements, here.

If you have any further questions about the OUAC application process and its requirements, please visit us here.

Or reach out to the program administrator, Libby Johnstone at


STEP TWO: Submit your CV, letter of intent, and writing portfolio to SlideRoom

Once you submit your online application through the OUAC application portal, you must submit an admissions portfolio which is made up of three documents: your CV, a letter of intent, and a writing portfolio.

This portion of your application must be submitted to a platform called SlideRoom by December 4, 2023, or you will not be considered for admission. The SlideRoom portal opens August 1, 2023 and closes at 11:59 pm on December 4, 2023.

Please note that SlideRoom will allow you to log in and edit your admissions portfolio as much as you like, but no further changes are allowed after you click submit. A US$5 fee will be charged to each applicant at the time of submission.


Then click on the ‘Creative Writing MFA Program’ from the list of programs to which you may apply.

Once you access the SlideRoom portal for the Creative Writing MFA, you will be required to answer a short series of questions and upload the following::


The curriculum vitae should outline professional work, education, and awards, as well as all relevant publications, presentations, residencies, collaborations, community initiatives, and grants.


In no more than three (3) pages, 1.5 or double-spaced, describe your aspirations as a writer, your reasons for applying for this program at this time, and the genre(s) in which you are most interested. Please be as specific as you can. It’s important to let the admissions review team know exactly why our MFA program at the University of Guelph feels like the best fit for your studies.


Upload to SlideRoom 25-40 pages of published work, unpublished work, and/or works-in-progress. Your portfolio must include a minimum of two separate works, or two excerpts from separate works.

It is highly recommended that you submit work in more than one genre, so the admissions committee can see a range of material.

Your portfolio should be uploaded as a PDF or Microsoft Word document. Poetry and drama submissions may be single-spaced. Fiction and creative nonfiction submissions must be double-spaced. Please use 12 pt. font for all submissions. 

You are also required (via a series of questions in SlideRoom) to indicate your primary genre—the genre in which you intend to write your thesis manuscript. Possible genres include fiction, creative nonfiction, drama/screenwriting, poetry, or mixed-mode narrative.

MFA students are still required to take at least one workshop outside of their primary genre and are not ‘locked in’ to the genre they choose as an applicant. This information simply helps us with considerations of balance over the program, in terms of the number of students we take per genre.

Note that ‘mixed-mode narrative’ (also known as ‘hybrid’) does not mean that you have included works of two or more genres in your portfolio. A mixed-mode narrative is a single work that includes multiple genres. Please declare your genre ‘mixed-mode narrative’ only if you intend to write a hybrid thesis (a singular work) written in two or more genres.


Find help with SlideRoom here.

For further questions about the application process, contact Libby Johnstone at