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Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions


Creative Writing & Publishing Arts Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I include in my portfolio? Is academic writing acceptable? Can my writing sample be part of a larger work?

    A portfolio is a collection of your creative writing in one genre—fiction (10-15 pages), poetry or literary nonfiction. Academic writing is not acceptable. You may submit part of a novel or memoir. If your short story runs longer than 15 pages, don't worry. Submit it in its entirety. You should apply in the genre that you would like to concentrate on.
  • Can I apply in two genres?

    Yes, if you submit two portfolios, one in each genre to which you are applying. Include your personal statement in each. You will be admitted in only one genre.
  • When should I apply?

    Apply as soon as you have your materials ready. It takes the Office of Graduate and International Admission and Enrollment a while to process applications, and they would rather process them as they come in, rather than receiving all of them on Feb. 1. So, if you can, get your materials in before the deadline.
  • My undergraduate GPA is below 3.0; can I still apply?

    Normally, a low GPA will disqualify you, but if there are extenuating circumstances, you can include your explanation in your personal statement.
  • Are there assistantships or grants?

    We have a very limited number of graduate assistantships; most of those are in the Klein Family School of Communications Design's graphics and media labs. Additionally, one or two graduate students work as assistants on literary publications. We have no standard teaching assistantships at this time. Students who come from out of town find jobs in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area in teaching, editing, food service, etc. We are able to offer small assistance grants to a few students each year.
  • Can I visit a class?

    We prefer you join us for one or more of our evening events: We have a reading series each semester as well as various other programs. Let us know you're interested, and we'll put you on our mailing list. Attending a reading is a good way to get a feel for our program; if you let us know you are coming, we can introduce you to some of our grad students.
  • I have been out of school for a while. Do my letters of recommendation have to be written by my former college professors?

    No. But the most useful letters are written by people in the field of writing who can speak about your work. You can get letters from employers, but no family members, please.
  • Is an academic background in English or writing necessary to apply to the program?

    No. The quality of your writing portfolio is a significant part of your application. Students come from a range of backgrounds and careers.
  • May I schedule an interview?

    We don’t have interviews, but Jaye Crooks, academic program specialist, can answer most of your questions.
  • What is plork?


    Work + Play = Plork.

    It’s what happens when writers feel free to experiment and to play. Possibilities open up. That's when you get someplace new. In your first semester at UB in your Creativity: Ways of Seeing class, you will be introduced to plorking.

    This spirit of play will carry into your classes when you make books, work on a Wiki with your fellow classmates, perform your work and more.