Creative Writing

Letter to Prospective MFA Students with UNCW Financial Information & Opportunities


Here is some additional information that might aid you in your planning/decision making. We wish we could fund all of our incoming students—a situation we are working energetically to alleviate—but unfortunately, we cannot. Let us try to help as best we can.

As you’ve likely heard, the majority of incoming students do not get Teaching Assistantships or Fellowships, and most hold other jobs. You’ll find the most detail of the level of financial support we have available (including assistantships) on the FAQ page for prospective students on our website, as well as links for housing, parking, student insurance, etc.—review the residency & financial section carefully.

Residency & Financial FAQs

In addition, for specific information on the cost of attendance, please see (This is a more comprehensive look beyond just tuition & fees rates.)

The following link will take you to the UNCW Financial Aid office webpage for graduate student loan information: The federal student loan limit is currently $20,500 (per academic year) for degree-seeking graduate students. Your FAFSA application, once completed, should begin processing once your official acceptance is processed at the Graduate School (i.e., once your decision letter is available to view in your application).

Much of the other university funding for graduate students comes from outside the department. We have students with Graduate Assistant positions in the UNCW Graduate School, Housing & Resident Life, Campus Entertainment, and International Programs, and we have several students each year with paid internships at our local public radio station, WHQR. Students also have found part-time jobs in Admissions, Randall Library, Student Media, the UNCW Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and as writing tutors with the University Learning Center.

Available assistantships across the UNCW campus are posted by Student Affairs as well as the Graduate School on their webpage for current students at; look under the Assistantships section at right. (You’ll also find information on this page about travel grants and other available scholarships and fellowships.) As we hear about any job positions that become available, we send out notification emails, and then students apply. Most are announced at the beginning of the campus fiscal year: July 1st-mid Fall, though we forward opportunities throughout the year as we receive them. Once enrolled at UNCW, you would be able to apply for part-time positions in such departments as Campus Recreation, and you will be able to set up a Handshake account to connect with employment opportunities both on campus and in the area.

While we do not normally offer Teaching Assistantships in the second- or third year, there are other opportunities to get teaching experience for pay or internship credit:

  1. as a paid writing consultant in the UNCW Writing Center, as well as part-time ULC tutoring jobs (accompanied by national tutor certification)
  2. a semester-long Directed Individual Study (DIS) in the Department of Creative Writing (3-credit). This DIS allows the student to participate in teaching a section of CRW 201, Introduction to Creative Writing, along with the first year GTAs (student must also enroll in the 3-credit graduate Pedagogy course). Our FAQs for current students ( will give more Pedagogy and DIS details.
  3. You might also be interested in our Writers in Action outreach program where MFA students volunteer to teach a creative writing class to area middle schoolers (and are paid for) a couple of hours a week.

A final consideration to note: UNCW’s tuition and fee rates are very reasonable when compared to other programs across the nation. (In fact, UNCW has been named a Best College Value for 2019 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, ranking in the top 100 public universities.) Additionally, all out-of-state MFA students are able to apply for in-state residency for the purpose of tuition and fees starting in their second year. (A few students have, in the past, opted for part-time rates in the first year until they could apply for residency.)

It’s a lot to think about, and we want you to make the decision that’s best for you. Please let us know if you have any questions, or if we can be of further help.

Lisa Bertini, MFA Program Assistant
Kenan Hall 1202
Department of Creative Writing
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403-5938
(910) 962-3070

Melissa Crowe, MFA Program Coordinator
Kenan Hall 1207
Department of Creative Writing
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403-5938
(910) 962-3331