Why Mills

P: 510.430.3309

E: grad-admission@mills.edu

If you have a specific question for a faculty member, please contact grad_eng@mills.edu.

Application Information

Application Deadlines

For the MFA in Translation, the priority deadline for receipt of all application materials is February 1 for the June residency, and October 15 for the January residency. This program accepts applications on a space available basis after the deadline - please contact us to learn more. 

For the MFA in Creative Writing, the MFA in Book Art & Creative Writing, and the MA in English Language and Literatures, the priority deadline for receipt of all application materials is January 15 for fall admission. These programs accept applications on a space available basis after the deadline until July 15. Students interested in applying for the Community Engagement Fellowship must apply by the January 15th priority scholarship deadline. Please see our tuition and financial aid page for more information about the fellowship. The MFA in Creative Writing program may consider applications for spring admission. Please contact us for more information.

Additional details about the admission and application process can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Required Materials

All applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Graduate application with $50 application fee.

  • Statement of purpose. See further details below.

  • Writing sample. See further details below.

  • Statement of experience and interest. (Book Art and MA applicants only) See further details below.

  • Visual portfolio. (Book Art applicants only) See further details below.

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. See further details below.

  • Two letters of recommendation. See further details below.

  • English proficiency requirement. (For non-native English speakers). See further details below.

  • Additional requirements for international students. See further details below.


Statement of Purpose

A general framework for your statement of purpose should include a brief intellectual autobiography describing the formation of your academic or artistic interests and present concerns; your reasons for wanting to study at Mills College; and a description of tentative plans for the use of your degree and the special areas of interest upon which your study would focus.

Writing Sample

In addition to the statement of purpose, all applicants to any of our graduate English programs must submit a writing sample, as follows:

  • MFA in Translation: Submit a 20-30 page writing sample of original translation along with original source material.
  • MA in English Language and Literatures: Submit a 15-20 page sample essay.
  • MFA in Book Art & Creative Writing: Submit a creative writing sample for the appropriate genre below.
  • MFA in Creative Writing - Non-Fiction or Fiction: Submit a 15-20 page writing sample; may be a short story or excerpt  from a longer novel or memoir. 
  • MFA in Creative Writing - Poetry: Submit 15-20 pages of poetry.

Statement of Experience and Interest

MA in English Language and Literatures applicants must submit a brief statement (approximately 250 words) that describes your relevant skills, experience, and interest in any of the following areas: tutoring, teaching, and any previous coursework or training in teaching and pedagogy of writing.

Book Art and Creative Writing applicants must submit a brief statement (approximately 250 words) that describes your relevant skills, experience, and interest in any of the following areas: book production and studio work (including letterpress and printmaking experience), hand or edition binding, gallery curation and installation, social media, print design, event planning, community outreach, or teaching.

Book Art Visual Portfolio

Book Art applicants must submit a visual portfolio of 15–25 digital images in addition to the written portfolio sample for the applicable creative writing program. We are particularly interested in portfolio materials that demonstrate your skills in conceptualizing the space of the book, but portfolios can include any visual media. Please note:

  • Books, photographs, prints, drawings, and installation documentation are all welcomed.
  • For each book, send at least two - but no more than five - images. Each image will count in the overall number of 15-25 images.
  • Videos, performance pieces, books, installation, and other time-based work can be included. Video submissions should total no more than 10 minutes. Time-based work can be submitted in place of or in addition to still images: this work will not count against the number of still images.
  • Scrapbooks, journals, graphic design or commercial work, and blank books will not be considered.
  • Work for hire will not be considered.


Official transcript with grades from each post-secondary institution attended toward receipt of bachelor's degree should be sent directly by each institution to the Office of Graduate Admissions. If you obtained your bachelor’s degree outside the US, you are required to have your transcript evaluated by a NACES member organization. If the transcript is written in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

Please Note:
Admission to graduate or post-baccalaureate study at Mills College is contingent upon the successful completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. If you are still completing your degree at the time of application, send official transcripts showing work completed and in progress. Immediately upon completion of the baccalaureate degree requirements, it is your responsibility to send a final transcript with the degree posted to our office. If you have not completed your bachelor's degree and are not currently enrolled in a degree completion program, please contact us directly to discuss.

Hard-copy transcripts should be sent to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
Mills College
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
MB #45
Oakland, CA 94613

Digital transcripts can be sent through a verified service to: grad-admission@mills.edu

Two Letters of Recommendation

Recommendation forms are part of the online application or can be sent directly by the recommender to the Office of Graduate Admissions via postal mail or email. Applicants to the Language & Literatures, Creative Writing, and Book Art programs should include at least one academic letter of recommendation from a former professor. Applicants to the Translation program may submit professional recommendations.

English Proficiency Requirement

 All non-native speakers of English are required to show proof of English language proficiency unless they hold a bachelor’s degree from an English speaking, regionally accredited university or college located in the US, Canada, Australia, or Great Britain. Mills College accepts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the English Language School (ELS) Certificate.

Graduate programs in English require minimum TOEFL scores of 600 on the paper-based TOEFL, 100 for the internet-based TOEFL, an IELTS overall band-score of 7.0 or higher, or the ELS Level 112 Certificate.  

More information about these exams is available online at www.ets.org/toeflwww.ielts.org, and www.els.edu.

Additional Requirements for International Students

Prior to enrollment, applicants who require a visa for studying at Mills are required to submit a Certification of Finances form and bank statement. International students should also submit a scanned copy of their passport biographical page. These documents do not need to be submitted with the application materials. An I-20 cannot be issued without these documents. Additional information about these forms and all other requirements for international students can be found here.

 If you have any questions about admission requirements, deadlines, or applying to Mills, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 510.430.3309 or grad-admission@mills.edu.


Last Updated: 9/14/16