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Tuition & Financial Aid

Fellowships in Writing and Community Engagement

Continuing the Mills College tradition of experimentation, the English Department is pleased to offer a small number of competitive full-tuition fellowships to applicants entering the MFA and MA programs. The fellowships in writing and community engagement are designed to support the development of innovative, even risky, ways of presenting and/or teaching poetry, prose, literature, and book art.

As the number of full-time teaching positions in higher education declines across the United States, Mills seeks projects that explore ways of making literature available outside the academy, broaden access to to the arts, and utilize creative approaches to writing as a force for social change. Under the mentorship of the College's renowned faculty, fellows will have the unique opportunity to design and implement a writing-related community project during the course of their graduate program.

Examples of projects that inspired the creation of these fellowships include:

  • Mark Nowak's poetry workshops with auto workers in the United States and South Africa
  • Rhodessa Jones’ storytelling and theater work with The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, and more recently, The Medea Project: HIV Circle
  • Heriberto Yepez' public poetry signage in Tijuana
  • the Off / Page project, a collaboration between the Center for Investigative Reporting and Youth Speaks
  • the Bard Prison Initiative, which creates the opportunity for incarcerated men and women to earn a college degree while in prison

Application Instructions 

Applicants should follow and complete the usual application processes for the MFA and MA programs by the priority application deadline of January 15. 

All materials for applications for the full-tuition assistantship itself are also due January 15 as per instructions below.

To apply, please submit a brief statement (approx. 1,000 words) that outlines a project you would like to pursue during the MFA or MA program. Applicants are encouraged to imagine a project that in some way propels poetry, prose, literature, and book art into new encounters outside the academy. Projects might explore new ways of teaching writing and/or literature, expanding arts access, creating new forms of public performance, and/or promoting social change outside the academy. Proposals may be a continuation of work you are already doing. 

You may list Internet links to any supporting media for your project proposal, such as images, sound files, maps, etc (but this is not required). Please do not embed hyperlinks in text; proposals will be printed and read on paper.

You may also submit a CV or resume that demonstrates any relevant experience and skills.

Please email the proposalvia the online application

Include “your name/Fellowship in Writing and Community Engagement” in the subject and body at the top of your proposal.

Judging Criteria

  1. Creativity/innovation
  2. Potential for social impact/change
  3. Feasibility for completion in 1–2 years and in San Francisco Bay Area location

Application Deadline:
 January 15

Along with the fellowships in writing and community engagement, the English Department also offers a number of partial-tuition graduate assistantships. We encourage all applicants to the MFA and MA programs—including applicants to the community fellowships—to also apply for graduate assistantships in which they are interested. Students will only be awarded one assistantship per year.


If you have any questions, please contact:
Patricia Powell, Chair of Graduate Programs in English


Last Updated: 8/19/16