Admission, Expenses, and Financial Aid


To apply to the master of arts (M.A.) in American and English literature or the master of fine arts (M.F.A.) in creative writing programs, students may access the online application.   

Students admitted to the Sewanee School of Letters must have completed a Bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution.  That degree need not have been in English or Creative Writing, but admitted students must be able to demonstrate, with academic transcripts, writing samples, and letters of recommendation, adequate preparation in English and American Literature, the conventions of literary criticism, and – for the MFA program – proficiency at writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, playwriting or screenwriting.  Additionally students must demonstrate, through a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation, the seriousness required for graduate-level study.

Basic Requirements

  • A completed application form.
  • For applicants to the M.F.A. program, a writing sample should include 8 to 10 pages of poems, 15 to 25 pages of fiction or literary nonfiction, or 25-30 pages of a play or screenplay; for applicants to the M.A. program, a writing sample should include 15 to 25 pages of critical prose from one or more essays.
  • An application statement.
  • An application fee of $40.
  • Two letters of recommendation from former professors or other persons able to evaluate potential for graduate study.
  • Official transcripts (electronic or paper) from all colleges and graduate schools previously attended should be sent from those institutions directly to:

Sewanee School of Letters
University of the South
735 University Avenue
Sewanee, TN  37383

Applications for 2019 will be accepted beginning December 1, and will be read beginning January 31 until the entering class is full or until April 30, 2019. 

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year: 

Tuition: $2,766 per three-credit course
Fees: $175

Refund Policy

If a student, after registration, is dismissed or withdraws for any cause except illness, he or she is not entitled to any refund of the sum paid to the University or to the cancellation of any sum due to the University. Refunds for a withdrawal because of illness are calculated by prorating fees for the period from the date of withdrawal to the end of the session. The amounts to be prorated are one-half of tuition and room charges and three-fourths of the board charge. No refund is made for the activity fee or any other fee. Notice of withdrawal and requests for refund must be made in writing addressed to the director of the School of Letters and must be accompanied by a written notice from the health care provider stating that the illness-withdrawal is recommended.

Financial Aid

Admission decisions are made without regard to financial need. More information regarding financial aid may be obtained by contacting the Financial Aid representative to the School of Letters at (931) 598-1312 or, or at the Office of Admission and Financial Aid website.

Information for admitted students about the Code of Conduct and Student Rights and Responsibilities as related to need-based aid may be found here.

The Bill and Leslye Altemeier Scholarship

The Altemeier Scholarship is typically awarded to a public school teacher in each entering class. Thanks to the generosity of Bill and Leslye Altemeier of San Antonio, the award typically covers the recipient’s full tuition for four summers of classwork at the School of Letters and a fifth year to be spent on additional classwork or on writing an original thesis. Students may pursue either the M.A. or the M.F.A. degree. Applications must be received by March 1.

The William Peterfield Trent Scholarships

Applicants to the M.A. program can also apply for the William Peterfield Trent scholarship, named for the distinguished Sewanee English professor (1888-1900) and founding editor of the Sewanee Review. These merit-based scholarships will cover 20% of tuition and are renewable for each year the recipient continues to make satisfactory progress toward the degree.​ Students should indicate their interest in this scholarship on their application.