Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Deadline for Applications: February 2

1. What do you mean by “bilingual”? Do all applicants need to be bilingual, and how do your classes work?

You do not need to be bilingual to apply to the program. But because we draw students and faculty from both the U.S. and Latin America, with varying degrees of fluency in Spanish or English, our classes are dynamic environments in which discussions move fluidly between languages. In these classes, students read literature in Spanish and English; and within our workshops, students generate and comment on writing in both languages. As a result of this interaction, many become proficient in both languages. Nonetheless, most students choose to write their theses in their dominant language or native tongue.

2. How and where do I apply to the Residential Bilingual MFA in Creative Writing Program?

Applications are completed on-line through the Graduate School. You may also follow the instructions included in the Application Process page. All materials for the applications are to be submitted through the Graduate School’s online system. Your file will then be forwarded to us for evaluation. Application fee is $45.00 for applicants from the U.S. and Mexico, and $85.00 for international students. Deadline to apply is February 2nd. If you have problems with the application process, call David Vizcaíno, Coordinator of Graduate Enrollment:, (915) 747-5491

3. In addition to the application, what other materials do I need to submit?

The following materials are also submitted online, along with the application: A Bachelor’s degree in any field of study An official transcript of undergraduate studies A writing sample, consisting of 8–10 Poems or 20 pages of fiction, play, screenplay, or creative non-fiction (please send ONLY the indicated number of pages) Three letters of recommendation from those who are familiar with your literary and academic work Statement of purpose (guidelines for this are given in the Explanation of Requirements page) All students must fill out a Graduate School application, which is sent directly to the Graduate School, and must pay an application fee.

4. When I apply for the program, do I have to apply separately for financial assistance?

No. All prospective students who apply will be considered for a teaching assistantship when their application is reviewed.

5. How much does the teaching assistantship pay and what does it cover?

The teaching assistantship pays approximately $1,300 per month for 20 hours of work per week, resulting in about $12,000 per year. Pay starts the 1st of October and ends the first of June. Tuition is not covered by the teaching assistantship, which currently is approximately $2,400 per semester (for a total of 9 hours of study, or three courses, per semester).

6. What does a teaching assistantship entail?

First-year teaching assistants take a pedagogy course in either the English or the Language and Linguistics departments in their first semester, and during their second semester, observe or assist an instructor. In addition to pedagogical duties, first-year teaching assistants may be assigned to a faculty member to assist in various departmental needs.

7. Do students receive financial support during the summer?

Teaching assistants are paid while school is in session. This means that they do not receive payment during winter break (mid-Dec. to mid-Jan.), nor during summer vacation (mid-May to mid-August). Some courses are offered and taught during summer vacation, but most students do not teach classes during the summer.

8. How many students are in the program?

Next semester, the program will have 35 graduate students, in their first, second and third years.

9. Where do graduate students normally live? Is on-campus housing available for grad students?

Many students live within a few miles of the university, often in the Sunset Heights or Kern Place neighborhoods. Monthly rents can vary between $350 and $600, which often doesn’t include utilities. Some students, however, share apartments as well as costs. Another option is Miner Village (a student dormitory); to compare the price of this on-campus residence with off-campus housing, please visit UTEP and look for information about Miner Village.

10. What kind of area is the university in? Is it directly in the city?

UTEP is situated close to downtown El Paso, in an area called Central. It is also close to the Santa Fe Bridge, which is one of the bridges that crosses into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The university is also near retail shops, supermarkets, restaurants and nightlife.

11. Can the program be completed in two years?

The program is meant to be completed in three years. Although some courses are available in the summer, it would be difficult to finish in two.

12. Who do I contact if I have further questions?

Assistants to the Director of Graduate Studies, Bilingual MFA: (Spanish) (English) Director of Graduate Studies, Bilingual MFA: Dr. Jose de Pierola