Literary Arts

International Applicants

The Literary Arts Department welcomes applications from candidates from around the globe — in recent years, students from abroad have accounted for around 10 to 30% of the students enrolled in the MFA program.

For all candidates, the primary focus of the department's review is the quality of the writing sample.

Over the last two decades, all incoming MFA students (including international students) received full funding; packages for Literary Arts students generally take the following form:

  • In the first year, all graduate students receive a fellowship that pays a monthly stipend and provides tuition remission, the health fee and health insurance. Fellowships do not require employment or teaching.
  • In the second year, a teaching assistantship pays a monthly stipend and provides tuition remission, the health fee and health insurance.

Special Considerations

Confirming Language Proficiency

Language proficiency exams are not required of those students who have earned a degree from a non-U.S. university where the primary language of instruction is English, or from a college or university in the United States, or in any of the following countries: Australia, Bahamas, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada (except Quebec), Ethiopia, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Gambia, Uganda, United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales), West Indies, Zambia.

Language Test Waiver

  • Once you have submitted your application through CollegeNET – you may request the language test waiver by sending an email to
  • Students with degrees from universities in countries not on this list should have their university Registrar or Dean provide an official letter to the student, referencing the applicant's name and proposed area of study, stating that English is the primary language of instruction for that institution. The applicant should submit a scanned copy of this letter along with the transcript at the time of application (and you take care of this within the application itself).
  • Students attending or holding degrees from schools located abroad but run by an American institution of higher education may be eligible for a language proficiency exam waiver. You should request the waiver at the time you apply (waivers are not granted in advance).
  • If you are seeking a waiver, we recommend that you apply early (in late September or early October) so that you will know the outcome of the request for a waiver as early as possible). In this way, if the waiver is not granted, you should still have time to take the language proficiency test.

TOEFL or IELTS Reporting

For TOEFL results, the Brown code is 3094; the department code should be left blank. For IELTS results, ask that your score be sent to: Brown University, Graduate School, Box 1867, Providence RI 02912, USA.

Should you prefer to do so, you may self-report your scores when applying; should the Graduate School offer you admission, you would be required to provide the official scores at that time. If you provide self-reported scores rather than the official scores, your application file will carry the notation of "incomplete"; however, it will be given full review and consideration by the department and would be at no disadvantage when reviewed by our faculty.

TOEFL or IELTS Minimum Scores

For TOEFL, the minimum score for admission consideration is 577 on the paper-based test and 90 on the Internet-based test. For IELTS, the minimum overall band score is 7. Beyond meeting the minimum score requirement, performance on either test will have no more than a nominal role in the department's admission recommendation.

The Three-Year B.A.

Brown University accepts the three-year B.A. as qualification for the MFA in Literary Arts. Your degree may be in any field.