Admission Requirements

The Rainier Writing Workshop is selective. We are looking for motivated adults with established writing and reading habits, and who want to raise their work to a new level. The program and its mentorships are grounded in the balance between collaboration and independence. Each participant will receive individualized, strategic guidance from their mentors – in the context of the participant’s clear ownership of his or her own goals and projects. The ability to work independently, the willingness to listen and learn, the desire to strongly engage in critical reading and writing, the eagerness to take on challenges, the desire to contribute to a vibrantly supportive community of writers – these are the qualities needed to succeed in The Rainier Writing Workshop.

“I can’t recommend this program highly enough. There is a dedication to craft, learning, experimentation, and a culture of collegiality. When I talk to people in other MFA programs, I am always thankful for the unique experience that is RWW.”

We admit writers of various aesthetic dispositions, from a variety of personal and professional backgrounds, from all parts of the country. Writing that deeply inquires into the world and the self, that is thoughtfully utilizing craft, that is beautiful and complex and passionate – this is what we look for in the work being done by our participants. Literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are the main emphases of the program, though many of our alumni have published in popular as well as literary genres. We encourage our participants to work in more than one genre, and are interested in applicants who seriously work in multiple genres. Our goal is to help our participants build on their technical resources as writers, help them define their literary ambitions and goals, and help them create a sustainable writing life.

When we evaluate applications for the program, these are the components of the application that we prioritize especially: the writing sample, the personal statement, the critical writing sample, and the letters of recommendation. We do not require scores from the GRE exam. Please see the How to Apply page for more information and guidelines about specific items for the application. Admitted applicants who already hold an MA in writing or literature may be allowed to complete the program in two years and three residencies, though this will be at the discretion of the program. If you have questions about admission requirements that are not addressed on this page, contact the program director, Rick Barot: via phone at 253-535-7318, or via email at