Home : Coed Graduate Programs : Children's Book Writing & Illustrating : Details

Hollins University
Graduate Center
PO Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
(540) 362-6575
(540) 362-6288 (Fax)

Ashley Wolff class


Chris Soenpiet




Collage class


Degree requirements

Sixty credits are required for the M.F.A. degree. Each student will undertake four 500-level art courses of 6 credits each, an independent study in art based on the student’s specific focus, six 500-level English courses of 4 credits each, plus 8 thesis credits for a total of 60 credits to attain the degree.

Fees and Financial Aid

Tuition for the 2015 summer term is $798 per credit hour. Hollins may offer partial tuition remission to certain qualified students, and student loans are also available. To apply, applicants should indicate their financial need on the application for admission. There is also a $40 nonrefundable processing fee.

New students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $400 within two weeks of their acceptance. Returning students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $200 by May 15. All deposits will be credited toward summer tuition charges.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Scholarship

The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Scholarship is a yearly competitive award that carries a $1,000 scholarship and a reading by an editor from one of HMH's three hardcover imprints: Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt, or Clarion. Learn more (PDF) »


Housing is available for 2015 in student apartments (private bedroom with shared living room, kitchen, and bath) or in dormitory rooms (communal kitchen and one bath per hall). The cost is $1,080 for the six-week term.


Books and papers of poet William Jay Smith and children's editor Barbara Lucas are recent additions to the notable collection of children's books donated by Francelia Butler, former editor-in-chief of Children's Literature, the field's leading scholarly journal. In 1992, Butler moved the editorship to Hollins in recognition of Hollins' longtime commitment to the writing and study of children's literature and the reputation of the Hollins program in English and creative writing. The library also possesses many original papers and manuscripts of Margaret Wise Brown.


In support of the M.F.A. program in Children's Book Writing & Illustrating, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is committed to preserving, protecting, and showcasing the work of children’s book illustrators. This growing collection of illustrations features original paintings by Ruth Sanderson and Ashley Wolff, as well as a number of historic prints. The museum is excited to continue to build the collection and looks forward to more exhibitions featuring the work of prominent children's book illustrators.


Do I need to send my GRE scores?
GRE scores are not required, but may be submitted.

I don't see a letter of recommendation form. Did I miss it?
We do not have a form for letters of recommendation. Just have your referees write a letter. A hard copy of the letter may be mailed to Hollins University Graduate Center, P.O. Box 9603, Roanoke, VA 24020-1603 or it may be sent directly to us from the referee via email to hugrad@hollins.edu. Remember that three letters of recommendation are required.

I need financial aid. How do I apply for it?
We offer student loans and some need-based grants. To apply, complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), found online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. Wait a few weeks for the paperwork to clear, and then contact our Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance at (540) 362-6332 or sfa@hollins.edu to follow-up on the paperwork. Students may wish to search for funding on their own as well. Check FastWeb.com and FinAid.org. Both websites provide information regarding student grants and scholarships that may be available.

What kind of writing sample do I need to send?
You should send 10-20 pages of your best creative work. The writing sample may be mailed in or submitted online to hugrad@hollins.edu.

What kind of portfolio do I need to send?
The portfolio presented for application should demonstrate your ability to pursue a graduate program with children’s book illustration as an integral part. The portfolio should be submitted digitally and include six to ten pieces for review. Jpgs around 600 X 1000 pixels are ideal. The portfolio should be submitted online to hugrad@hollins.edu.


Applying to the M.F.A. in Children’s Book Writing & Illustrating

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. They must give evidence, by undergraduate record, submission of writing samples, submission of portfolio, and letters of recommendation, of their capacity to undertake the program.

The deadline for receipt of all materials is February 15.

Further information on the program may be requested from:

  • Amanda Cockrell or Ruth Sanderson, co-directors
  • M.F.A. in Children’s Book Writing & Illustrating
  • Hollins University
  • P.O. Box 9603
  • Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
  • Phone: (540) 362-6575
  • Fax: (540) 362-6288
  • Email: hugrad@hollins.edu

Application checklist

Application materials being sent through postal mail should be addressed to:

  • Hollins University Graduate Center
  • P.O. Box 9603
  • Roanoke, VA 24020-1603

Any items being submitted electronically should be sent to: hugrad@hollins.edu.

  • Application for admission.
  • Nonrefundable processing fee ($40)
  • Statement of educational objectives
  • Writing sample (10-20 pages of your best creative work)
  • Portfolio (should be submitted digitally and include six to ten pieces for review)
  • Three letters of recommendation (Recommendations may be sent through postal mail or emailed by the recommender on his/her letterhead to hugrad@hollins.edu)
  • Transcripts of all undergraduate work (certified electronic transcripts are accepted)
  • Transcripts of any graduate work (certified electronic transcripts are accepted)