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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of English

Department of English

Graduate Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

How many new graduate students do you admit each year?

  • We usually admit 10 new PhD graduate students a year, and we receive roughly 150 applications a year.  We also admit four or five MA graduate students in literary studies.

How often do you admit graduate students? Can I enter the program during the winter or spring quarters?

  • We have only one admissions period during the year and admit only for the fall quarter.

What is the schedule for application decisions?

  • Typically, we begin evaluating applications in late January and make initial decisions in mid-February.

Where is the list of specific application requirements?

Can I apply for the PhD without a MA or MFA? What if my MA/MFA is in a different field?

  • The PhD application requires an MA or MFA to be completed by the time you start the PhD program. If your MA/MFA is in a different field, you can still apply to the program. The application requires that you have a master’s degree that shows satisfactory preparation, grades and potential for advanced study in English.

Can I apply without the GRE General Test or Subject Test?

  • We will consider applications without the subject test (the general tests are easy to do on-line; the subject test is much more irregular). Applicants who have not taken the subject test by January 1 must have signed up for the April test to be considered. Acceptance into the program is contingent on taking the April subject test. All applicants, including Creative Writing applicants and MA applicants, must take both the General GRE and Subject tests.

Do you have minimum scores for the GRE tests?

  • The application is considered holistically, so there is not a minimum score for these tests. For the general test, don't worry about the analytic and math scores. The only ones that matter are the language and subject scores, and we can be forgiving about low scores if the student's writing is brilliant.

What is the university code for sending my test scores?

  • The ETS Institution Code for tests is 4842. There is not a separate department code.

I took the GRE more than 5 years ago. Do I have to retake the test?

  • Yes. GRE scores expire after 5 years, so you will need to retake the exam.

How long should the academic writing sample be?

  • There is no minimum or maximum page requirement for the academic sample, however, please keep in mind that the review committee will be reviewing many applications and may not be able to read your entire piece if it is very lengthy.

How long should the creative writing sample be?

  • For fiction, no more than 30 pages. For poetry, 5-10 poems.

How can I send in my letters of recommendation?

  • All application materials should be sent electronically to the Office of Graduate Studies.   These letters should be solicited and uploaded by recommenders through the online application system. Letters must be received by the program’s stated deadline.

Do you have a concentration in nonfiction?

  • We don’t have a specific nonfiction concentration, but we have admitted nonfiction Creative Writing students in the past. You’ll need to apply either to the poetry or the fiction track (in the Creative Writing program), but the program is reasonably elastic beyond the application process.

Can I attend part-time, low-residency, or online?

  • The program is designed to be full-time, full-residency, and online classes are rarely offered. You may attend part-time, but all departmental financial awards (teaching assistantships, fellowships) require full-time attendance.

I am an international applicant. Where can I get more information?

How do I apply for teaching assistantships?

  • There is no separate application for our assistantships and fellowships.  All applicants are automatically considered for those awards during the admissions process. If you are offered admission into the PhD program, you will also be offered a teaching assistantship. MA students do not receive any teaching assistantships, but they frequently get significant tuition reductions.

Where can I find more details about the teaching fellowships, course sequencing, or my teaching load?

Can I visit?

  • Absolutely! If you’d like to visit, please contact Aja Murray,  (ext. 1-2249) AHSS Graduate Student Services Manager, to set up a meeting. Due to the high number of applicants, faculty unfortunately cannot meet with PhD applicants. However, they are able to meet with MA applicants. Please contact Aja for more information.

Can I talk to a current student?            

We prefer to wait until we've accepted a student to the program to give out the names and e-mails of current students. Otherwise current students might be swamped with queries.