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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of English and Literary Arts

Department of English

Graduate Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions please contact us at or 303-871-2249.

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 shortly after the deadline and make initial decisions in mid-February (mid-March for MA decisions).

Where is the list of specific application requirements?

  • View your program's specific application requirements and deadlines here.

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.

What exams are required for admission?

  • Applying students need to take the GRE General Test. International applicants must take the TOEFL or IELTS. As of 2016, applicants are no longer required to take the GRE subject test.

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 or primarily online?

  • The program is designed to be full-time 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 many years are Ph.D. students funded for?

  • Doctoral students are fully funded for three years; fourth year funding is awarded on a competitive basis through a limited number of fellowships.

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.

Can I visit?

  • Absolutely! If you’d like to visit, please email us, 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 us 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.