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How to Apply

Please direct any questions regarding
graduate English programs to

Literature Admissions Paused

As a result of the financial pressures created by the pandemic, we will not be accepting applications fall 2020 for enrollment in the MA or PhD program next year (2021-22). For admission to the MFA, please see the Creative Writing Program. We look forward to resuming admissions and reviewing your application in fall 2021 for MA and PhD enrollment in the academic year 2022-23. Please revisit this website next summer for updated information.

To apply to the English literature program you must complete the online application, uploading the materials described below. (To apply to the MFA program, see the creative writing website.) As part of the application, you will be asked to choose a subfield and to calculate your English GPA. A master's degree is not required for admission to the PhD.

Note: GRE scores are not required.

Application Materials

  1. Statement of purpose: A statement no longer than 1000 words that focuses on giving the admissions committee a clear sense of your readiness for graduate work in English language and literature. PhD and MA applicants should avoid making the statement of purpose a personal statement weighed down with autobiographical anecdotes. Applicants should indicate which of the department’s subfields best fits with their goals and how the faculty at the University of Minnesota can further their interests.  Note: a  separate 'research statement' is not necessary as your research interests past and present should included in the statement of purpose.  For the 'diversity statement' see item 7 below.
  2. Transcripts: Your unofficial transcript from each college or university that you have attended is required. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English.
  3. Writing sample: For the PhD or MA, your sample should be expository, typically a paper for a literature course that represents your interests and skills (20 pages maximum).
  4. Three letters of recommendation: Paper copies are not accepted. Applicants who wish to use Interfolio should follow instructions on the Interfolio website. Preferred recommendations come from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work. PhD or MA applicants may include other recommenders such as employers if you have been away from academia a substantial length of time.
  5. TOEFL or other English language examinations: Students whose native language is not English are required to submit scores from one of the following English proficiency examinations:
    Examination Minimum Score
    TOEFL 105
    MELAB 88
    IELTS 7.5

    Students whose native language is not English who have taken a minimum of one year of recent coursework at an English language university in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, or New Zealand may not have to submit English examination scores.

  6. Diversity Statement: Two diversity fellowships are also available for incoming graduate students: Diversity of Views and Experience (DOVE) and Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change. If you feel that you qualify for either fellowship and would like to be considered for nomination, please submit a statement explaining your candidacy. Label the document either "Diversity Fellowship Statement" or "Interdisciplinary Fellowship Statement." If you are submitting either of these documents with your application, please upload them through your online graduate school application under Diversity Statement.  If you do not feel you qualify for these fellowships, you do not need to provide a Diversity Statement.