How to Apply

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 Regarding English Proficiency Test Scores for International Applicants: English accepts the tests and minimum test scores specified by the Graduate School here:

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 be included in the statement of purpose.  
  2. Diversity statement: The English Department at the University of Minnesota is committed to diversity and inclusion in graduate education, and in the profession of literary studies broadly. In a statement 1-2 pages in length, please describe how your background has affected your decision to pursue graduate study at the University of Minnesota. Include any personal, familial, educational, cultural, or economic challenges or opportunities that have shaped your life experiences to this point. The statement should also detail your commitment to inclusion and diversity.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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 79
    IELTS 6.5

    Students whose native language is not English who have taken a minimum of one year of recent coursework (within two years of their application) at an English language university in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, or New Zealand may not have to submit English examination scores. For more information, please refer to the Graduate School's English proficiency guidelines.

  7. DOVE and ICGC Fellowships: Two university-wide 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 of these, note this on the English and Creative Writing form in the online application. DOVE fellowship applicants should confirm this in the diversity statement. If you wish to be considered for the ICGC fellowship, upload a statement about your research in the section Graduate Program Additional Material, and label the document "Interdisciplinary Fellowship Statement.” You will also need to submit a Request for Departmental Nomination, as explained on the ICGC website. Submit that form along with your ICGC statement.