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How to Apply

The deadline to submit all materials for
PhD, MFA and MA applications is December 1.
 Applications are accepted
for fall semester admission only.

Please direct any questions regarding
graduate English programs to

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.

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 their 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. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores: Applicants for the PhD and MA are required to submit GRE general test scores, unless their native language is not English (see below). The Subject test is required only for applicants who had narrative undergraduate transcripts rather than grades.

    Please have your GRE results sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the University. The University of Minnesota institution code is 6874. The department code is 2501 for the PhD and MA. You will also enter your GRE scores on the ApplyYourself application.
  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 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. In this case, they would need to take the GRE General Exam.

  7. 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.