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MA & PhD Application

We admit students to the MA and PhD programs in rhetoric and scientific & technical communication (RSTC) only for the fall semester of each year. You must have completed a bachelor's degree before you can begin our MA program. A master's in a related discipline such as rhetoric, technical and professional communication, English, or communication studies is required to enter the PhD program. MA students making satisfactory progress have the opportunity to continue on to the PhD and transfer in most of their master's credits.

The GRE is not required for acceptance into our programs, nor is there a minimum required GPA. Instead, your grades are considered holistically along with your portfolio materials, background, and research interests to determine if you are a good match for our programs.

All application materials should be submitted electronically via the online admissions system.

Application deadline: January 5th

The Department of Writing Studies currently anticipates welcoming an incoming class for the 2021-22 academic year. However, due to the financial implications of COVID-19, we are awaiting further guidance from the College of Liberal Arts regarding their plans and policies for admissions in 2021. Our decisions will also be guided by our commitment to supporting our students and ensuring that they have the resources they need to be safe, healthy, and productive. 

For these reasons, we recommend that prospective applicants wait to submit applications and pay application fees until closer to the January 5 deadline. In the meantime, we encourage prospective students to contact faculty with whom they wish to work and to continue preparing application materials. We will update this space as soon as we know more.

October 15 Update: The University’s graduate application system for College of Liberal Arts programs has been temporarily closed to submissions. Current applications will remain active in the system and prospective students may still initiate an application. However, the ability to submit an application will be locked until at least October 31. We anticipate further updates at that time.

November 9 Update: We continue to wait for more information from the College of Liberal Arts at this time. Our advice to applicants remains as follows: please continue your work on application materials but do not submit applications or pay application fees until closer to the January 5 deadline. We anticipate providing our next update by mid-December.

The Graduate School must receive all of the following materials by the deadline before your application will be considered for fall semester admission. Please work closely with your recommenders and advise them on deadlines to ensure their letters are submitted before the application deadline. 

Please contact our graduate programs coordinator, Laura Luepke, at 612-624-4761 or if you have any questions.

Application Parts How to submit
Graduate School application Please read the Graduate School’s application instructions and apply online. All materials should be submitted through the Graduate School’s online system.
Department supplemental application form Complete the MA/PhD application form and upload it under the “Graduate Program Additional Materials" in the "Materials" section in the online admissions system.
Application fee As specified by the Graduate School. See more information about fees.
Statements (Materials tab of the online application) Personal Statement: In a statement of no more than 1000 words, explain why you want to study in our department and, if relevant, describe your post-secondary academic training and how the MA or PhD will build on it. Be as specific as you can, linking your interests and areas of experience to areas of study and expertise in our department. In particular, we encourage you to identify a potential faculty advisor whose research interests match your own, indicating whether or not you have been in contact with this person.
Diversity Statement: This statement is optional but strongly encouraged and will be taken into consideration if submitted. The recommended length for the diversity statement is approximately 500 words (2 pages).

Extenuating Circumstances Statement: Answering this statement is optional, but it will be taken into consideration if submitted. 
Transcripts (Academic History tab of the online application) Upload unofficial transcripts or academic records from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail paper copies of your transcripts; you do not need official transcripts or academic records for initial review.

If you are admitted, the University will request official copies of this material. This material must be sent directly to the Graduate School Admissions Office from the institutions(s) before you will be allowed to enroll.

See important information about uploading your transcripts and credentials.
Curriculum vitae or resume (Materials tab of the online application) Please provide a curriculum vitae that includes mention of any academic awards or honors you have received.
Recommendations (3)
Letters of recommendation should be submitted through the Graduate School's online application system. At least one letter should come from your advisor, major professor, or department chair. Recommendations from faculty are highly encouraged, although letters written by employers are also accepted. Formal letters submitted on letterhead as PDF attachments are preferred.
Note: You are encouraged to communicate submission deadlines directly to recommenders. The automated email request message will not communicate that information.

If necessary, letters may be sent directly by recommenders to:
Department of Writing Studies
214 Nolte Center
315 Pillsbury Dr. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Attn: Graduate Programs Coordinator
Writing samples (2) (Materials tab of online application) Upload two writing samples of academic or professional work.

At least one sample must demonstrate your ability to carry out research and construct an argument based on research. (Fewer than 20 pages for each sample, please.)
Test scores: English language test scores For non-native English speakers: TOEFL, IELTS.

See more information about TOEFL and IELTS scores and how to submit them.