PhD Applicant FAQs

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Is it possible to apply to both the MA and PhD programs?
Unfortunately, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will only allow application to one graduate program per year. Please target your application to your desired program.
I don’t have a Master’s degree. Can I apply directly to the PhD program instead of the MA program?
Any applicant holding a Bachelor’s degree is eligible to apply for the English PhD program. You would earn your MA degree in passing as you complete the requirements for the PhD.
If I graduate from the MA program, will I move on to the PhD program?
If you initially enter our graduate program through the standalone MA or joint MA program, you will need to reapply in order to be considered for the PhD program.
How long should my Statement of Purpose be?
Though there is no formal word minimum or maximum for the Statement of Purpose, it should be about 1-3 pages.
What should I submit for my writing sample?
Please submit critical writing only so that we may best assess your analytical strengths. Your writing sample should not exceed 35 pages; you may submit one longer essay or two shorter essays.
How can I confirm the status of my test scores?
Please contact ETS for more information on accessing, sharing, and checking the status of your test scores.
I will not be able to take the GRE subject test before the deadline. May I still submit my application?

We strongly encourage you to take the GRE subject test if possible. If you do not believe you will be able to take the test before the deadline, please contact the English Department at

I am unable to afford the application fee. What should I do?
Please contact the Graduate School to be considered for a fee waiver.
May I visit campus?
We will not have a formal Open House until admissions decisions have been made, but you are welcome to visit campus on your own. You may stop by the front office in Rabb 144, visit faculty office hours, and/or coordinate meetings with faculty members of interest. Faculty office hours and contact information are listed on their individual profile pages.
When will I receive my admissions decision?
Initial decisions are generally sent out in late February or early March. If you do not receive your admissions decision at that time, your application may still be under consideration. You may inquire about the status of your application by e-mailing
Could you look at my application and tell me what my chances are?
Due to issues of fairness, we cannot pre-assess applicants, nor can we provide feedback on application materials prior to the consideration period.
My question wasn’t listed here.

You may get in touch with the English Department at

We look forward to reading your application!