Evaluation of Application Materials

We consider a number of factors when evaluating your application for admission.

For M.A. & Ph.D. Programs

  • Strength of academic writing sample
  • Statement of purpose for graduate study
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Quality of undergraduate and graduate training
  • Breadth of courses in program area
  • Academic honors
  • Diversity of interests and backgrounds among candidates for admission
  • Your undergraduate (or graduate) GPA
  • Your GPA in program area courses
  • GRE scores¬†and/or TOEFL scores
  • Foreign language training

The Graduate English department does not have any required minimum GRE test scores for admission to our MA and PhD programs. Although we would prefer that the Verbal test scores were at or above approximately the 85th percentile, we consider so many factors when evaluating applications that modest GRE scores can be overshadowed by other information in your file that may impress the members of our Admissions Committee more. The quality of the writing sample and statement of purpose is particularly important.

The admissions statistics available from the Graduate School are inaccurate. Their figures represent aggregate numbers for all programs, and do not reflect the very competitive nature of admissions in English programs.

You are encouraged to send additional information that might enhance or clarify your application. A resume that includes a list of your academic honors, information about your participation in the university or college community (committee service, work on departmental publications, volunteer work, etc.), teaching experience, and other work experience would be particularly helpful. Awards, publications, and participation in workshops, conferences, and symposiums are also good items to list.

For the M.F.A. Program

The writing sample weighs more heavily than any other factor. GRE scores are not required or considered. Foreign languages are not needed, nor is breadth of English courses an important consideration. For more detailed information about MFA admission criteria, please see the Creative Writing website here.