University of Minnesota
Department of English

Department of English

Application: PhD, MFA, MA

Thank you for your interest in our graduate program. All materials are submitted electronically through the ApplyYourself application system. Admission decisions are communicated to applicants using this system.

A decision for admission notice will be emailed to you once your application is carefully reviewed by the department’s admission committee and your transcripts and any credentials (test reports, diploma copies, etc.) are authenticated by Graduate School officials. Applicants are typically noified by April.


  • A four-year undergraduate degree. MA and PhD applicants need a minimum of four courses in English, American, or Anglophone literature or language, at least three at the upper division level.
  • The Statement of Purpose is not a personal statement and should not be heavily weighted down with autobiographical anecdotes. It should be no longer than 1,000 words. It should focus on giving the admissions committee a clear sense of applicant’s readiness for graduate work in English language and literature. 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.
  • For the PhD and MA: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for admission. The General Exam is required; the Subject test is required only by applicants who had narrative undergraduate transcripts rather than grades.
  • For the MFA: GRE General Exam scores are not required, but strongly recommended.
  • The admission committee has the preferred performance level of at least one of the following: an undergraduate English GPA of 3.5; a graduate GPA of 3.8; or a verbal score in the 85th percentile of the GRE.
  • Students whose native language is not English are required to submit scores from one of the following English proficiency examinations:
Examination Minimum score
TOEFL 620 (paper based) or
105 (Internet based)
  • Students whose native language is not English, who have taken a minimum of one year of recent coursework in an English language university in the U.S., 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.

Please note that we admit graduate students for fall semester only.

Application Process


December 15 is the application deadline for PhD and MA applicants; for the MFA it is December 1.


All application materials should be submitted directly to the ApplyYourself admissions system. We cannot review your application until all of the required materials listed below are submitted successfully.

Submission of the following indicate a complete application file:

Materials: Where to submit: How to submit:
Application Electronically via

Required fields: Personal Information, Application Information, Educational Background,Test Information-Self Reported, Languages, Awards & Activities, Employment/Residence Information, Financial Support, Applicant Statements #1 (Statement of Purpose - see above) & #2 (Diversity Statement - when relevant), and Recommendations.


An ApplyYourself smart form is part of the electornic application process. You will be asked to choose a subfield of study.

All other fields or application materials are optional, but will be taken into consideration if submitted.


Click here to access the online application.

Application Fee

Electronically via


Click here for more information about fees.


Electronically via ApplyYourself

Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the online application. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts, there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review.

If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

Click here for more information about uploading transcripts and credentials.

Writing Sample Electronically via ApplyYourself 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). For the MFA, the sample should be a substantial example of your creative work (25 pages maximum).

Three letters of


Electronically via


Acceptable recommendations will come from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work. Other recommenders, such as employers, are also acceptable if you have been away from academia for a substantial length of time, You should request a total of no more than four letters. Paper copies are not accepted. Applicants who wish to use Interfolio should follow instructions on the Interfolio website (FAQ).

Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores Electronically via ApplyYourself, supplied by ETS

General Exam scores are required for the PhD and MA, optional (but strongly recommended) for the MFA. Self-reported scores are not sufficent for the PhD and MA. The Subject test is optional except for those coming from an institution with narrative transcripts. The English department code is 2501.

Click here for more information about the GRE.

English Language test scores
(TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)

Electronically via ApplyYourself

Click here for more information about Engish language assessment tests.
Program application

Electronically via


Complete the smart form "English and Creative Writing" electronically through ApplyYourself.

English Courses GPA Electronically via ApplyYourself

Calculate your English courses GPA, which you will report on the ApplyYourself smart form. A link to instructiosn is provided on the smart form. Do not include composition or creative writing courses in this GPA calculation. Students not on a 4.0 grading system do not need to provide an English GPA.


You will also be asked for the total number of English courses you have taken. Again, do not include composition or creative writing courses.


Materials: Where to submit: How to submit:
Resume or CV Electronically via ApplyYourself

Upload your resume or CV into the Program Supplementary Information section of the ApplyYourself online application.

If you have any additional questions, please contact for the PhD and MA, and for the MFA.

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