Department of English


Application Information

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Requirements for Admission
Normally, applicants to the Ph.D. program have the equivalent of an undergraduate major or an M.A. in English, although the Department welcomes qualified students who have previously specialized in other related disciplines and who show clear promise for success in English. Applicants to the M.A. program should also have strong undergraduate records in English or a related field.

In assessing an application for admission, the Department pays close attention to the candidate's personal statement (approximately 2-3 pages double-spaced), writing sample, and letters of recommendation. At least two letters are required, preferably from faculty in English; most candidates submit three letters. Additional letters from appropriate judges are welcome, though not necessary. The University requires that the applicant submit GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, analytical). Scores for the exam in English Literature are optional. The Department requires applicants to submit a writing sample; this often takes the form of a paper revised from an undergraduate or graduate class. This should offer a demonstration of the candidate's analytical skills and writing ability that is both representative and striking. Essays should comprise a substantial piece of work (10-20 pages, or a comparable excerpt from a longer effort, such as an Honors Thesis) that reflects the candidate's potential for successful graduate study.

Both our PhD Program and our MA Program are full-time (with part-time options available only for those receiving University of Rochester Employee Tuition Benefits).

Fees and Deadlines
Our application fee is $60. The deadline for applications to the Ph.D. program is January 15. The deadline for applications to the M.A. program is rolling; students who are admitted will enter the program in the fall semester. Apply on-line here. Please note that the College's online application allows you to upload writing samples.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have, either by e-mail or by phone. For questions regarding the online application system, financial details, and other administrative matters, please contact Carrie Morriss, Graduate Coordinator ( or 585-275-9256). For broader questions regarding the program's curriculum, intellectual emphases, academic requirements, and opportunities for research and professionalization, please contact Katherine Mannheimer, Associate Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies ( or 585-275-9257).

If the application fee would cause financial hardship, you may submit to the English Department a request for a fee waiver. The department will evaluate your request to determine if you qualify for the waiver. Please forward the following information:
1. Your application number.
2. A brief statement explaining why you might qualify for a fee waiver.

We will review only your statement. Please do not send any confidential financial documents (including copies of tax returns, bank statements, etc.).