1 Admission to the Programs

Materials required for application to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs include official transcripts certifying coursework from each college or university attended, three letters of recommendation (preferably from those most familiar with the applicant’s academic achievement and potential for research and graduate-level work in English, such as current or former English professors), a writing sample (2000-5000 words for M.A. applicants, 3000-5000 words for Ph.D. applicants), English proficiency scores (if required), and a 500-word statement of purpose outlining academic and research interests and professional goals. In addition, Ph.D. applicants must submit GRE scores taken within the past five years (English subject test optional). The department usually expects minimum scores of 150 on the Verbal Reasoning component and 4.0 on the Analytical Writing component of the GRE. We expect minimum scores of 550 for the TOEFL, 79 for the TOEFL iBT, 6.5 on the IELTS, 90 on the UMELI, 105 for DuoLingo; these latter language requirements are waived for international students who have earned a degree at a U.S. college or university in the last two years.

Candidates for admission to the M.A. program will be expected to have earned 15 hours of coursework at the 2000 level or above in English or in closely related fields when that coursework includes a significant component of literature or writing. Applicants to the Ph.D. program should have a Master’s degree in English or a closely related field. Applicants not meeting these expectations may be required to take undergraduate coursework before being admitted, or may be admitted with conditions that must be met in order to continue in the program.

Recommendations for admissions are made by the English Graduate Admissions Committee after they review all materials and determine the applicant’s capacity, suitability, and preparation for graduate study. Prospective students are recommended selectively from among a pool of qualified applicants. Admission to graduate study is therefore not guaranteed simply by meeting minimum admission requirements.

Applicants may apply online at http://www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php. Applicants are required to pay a $50 application fee with their completed application.

All required application materials must be received by the College of Graduate Studies before the deadlines stated below. It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that their files are complete by the deadline (see the Application Checklists in the appendices of this Handbook). Applicants with incomplete files will not be considered for admission. Applicants are strongly recommended to keep track of the progress of the application through the Graduate Student Portal, or by contacting the College of Graduate Studies Office at 615-898-2233, or by emailing askgrad@mtsu.edu to verify receipt of all application materials.


Students seeking admission with a graduate assistantship must apply by February 1 for the following fall semester.

Application for summer/fall admission without an assistantship must be complete by March 1.

Application files for spring admission must be complete by October 1. Please note that Spring-admission applications are for admission without assistantship only.

Applying for graduate assistantships

Applicants wishing to be considered for a graduate assistantship, in addition to supplying the materials for general application (including a general application form and the 500-word statement of purpose), must fill out an application for an assistantship. The application form may be found at the College of Graduate Studies website: https://mtsu.edu/graduate/funding.php. The application for an assistantship must be submitted with the rest of the application materials by February 1.


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