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How To Apply

For information on how to apply, please choose from the following:

Students applying for the M.A., M.F.A., or Ph.D. degree programs must hold a B.A or B.S. degree from an accredited college or university, and have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.2 or higher. Students holding an M.A. or M.F.A. in English are eligible for admission into the Ph.D. program.

The B.A. to Ph.D. direct track option is available to applicants to any program who do not hold a masters degree in the field. A candidate with a B.A. will submit application materials at the same time as other candidates (December 15th). If accepted, the student receives a teaching assistantship for the first year.

Applicants who do not meet the above criteria may, in some cases, be admitted to the program on either a regular or probationary basis. Those denied admission into the Ph.D. direct-track program may instead be offered admission into the M.A. or M.F.A. program.

Complete applications are due by December 15 for admission following fall semester. Please be sure that your application is complete by this date and include your name on all application materials. Applications will be considered for funding during the admissions process; no separate application for funding is required. Applications that are not submitted by the December 15 deadline will not be considered.

All applications must be submitted via the electronic University of Utah Graduate application system. The English Department will not accept any applications that are submitted by mail; all application materials must be submitted via the University of Utah online application system:

IMPORTANT NOTE: The application software permits applicants to apply to only one track within the department’s MA and PhD programs. Please apply to the MA or PhD track you are most interested in pursuing. (You can, however, apply to both the MA and MFA programs.)

Please be sure to indicate in the appropriate places on the application your name, address, and the specific program to which you are applying. If you are applying for admission to our doctoral program but will not have a master's degree in the field of English upon entering our program, please choose “English-PHD,” and in the section labeled “Additional Information” indicate that you are applying for the BA to PHD track. Applicants who do not hold an MA or MFA in English will automatically be considered for admission to the appropriate master's program if they are not admitted to the doctoral program.

All applications must include a statement of purpose describing your professional interests and goals and a substantial critical writing sample (at least six pages). The critical sample should demonstrate your ability to frame a critical argument and to conduct a sustained reading of a text or texts.

Applications for creative writing must include, in addition to the critical sample, a creative writing sample, either poetry, fiction, or non-fiction (approximately 10 pages). For the poetry sample, a small collection of poems is acceptable. For fiction or non-fiction samples, a short story or a chapter or selection from a novel, a memoir, or an essay is acceptable. If your fiction or non-fiction samples are short, you can submit more than one piece. Please submit creative samples only in the genre to which you are applying.

Writing samples must be uploaded into your electronic online application:

IMPORTANT NOTE: The application software allows applicants to submit two files. Creative writing applicants must upload one critical and one creative sample. If your creative sample consists of several short pieces, you should incorporate them into one file before uploading. 

All applications must include three academic letters of recommendation from faculty who know your work and can assess your ability to do English graduate work. Please submit the email addresses of your three recommenders via the online application:

The University must receive scores on the general GRE exam directly from ETS. The English graduate program sets no minimum cut-off score on this exam, but we are interested in applicants' performance overall, especially on the verbal portion of the general exam. Please note that GRE scores tend to arrive approximately three weeks after the date of the exam. Therefore, you should plan to take the exam by the middle of November at the latest. GRE scores that arrive late will be added to your application, but might affect your chances of admission. To expedite the arrival of your GRE scores, please use the University of Utah institution code (#4853) and the English Department code (#2501 for literature and cultural studies or #2503 for creative writing tracks). Note: Only the general GRE test is required. The English department does not require, accept, or consider the GRE subject test in English Literature.

International applicants who are not native speakers of English must demonstrate proficiency in English before they are eligible for  teaching fellowships. Proficiency is partly demonstrated by a TSE or SPEAK score (40 on the TSE, 180 on the SPEAK). International students who will hold teaching fellowships are normally also required to obtain certification through the University’s International Teaching Assistant Program. For more information on the ITA program, see:

International applicants must upload the appropriate fee, one official set of transcripts, and TOEFL results to:

Applicants will be notified of application decisions by the end of the first week of March

The forms for application to the University of Utah Graduate Admissions and the Department of English can now be accessed at the following link:

Further information is available by contacting Gerri Mackey
(801) 581-7131

The following deadlines may differ from the general University admission deadlines. Please follow the deadlines listed below if you are applying to the English graduate program.

  • Beginning September 2011, the English Graduate Program will no longer have two application deadlines for the following fall semester; there will be one application deadline ONLY each year: December 15thfor the following fall semester (i.e., December 15, 2011 for entry Fall of 2012). Applications for admission to all programs, with or without funding, will be reviewed only once each year. All application materials must have been entered into the Apply Yourself system no later than December 15 for fall semester admission (
  • Please remember - We will no longer have an April 15th application deadline for admissions to the M.A. and M.F.A. programs.

Note: If a deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, applications will be accepted through the following business day.

Applicants who apply for admission by the December 15th deadline will, by the end of February, be notified by mail of their admission status. Applicants cannot be advised of their admission status over the telephone, but they can check the status of their processed application through the ApplyYourself@.

Please also note that there is NO Spring Semester admission to the English Department!

To be considered complete, all items listed below must be submitted to the University of Utah Common Online Graduate Admissions Application by December 15th; this application can be found at the following link:

A completed University of Utah Common Online Graduate Admissions Application, including an affidavit of support for International Students

Payment of application fee ($55 for domestic applicants; $65 for international applicants) - You must apply on line and pay your fee with a bankcard

Transcripts must be uploaded into the new "Apply Yourself" system; to facilitate this process you may first request your unofficial transcripts, print them out, and upload them into the Apply Yourself system in accordane with their directions here. If you are accepted into the program and choose to attend, you must then supply official transcripts mailed from your schools directly to the University of Utah Admissions Office 

201 S 1460 E RM 250S
SALT LAKE CITY UT 84112-9057

Official GRE score sent directly to the University from ETS. When taking your GRE exam, please request that your GRE scores be sumitted to our Institution code (#4853) and the English Department (#2501). This will insure the correct arrival and application of your GRE scores. YOU MUST REGISTER TO TAKE THE GRE TEST, THROUGH THE GRE WEBSITE: Universities and local Testing Centers no longer allow students to register for this test (or the TOEFL) through their local centers

Statement of Purpose (see "Instructions for Application Submission"

Writing samples (see "Instructions for Application Submission"

Three Academic Letters of Reference (see "Instructions for Application Submission

If you are applying to have your application reviewed for the December 15th deadline and would like to be notified when your application is complete, this will now be possible by checking your application account via the University of Utah Common Online Graduate Admissions Application, using your user ID and password that you will receive after you have filled out the application and paid your fee. You can also receive email verifications when your recommenders have uploaded their letters of recommendation into the electronic system.

This should be a much better way of informing applicants of what materials, if any, may be missing from their files. We expect this procedure to give applicants sufficient notice to complete their applications by December 15th.

NB: Applications received after the first week of December for the December 15th deadline are not guaranteed to have updates available or emails sent by the deadline date, due to the length of time for processing.

Is the GRE required?

We require the general GRE test only. We do not require or consider any subject tests.

What are the minimum scores?

None required but above the 50%-ile is desired.

I took the GRE [x] years ago. Are my scores still valid?

Scores are reportable for five testing years after the year in which a person tests -

When should I take the GRE to ensure that my scores are received in time?

We require that your GRE official test scores be sent directly from ETS to our University, so to ensure that your GRE test scores arrive in time to be considered on your application we request that you take the GRE no later than the third week of november (or before Thanksgiving).

What is the deadline for applying to the graduate program?

The application deadline is December 15 to enroll the following fall semester.

Do you accept spring semester admission?

No. We only admit new students in the fall.

Do you offer any of your graduate courses online?

No. At this point we do not offer any graduate courses online.

Is it feasible to complete a graduate degree while also working full-time?

At this point such a plan may not be feasible, as the vast majority of our classes are scheduled during the standard workday. Please contact the graduate advisor for further information.

What is the absolute maximum length for critical and creative writing samples?

There is no absolute limit, but in order to assure that the committee will have the time to carefully read your writing samples, you should try to keep it to about 10-12 pages for a critical sample and 15-20 pages for a creative sample.

How long does it take to complete a Masters or Doctorate degree in your program?

Most Masters and MFA students complete the program in 2-4 years, and most PhD students complete the program in 4-6 years. Do remember that these numbers are highly subjective and there is no guarantee of completion in a specified length of time. If you are receiving department funding and a tuition waiver, there is a 2 year funding limit for MA/MFA and a 4 year limit for PhD students.

When and how will applicants be informed of acceptance status?

Applicants will be notified through both a letter/email from the Department of English as well as through the ApplyYourself system. Expect to be notified by the first week in March.

How many students do you accept into the program every year?

That depends on a given pool of applicants and the programs to which they apply. Generally we accept about 10% of the applications we receive, across the board.

Can I apply to multiple programs at once?

You may apply to only ONE track within the MA and PhD programs. Please apply to the MA or PhD track you are most interested in pursuing. (You can, however, apply to both the MA and MFA programs.)

Don't see your question covered here? Call the English office at (801) 581-6168 or contact the graduate advisor.

The GRE is administered through the Testing Center at the University of Utah and at other academic institutions throughout the state. For more information on the examination, go to or call (609) 771-7670. For information on times and locations of the examination at the University of Utah, go to or call (801) 581-8744.


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Last Updated: 11/3/16