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Admissions FAQ

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions regarding admission to our graduate programs. Click on a link to view the answer for each question.

What are my chances of admission for the PhD in English Language and Literature? How many students are admitted each year?

In order to support all students with full six-year financial packages, including two years of fellowship support, we aim for an incoming class of 12 students.  During the fall 2016 admissions process, we received 293 applications.

How many students are admitted for the MFA in Creative Writing?

We admit a total of 22 students, 12 in prose and 10 in poetry. During the fall 2016 admissions season, we received 986 applications.

Do any of your Graduate Programs take non-candidate for degrees?


Can students from other Programs take MFA workshops?

No, only those admitted to the MFA Program can take MFA workshops.

When is the application deadline?

For the English Language & Literature program, the deadline is December 10.
For the MFA program, the deadline is December 15.
For the English & Women’s Studies program, the deadline is December 10.
For the English & Education program, the deadline is December 10.

Do I need to take the GRE?

The PhD programs in English Language and Literature, English and Education, and English and Women's Studies all require the general GRE test, they do not require the subject test.
Please note that the test date must be within 5 years of the application deadline.
The MFA program does not require GRE scores.

What type of scores do I need on the GRE?

Our program is very competitive.  The students who were accepted to the Language and Literature Program in 2016 had an average score of 162 for the verbal portion of the general exam.

How important are the GRE scores in relation to the rest of the application?

The GRE scores have no more significance than any other single segment of the application. The averages listed above are not determinative, but they do provide a useful sense of the kinds of applications that have typically been successful.

What is the correct GRE institution number and department code for the English department?

The institution number is 1839, the department code for English Language and Literature is 2501.

What do I need to submit online?

All items must be submitted online:  application, statement of purpose and personal statement, transcripts from all institutions attended, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and CV.  The GRE scores must be submitted electronically.

What do I need to mail to the English department?

No documents should be mailed to the English Department. We do not accept hard copy documents or applications.

Do I need to upload a transcript from every school, even if I did not post a degree there?

Yes, one complete set of transcripts from each college or university you attended must be uploaded with your application. See Rackham's website for information regarding their official transcript requirements.

Do I need to upload a transcript from a school I attended abroad for one semester?

If your courses and grades appear on the official transcript from the university or college granting your degree, you need not upload transcripts for study abroad.  However, if these courses only appear as transfer credits without grades, you must submit transcripts from these schools as well.

What GPA do I need to get into the program?

There is no minimum GPA for any of our programs.  The average GPA for PhD admitted students in 2016 was 3.59.

How long should my statement of purpose be?

One to two pages long, double spaced.

How many pages should my writing sample be?

Upload your best work.  Most samples are about 25 pages for a PhD application, 30-40 pages for the MFA in prose or 15 pages for the MFA in poetry. Each Poem must start on a new page. Please do not submit any bound materials, CDs, or DVDs.

Can I transfer into the graduate program?

We do not accept transfer students into any of our programs.  You may speak to the Student Administration Manager, Jan Burgess, if you have further questions about previous experience at other institutions.

What is the language requirement?

Once admitted into one of the PhD programs, you must pass 2 basic language exams (demonstrating in each the equivalent of 2 years of college course equivalency) or 1 advanced exam (demonstrating three years of college course equivalency), or take coursework during the program.

Where do I find information about financial aid?

Currently every graduate student in our programs receives some form of financial support.  The types of funds you might receive are listed on our web site.  Additional   funds may be applied for through the Financial Aid Office, which you can reach at 734-763-6600.

If I’m an international student are there special language requirements?

If your native language is not English, you must take the TOEFL.  The minimum score is 620 on paper, 260 on the computer version and 106 on the internet.  The test date must be within two years of the application deadline.  We do not accept any test scores other than the TOEFL. 

Can I apply to both poetry and prose MFA programs?

No, applicants must choose either poetry or prose, and apply for study in that genre.

When will I be notified if I’m accepted?

You will be notified in early March.

For additional questions, please feel free to contact us at 734-763-4139 or e-mail us at