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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.

Application Deadlines

When are the application deadlines?

English Language & Literature: December 10.
Helen Zell Writers' Program (MFA): December 15.
English & Women’s Studies: December 15.
English & Education: January 5.

All materials, including recommendation letters, must be submitted by the deadline.

Application Materials

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.

What materials do I mail to the English Department?

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

Hard-copy transcripts should be sent to the Rackham Graduate School.  For more information regarding transcripts please review Rackham's Transcript page.

How long should my statement of purpose be?

One to two pages, 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 Peam must start on a new page.

Please do not submit any bound materials, CDs, or DVDs.  

Fee Waivers

Does the English Department provide a Fee Waiver?

No, the English Department does not provide applicants with a fee waiver, but the Rackham Graduate School does provide some applicants a waiver.  Please check out the Rackham Graduate School's Application Fee and Payments page to see if you qualify for a fee waiver.


What exactly is needed regarding my transcript(s)?

While applying/submitting the online application, applicants may,

  1. upload an official transcript (please make sure your transcript does not have a lock on it or expires),
  2. scan an official transcript and upload that file, or
  3. use an unofficial transcript (not preferred)

Applicants must also submit an official transcript to the Rackham Graduate School, please review Rackham's Transcript page for more information.

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

No, only upload transcripts from the school(s) from which you received your degree(s). We do not need transcripts from study abroad coursework, community or junior college, or non-degree programs.

My official transcript will not arrive to Rackham by the deadline, will my application still be reviewed?

Yes, we will review your application but we will be unable to make an offer until an official transcript has been received by Rackham.

Do I need to submit an updated transcript after I have my grades for a term in progress?

No, do not submit an updated transcript. 

Letters of Recommendation

Are letters of recommendation due by the application deadline?

Yes, all application materials are due by the application deadline.

One of my letter writers is unable to write a letter, what can I do?

If that letter writer has not yet viewed your online applicatio form, you can go in an change the information to a new letter writer.  If that letter writer has already viewed their information, please contact the department and let us know about your situation.

Can I visit campus?

You are welcome to visit the UofM campus at any time. As a prospective student you are responsible for arranging your visit; the English Department does not arrange individual visits.  

The English Department invites prospective applicants who have been offered admission to the program to visit the campus during the spring recruiting season.

Admissions Stats

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 2017admissions process, we received 306 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 2017 admissions season, we received 925 applicatins.

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 2017 was a 3.75

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.

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