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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: December 30

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

All application materials must be received by the deadline in order to be reviewed.

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.

*please review the transcript section for more information.

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.

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

Fee Waivers

Does the English Department provide a Fee Waiver?

Application Fee Waiver Criteria:
1. You have a record of superior academic achievement (send unofficial transcript);
2. You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
AND you must meet one or more of the following:
a) Come from an educational, cultural or geographic background that is underrepresented in a graduate study in your discipline in the United States or at the University of Michigan;
b) Have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in the academic, professional, or civic realm through your work experience, volunteer engagement, or leadership of student or community organizations. By diversity, we mean efforts to reduce social, educational or economic disparities based on race, ethnicity or gender, or to improve race relations in the U.S.;
c) Have experience financial hardship as a result of family economic circumstances;
d) Are a first-generation U.S. citizen or first generation in your family to graduate from a four-year college.
Please keep in mind race, ethnicity, gender, or national origin may not be used a criterion for requesting an application fee waiver.

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.


A hardcopy of your official transcript(s) does not need to be sent to the Rackham Graduate School unless you have been accepted into our program.

An electronic unofficial transcript should be submitted via the online application on ApplyWeb.

Our program receives any uploaded transcript submitted in your ApplyWeb application. We will use thie uploaded transcript for application review. Please be aware that Wolverine Access will show the uploaded transcript as "not received", this is because Wolverine Access only indicates the official transcripts received by the Rackham Graduate School. You do not need to send the official transcript until directed to do so by the Rackham Gradute School.

What exactly is needed regarding my transcript(s)?

PhD Applicants that are attending/graduated from a U.S. Institution

Upload an electronic version of your transcript(s) for each Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned, or in progress, through your application account. Do not upload academic reports printed from your school's website or student portal.

If you are recommended for admission, the Rackham Graduate School will require official transcript(s). Recommended applicants will receive an email notification when the official transcript(s) are required for submission.

Applicants that are attending/graduated from a NON-U.S. Institution

Review Required Academic Credentials from Non-U.S. Institutions for transcript/academic record requirements by country or region. Submitting transcript/academic records is a two-step process:

  1. Uploading transcripts through the ApplyWeb application account:
    Upload an electronic version of your official transcript/academic record for each Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned, or in progress, through your application account.
    • Sending official transcripts to the Rackham Graduate School:
      Submit an official transcript/academic record for each institution attended at the time of application. See our detailed instructions on how to submit transcripts/academic records to the Rackham Graduate School.


Do I need to upload a transcript from every school, even if I did not post a degree there? (I studied abroad for a semester, do I need to submit the transcript from that school?)

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.

I received confirmation that my transcript was received but my application status still shows that they have not been received, what happened?

From September - January the Rackham Graduate school receives thousands of applications, including hardcopy transcripts. The process of scanning these documents and matching them with the correct application takes time. There may be a lag-time of several weeks before your application is updated. 

We are able to review your application before your official hardcopy application is received.  But, Rackham is unable to offer an application admission into our program until a hardcopy is received.

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.

The online application allows you to "Submit Recommendation Request" before you submit your final application. We recommend you contact your letter writers, and submit this request, well before 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 application 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.

Test Scores: GRE & TOEFL IELTS

Do you require the General GRE?

No, we do not. 

Do you require the GRE Subject Test?

No, we do not.

If I send in my GRE test scores, will it help my application?

No, any GRE score received will not be viewed by the Admissions Committee.

What is the minimum IELTS test score accepted?

6.5. Please visit: for additional information.

I'm an international student, do I need to submit a TOEFL score?

If your native language is not English, you must take the TOEFL. The minimum score is 620 on paper, 260 on the computer, 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.

Even though my native language is not English, I earned my degree from an English-speaking institution, do I need to submit a TOEFL score?

Exceptions are made if your degree was earned from:

  • an institution where the language of instruction is English, exclusively. This exception does not apply if some classes were taught in a language other than English. Vertification from the school may be required.
  • a country where the official language is English (Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand).

Visiting 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 8 students.  For the Fall 2022 admission process, we received 236 applications.

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 2022 was a 3.9


Do you provide funding for your admitted applicants?

We provide funding for all of our admitted applicants.  Yes, even International students!

We currently provide a 6-year funding package to our PhD students.  This funding package is a combination of fellowships and teaching positions and include tuition coverage, stipend/salary, and health insurance.

Non-candidate for degrees


Transferring into the graduate program

Can I transfer into the graduate program?

We do not accept transfer students into any of our programs.  You may speak to the Graduate Program Manager, Ellannee Rajewsky, if you have further questions about previous experience at other institutions.

Language requirement

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.

Financial Aid Information

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.

Offer of Admission Notifications

When will I be notified if I’m accepted?

You will be notified in early March.

Degree requirements for applicants from India

What are the degree requirements for applicants from India?

Completion of a university four-year Bachelor's degree in Engineering, Technology, or Medicine. Completion of a three-year Bachelor's degree followed by a completed two-year Master's degree. three-year Bachelor's degrees do not meet the minimum requirements for admission to the Rackham Graduate School.