Department of English

Applying to Graduate School

Tips for Applying to Graduate Programs in English

Advice from your professors by Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Julie Nash:

Should you apply to graduate school?

The road to a Ph.D. in English is long and challenging. Expect two years of coursework at the master’s level, followed by an additional couple of years at the Ph.D. level, followed by comprehensive area exams (usually a year or so to study). Once you’ve completed these initial preparations, you can write your dissertation. If you allow two years for the dissertation, that’s about seven years of graduate work to earn your doctorate.

Be aware that many graduate students spend years working very hard for very little money only to find that there are few employment opportunities in their fields when they finish. That said, the rewards can be worth it. You should consider applying to graduate school if the following description applies to you:

Okay. You’ve decided to go for it. Now what?

Decide on a school:

The Personal Statement:

The Writing Sample:

Letters of Recommendation:

Additional Resources