College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Graduate admissions - English Department

Each applicant is required to submit materials for a file which, when complete, is reviewed by members of the Graduate Studies Committee in English.  Since the file cannot be circulated until complete, it is important that applicants promptly supply all materials within their immediate control and keep informed of the progress of materials due from other sources.  Applicants are encouraged to telephone the department to check on the status of their file: (509) 335-2581, or fax:  (509) 335-2582; or e-mail the English Department at

Deadline Date:

Application materials are reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester of each academic year.  Application materials must be received before the deadline of January 10 for those Applying for admission the following fall semester.

Application Materials for all M.A. and Ph.D. Programs:

1.  Application form.  This form, supplied by the WSU Graduate School, must be filled out completely. Even when an applicant is not Applying for a Teaching Assistantship, s/he must fill out the entire application. The application form is available online at: graduate application

2.  Academic transcripts.  One copy of each transcript representing study beyond high school is required.  Send these copies to the WSU Graduate School.  These must be official, certified copies sent directly from the college or university where the academic work was completed. Transcripts representing work from the current year (not yet finished) are acceptable.

3. Three confidential letters of recommendation. The applicant is required to list three referees, each with his/her email address.  The WSU Graduate School will then contact these referees, sending them electronic recommendation forms which will subsequently be made available to the admissions committee members in the English Department.  Applicants should select referees who are capable of evaluating their qualifications for graduate study in English; at least one of the referees should address the applicant's qualifications as a potential college level teacher (if the applicant is applying for a teaching assistantship).

4. Official record of Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  The general GRE scores are required for all graduate programs in English.  The advanced subject test in English is required for all Ph.D. applicants in literary study. Applicants who are not native speakers of English must also take the TOEFL exam or the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency.  Because the Education Testing Service (ETS) takes up to two months to report scores, we recommend that applicants take their GRE exams as early as possible.  The advanced exam in English is only offered twice a year, in April and December.  Have your scores sent directly to the WSU Graduate School.

5.  Brief independent statement.  The applicant should send a description of his or her interests in English studies, along with reasons for wishing to begin (or continue) graduate work, foreign language competence, background or experience in teaching, career goals, and expectations regarding WSU.  This statement should be no longer than about 500 words (two double-spaced pages). Send the statement directly to the WSU Graduate School.

6. Writing sample.  All applicants should submit a recent sample of scholarly or critical writing.  For those Applying to the M.A. program, this sample would most likely be an essay written for an upper-level undergraduate course.  For Ph.D applicants, the sample might come from a graduate seminar in literature, rhetoric, cultural studies, theory, etc.  In either case, the sample should represent the applicant's critical thinking skills and ability to write effectively for an academic audience.  Essays with a significant research component are especially
appropriate. The writing sample can be sent directly to the WSU Graduate School.

7.  Applicants whose first language is not English must submit (to the English Department's Graduate Director) a cassette recording for the purpose of evaluating their spoken English.  The recording should last 3-5 minutes and constitute a brief introduction to the applicant and his or her interests.

Application materials should be sent to the WSU Graduate School. Application materials can also be sent directly to the English Department:    

Professor Will Hamlin, Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English
Washington State University
P.O. Box 645020
Pullman, WA  99164-5020

Visit the WSU graduate admissions page for more information about the graduate application process.


Department of English, PO Box 645020, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5020, 509-335-2581, Contact Us