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Application FAQs

How can I get more information about applying to graduate school in English?

All of our program information, including a link to the online application, is available online here.

What funds are available for graduate students?

Teaching Assistantships: The English Department Teaching Assistantship is a nine-month appointment that requires the student to teach three courses of first-year composition during the academic year. The stipend for the 2024-2025 academic year is $20,578.05 for a Ph.D. student teaching three courses per year and $19,365.56 for an M.A. student teaching three courses per year. Tuition is reduced to $25 per semester, although the activity fees must still be paid each semester.

Questions about the application process

If I have a BA in English, can I apply directly to the Ph.D. program? Do I need to have an M.A. before I apply to the Ph.D. program?

You do not need an M.A. to apply to the Ph.D. program, but the vast majority of students selected for our Ph.D. program have an M.A. degree in English or a closely related field. And while we generally offer Teaching Assistantships to all new doctoral students, university accreditation regulations prohibit graduate students from teaching unless they have an M.A. degree or 18 hours of graduate-level coursework. For these reasons, we encourage you to apply for the M.A. program first if you do not have an M.A. degree in English. Only exceptional applicants without an M.A. degree will be admitted, and we will nominate these students for Graduate School Research Assistantships.

I would like to apply to the Graduate Program in Literary Studies but my undergraduate degree is not in English. May I still apply?

Of course. But you should know that we only admit students who can demonstrate their ability to do well in an English graduate program. If you don’t have a degree in English, you should have strong letters from faculty who have taught you in college English courses, and your writing sample should relate to the field of literature, literary theory, English language or linguistics, or composition and rhetoric.

Where can I get an application? 

Apply Here

What is the deadline for my application?

All applications are due in our office by December 1 of the year you are applying. All components of the application must be received by this date. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed or considered.

What do I send to the Graduate School and what do I send to the English Department?

Applications and letters of reference must be submitted electronically to the Graduate School. Unofficial transcripts and official GRE scores must also be sent to the Graduate School. The University's GRE code is 5813. You can see all of the application requirements and fill out an application at the Graduate School website. The GRE is not required for admission to any of our Graduate Programs.

Additional materials

All materials can be uploaded directly to the Graduate School admissions portal. 

Do I have to send everything in one packet?

No, though it is helpful for the department to have as much of your information as possible at once. Application information may be sent in at different times, but your entire application file must be complete by December 1st, including recommendation letters and all test scores.

What type of information do I include in my statement of purpose and what is the desired length?

Your Statement of Intent should be 500 – 1000 words and should include information about your projected course of study, areas of interest, and reason for applying to the University of Georgia.

Questions about Recommendations

Are my recommenders required to submit their letters electronically? What should I do if they do not use email?

The Graduate School encourages recommenders to submit their letters electronically, but the English department does accept paper versions in our office as well.

May I use a college or university recommendation service?

Yes. You should elect to have your letters submitted confidentially; to do this, sign the form indicating that you waive access to these letters.

Do you accept faxed transcripts or letters of recommendation?

We prefer for recommenders who are not submitting their letters via the Grad School’s electronic process to mail us their letters on letterhead in a sealed, signed envelope. 

May I reuse old letters of recommendation?

Yes, although recent letters are more helpful.

Questions About Transcripts

Do I need a transcript from every school I attended?

Yes. The Graduate School requires an unofficial transcript from every school from which you earned a degree.

Do I need to submit transcripts from schools where I studied abroad? 


Questions about Writing Samples

What kind of writing sample is required?

We’re looking for writing that demonstrates your ability to perform well in English graduate classes, so you should submit an essay from our discipline —either literature, language, theory, or rhetoric— that demonstrates your ability to write clearly and elegantly, read closely, and engage with both primary and secondary sources.

How long should my writing sample be?

10-15 typed pages.

Must I take the GRE?

The GRE is not required for admission to any of our Graduate Programs.

What is the average GPA?

We don’t keep track of average GPAs, but we require a minimum GPA of 3.65 in English classes.

Whom should I notify if the name on my transcripts, GRE, or other documents is different from the name on my initial application (maiden name, married name, etc.)?

Please contact the Graduate School if there are any discrepancies in documentation.

How do I know whether my application is complete? Will I be notified if my application is incomplete?

You will receive an email from the Graduate School notifying you that your application is complete, but you must check your online account with the Graduate School’s application tracking database to see whether all of the English Department’s additional required documents have also been received. 

Who reads the application materials?

The seven faculty on the Graduate Committee review applications to all areas of the program. Applications from students who are applying to the Ph.D. with creative dissertation are also reviewed and ranked by the Creative Writing Faculty. The Graduate Committee respects this resulting ranking in its final admissions decisions. 

Do I need to secure a faculty advisor prior to applying?

No. At UGA, students need to apply to the graduate program first before identifying a particular professor as supervisor.

Admission Questions

What are my chances of getting in?

Your chances vary according to the number and quality of applications received, but in general we admit a total of 15-20 Ph.D. and M.A. students in any given year, from an applicant pool of approximately 200.

When and how are admissions decisions communicated?

The Graduate School will notify you of your admission or rejection by April 15th. If you do not receive notice of admission or rejection, that is because your file was incomplete by the December deadline and was not reviewed by the graduate admissions committee.

What happens after I am admitted?

You will have until April 15th to let us know whether you plan to enroll. You may schedule a visit while you are deciding, or you can ask us to put you in touch with current students and faculty to help you make your decision. Should you decide to enroll here, the English Graduate Office will contact you with information about course selection, orientation, Teaching and Research Assistantships, and other important information. If you are required to do a Teaching Apprenticeship before teaching in the fall, you should plan to move to Athens in the early summer; otherwise, you should plan to move here by early August.

May I defer my admission, if necessary?

Yes, you may defer for one year. To do so, first contact the English Graduate Coordinator to notify us of your intentions. Then, prior to the start of the original semester of matriculation, submit a one-time request to the Office of Graduate Admissions ( If you do not notify Graduate Admissions until after the beginning of the semester for which you were originally admitted, you must submit a new application and application fee.

If I am not accepted, can I reapply?

Yes. You will need to submit a new application with the Graduate School and should notify the English Graduate Office if you would like any of your old documents to be used in your new application file.

I've been denied and I want to inquire. Whom do I contact?

Please contact the English Graduate Coordinator.

If I am not accepted to the Ph.D. program, will my file still be considered for admission to the terminal M.A. program?

Only if you notify us in writing that you would like to be considered for both programs.

About the Program

How might I arrange to visit the English Department?

To arrange to visit the English Department, please call 706-542-2197.

May I arrange a meeting to discuss the English graduate program?

To set up an appointment with the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Lavender, email him at Once you have been admitted, she can also arrange a meeting for you with current graduate students and faculty. 

How important is it for there to be a "fit" between my interests and those of people already working in the department? How can I investigate my "fit" with the department?

One good way to see if your interests might be a fit for the University of Georgia’s Graduate English Program is to look at the course listings and faculty profiles on the English Department homepage. You may also contact faculty members and arrange to meet with them during their office hours.

How long will it take me to finish the M.A. program? The Ph.D.?

Generally, the M.A. program is designed to be completed in two years. The Ph.D. program usually takes five years to complete.

Can I get a Ph.D. in creative writing or creative nonfiction?

Our Ph.D. is in English with a creative dissertation. Our Creative Writing Program site can be found here.

Does the M.A. program lead into the Ph.D. program?

Although our M.A. degree prepares students for doctoral programs (as well as for various kinds of employment), it does not lead directly to the Ph.D.; strong M.A. students are encouraged to apply to the doctoral program.

How do I transfer from another department or change concentrations within the department?

If you’re a graduate student in another department, you must apply to the English Graduate Program. If you’re an English graduate student and want to change concentrations, you should discuss your plans with the English Graduate Coordinator.

May I transfer credits I have earned from other graduate work? Will I get transfer credit for my M.A.?

Transfer credit will be considered only for graduate-level coursework that did not lead to a degree. To have this coursework considered, you must submit a petition (including a syllabus and official transcript), with the approval of your Major Professor, to the English Graduate Coordinator, who will bring the petition to the Graduate Committee. If it is approved, the petition will be forwarded to the Graduate School for final consideration. No more than two courses may be applied toward your UGA degree. If you enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. degree, you will be able to satisfy coursework requirements with 9 graduate courses rather than the 12 required for students without an M.A.

What non-degree options for admissions do you provide?

We generally only admit students into a degree program. In rare cases, exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Graduate Coordinator.

How can I find out what the programs offer and the faculty teach? 

See our English Department homepage for faculty profiles, as well as Thematic Arcs and Critical and Creative Specialities.

Does the department encourage interdisciplinary work?

Yes, we do. You may take graduate courses from other departments, provided you discuss your plans with your Major Professor and obtain the consent of your Advisory Committee

Does the department have a particular theoretical stance?

No, our faculty and graduate students represent an ever-changing constellation of research interests, methodologies and theoretical dispositions.

What is the normal size of your incoming class?

We generally bring in 10-12 Ph.D. students, 5-8 M.A. students each year.

Are most students full time?


When does the semester start?

Fall semester usually starts in early to mid-August.

What is the size of classes?

6000-level courses have a 15-seat capacity and 8000-level courses have a 10-seat capacity.

How many grad students do you have currently?

We currently have 6 M.A. students, and 72 Ph.D. students.

How many are on assistantship?

Most of our Ph.D. students and second-year M.A. students are on Teaching Assistantships; a few are on Research Assistantships. Most first-year M.A. students support themselves.

How much does graduate school cost?

It depends on your residency status: in-state students pay less for tuition than out-of-state students, although if you have been accepted into the M.A. program and are an out-of-state student, you should ask the Graduate Coordinator to nominate you for a Regents Out-of-State Tuition Waiver (ROOST), which is available only to new students.

For academic year 2022-2023, an in-state student will pay $4,439 per semester for 12 hours of coursework, and $695 in student fees (excluding health insurance premiums); an out-of-state student will pay $12,593 for 12 hours of coursework.

In 2022-2023, the total health insurance premium payable by students on Teaching and Research Assistantships is around $3500, which includes summer coverage. The university also contributes to this premium. Students not on assistantships are not required to carry UGA health insurance, although they may do so if they wish.

A table of current tuition and fees can be found at the Bursar's website.

More information on the mandatory health insurance plan for graduate assistants and premiums can be found at the UGA HR website

Can I work on my graduate degree part-time?

Yes, but you must consult with the Graduate Coordinator about this option, as it can be difficult to manage.

Are classes held only during the day, or are there night and evening classes?

The majority of our classes are held during the day. A few are taught in the late afternoon and early evening, but most of our students are full-time and most of our courses are taught during the day.

Does the Department of English offer any online courses?

Occasionally, during the summer. 

What is the average course load per semester in your program?

Students who are not teaching take three courses per semester, and those who teach generally take two courses per semester.

Is funding available for the M.A.?

Only limited funding, disbursed by the Graduate School, is available to first-year M.A. students. These students are eligible to teach in the second year, and most elect to do so. Teaching Assistants receive tuition waivers and stipends.

Is financial aid available? 

Our department does not offer financial aid, but financial aid is available in the form of government loans.

What research support does the department offer?

The department and Graduate School have some funds available to Ph.D. students presenting research at conferences. The Graduate School offers a number of research awards to students who must travel for their thesis or dissertation work. 

Will I have opportunities to teach during the program?

Yes. All eligible Ph.D. students are offered teaching in their first year through their fifth year. M.A. students are offered teaching in their second year, provided they are in good standing and attend all orientation workshops run by the First-Year Composition Program.  All new teaching assistants must take ENGL 6911 during their first year of teaching.

What is the job placement rate for students recently graduated?

Of the 27 doctoral students who graduated in the past two years, all are employed in a college or university. Fourteen of these hold tenure track teaching positions. While many of our graduates accept one-year visiting appointments or postdoctoral fellowships, they nearly always get tenure-track positions in their second or third year on the job market. These numbers are representative of most Ph.D. recipients in the field.

Where have some of your recent graduates found work? 

Recent doctoral students have found jobs at Louisiana State University, The University of Alabama, SUNY Albany, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehouse University, Milsaps College, Rhodes College, Montevallo University, Columbus State University, and Georgia Southern University. Our M.A. students often continue on to a doctoral program or work as high schools or college instructors.

What kind of reputation does the Graduate Program in English have?

Our reputation is good. In 2010, the National Research Council ranked us joint 43rd among English graduate programs in the U.S. In its July 2008 issue, Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked the University of Georgia 18th in the nation for doctoral degrees conferred upon African Americans

For a more nuanced sense of whether we will meet your needs, you might consult the website, which allows you to enter your own terms and search for rankings according to your priorities.

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