Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Graduate Studies in English

Graduate Admissions Information

All applications must be submitted by 12 NOON (CST) December 4. All supporting material must be received in our office December 4. We admit students for the Fall semester only.

Our application process is detailed within these pages.  However, if you have questions or need assistance, please contact us by telephone at (217) 244-1464 or via e-mail at

General Information

Admissions: The Admissions Process

Because we have many strong applicants, we admit only one out of seven or so to our graduate programs. We offer admission to approximately 40 students per year applying to the M.A. in Literature program and to approximately 5-10 students in three other programs: the Ph.D. in Literature, and the M.A. and Ph.D. in Writing Studies. We admit 6 M.F.A. candidates a year (3 in fiction, 3 in poetry). Our non-literature tracks typically have smaller applicant pools. Half or more of all admitted students accept our offers, with 20-30 new students usually entering each year. Most of our Ph.D. students have received their M.A.s at Illinois.

Each literature application is evaluated and ranked by the Director of English Graduate Studies and by members of our Faculty Admissions committee. The Director of English Graduate Studies then reviews and summarizes the files of the top-ranked candidates, and these are discussed by the Admissions Committee which, with the Director, makes final decisions on admission. M.F.A. application files are reviewed and ranked by the Creative Writing faculty and Director; Writing Studies files are similarly reviewed and ranked by the Director and faculty of the Writing Studies program.

Although the percentage of applicants admitted and their average scores vary from one year to another and from one program to another, most have grade point averages well above the Illinois Graduate College minimum of 3.0 on a 4-point scale. Most students admitted into the M.A. and Ph.D. in Literature programs have GPAs above 3.6. Applicants to the Ph.D. program ordinarily have GPAs of 3.8 or higher. Most literature applicants have Verbal GRE scores above the 85th percentile. Such score, of course, are far from the only criteria for admission, and files are evaluated holistically. We are interested in assessing what strengths candidates can bring to our program and whether we are a good fit for their interests.

Please Note: We admit only full-time students, and do not accept candidates at midyear.

If you have questions about the application process, please email us at .