Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply? 
The main application form is completed online at the Graduate School website. Instructions about other materials are found at the Applying link on the main English Graduate website.

How do I submit my application materials?
Application materials are submitted electronically except for:

While the Graduate School will accept unofficial transcripts as part of the application process, please be aware that official transcripts will be required if you are admitted to our graduate program. Thus, we highly recommend that you submit official transcripts with your original application materials if at all possible. We also appreciate having official transcripts submitted with your other application materials insofar as this gives us definitive information on your coursework and any earned or in-process degrees.   Official transcripts should be downloaded with your application and official copies should be mailed to the Department (Manushag N. Powell, Director of Graduate Studies, English Graduate Office, 500 Oval Drive, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2038).  Please note that partial grade reports (e.g. reports on grades from one or two semesters or quarters) cannot be substituted for official transcripts since they do not fully reflect your complete academic record at a particular college or university.

Test scores must be sent to Purdue directly from the testing center.

What is the application deadline? 
For Fall registration, applications to all English graduate programs should arrive no later than December 30th.

How do I submit my transcripts?
While the Graduate School will accept unofficial transcripts as part of the application process, please be aware that official transcripts will be required if you are admitted to our graduate program. Thus, we highly recommend that you submit official transcripts with your original application materials if at all possible. We also appreciate having official transcripts submitted with your other application materials insofar as this gives us definitive information on your coursework and any earned or in-process degrees.   Official transcripts should be downloaded with your application and official copies should be mailed to the Department (Manushag N. Powell, Director of Graduate Studies, English Graduate Office, 500 Oval Drive, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2038).  Please note that partial grade reports (e.g. reports on grades from one or two semesters or quarters) cannot be substituted for official transcripts since they do not fully reflect your complete academic record at a particular college or university. 

Can I apply directly to your PhD program? 
All applicants must have an M.A. before they can begin our PhD program. The M.A. need not necessarily be in English.

What are the codes for GRE & TOEFL? 
GRE institution code is 1631. Departmental code is 2599. 
TOEFL Departmental code is 14.

What tests do international students need to take? 
International students must submit an official TOEFL iBT score (sent directly from the testing center). The minimum internet based scores required for admission are the following:

Writing: 22
Speaking: 22*
Listening: 22
Reading: 22
Total score: 100

*Only those with a speaking score of 27 or more can be considered for a teaching assistantship. Unqualified students who gain admission can qualify themselves through the Purdue OEPP test (OEPT), and if necessary by enrolling in ENGL 620 (Classroom Communication in ESL for International Teaching Assistants).

The English Department also accepts the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. An overall band score of 7.0 is required for admission. Minimum scores of 7.0 are required for each section of Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking. A score of 8 in the speaking section is required if you wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship in the English Department.

Is the TOEFL score required if I've received a degree in the U.S.? 

The TOEFL score will not be required for admission since you will be receiving a degree in the U.S. However, if you wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship a minimum speaking score of 27 is required on the TOEFL iBT. We generally do not admit students without funding.

Does the English Graduate Program require the GRE English Literature Subject Test? 
All English graduate applicants must take the General GRE. The subject exam is not required. It is advisable to take the test as early as possible since no application can be considered complete without the results (which must be sent directly from Educational Testing Service).

Personal Statement?
The Graduate School advises applicants to keep personal statements in the 300 to 500-word range. The English Department will accept longer statements, although we generally advise applicants to limit themselves to no more than 1500 words since the admissions committee will be reading many, many files, and it is unlikely that a statement longer than 1500 words will receive anyone's full attention. Also, please keep in mind that the goal of the personal statement should be to give us a clear, specific idea of what areas or topics you plan to study and why you think our English Department would be a good place for you to pursue your interests. While we always appreciate information that is relevant to a student's academic history, it is not necessary to include inspirational anecdotes or autobiographical vignettes in order to demonstrate your passion or dedication for pursuing graduate work in a particular field. We assume that anyone who is willing to spend the time and money to apply to graduate school is sufficiently passionate and dedicated to deserve our consideration.

How many pages should my writing sample be? 
Please send an approximately 15-page sample of critical writing from an English couses you've taken; ideally this sample should demonstrate your ability to close-read and analyze a work of literature. The sample should showcase your best, most polished writing--even if it doesn't happen to correspond with one of the fields or areas you plan to pursue at the graduate level.

What are my chances of getting a teaching assistantship? 
Your application for admission is also your application for teaching assistantship. If admitted you will automatically be considered for a teaching assisantship. Purdue's nationally acclaimed mentor program for teaching assistants offers graduate students the opportunity to develop pedagogy for college-level teaching and to fund their studies at the same time. Availability of TAships vary from year to year, but currently most students at the doctoral and masters levels receive them. The TA stipend is currently $17,000.00/year and comes with a waiver of tuition and health insurance fees. The deadline for consideration for a TA is December 30. New teaching assistantships are only available in the fall.

What teaching opportunities are available in the department? 
All of our teaching assistants begin their appointments by teaching two sections of English 106 (1 section each semester) First-Year Composition, working with a mentor and a group of other new graduate students. Purdue's English 106 is a unique first-year composition course that meets two days a week in a regular classroom, one day a week in a computer lab, and two days a week in conference centers. Following the first year, there are a number of other teaching opportunities in the English department, both in the Introductory Writing Program and in other programs: Professional Writing, tutoring in the Writing Lab, teaching ESL composition, or a literature course. Also, following the first year, which is fairly structured for teaching assistants, you will find that you have significant latitude in designing the curriculum and approach to teaching English 10600. There are currently 8 syllabus approaches to choose from that range from academic writing to writing about popular culture. While there is a lot of curricular latitude we do require instructors to work with common goals for the course. There are five approved textbooks to choose from for each course, or you may use an instructor compiled coursepack. If you choose to use a coursepack the contents of the coursepack must be approved by the Director of Composition the semester before it goes into use.

What other forms of financial support are available? 
The Department and the Graduate School offer a variety of awards on a competitive basis for both travel and research. Please see the Graduate School site for a full list and descriptions of these. Individual departmental programs such as Professional Writing and Rhetoric and Composition, along with the journals Arthuriana and Modern Fiction Studies, provide select students with non-teaching assistantships.

Where can I find information about faculty and graduate course offerings? 
See the links for Faculty and Courses elsewhere on the English site.

Where can I learn about housing and transportation in and around campus? 
For housing, check both the GradSea link elsewhere on the English Gradsite and University Housing (http://www.housing.purdue.edu/). Bus service is free for Purdue students throughout the greater Lafayette area (see http://www.gocitybus.com/).

What constitutes a "full-time" load of coursework in English Graduate Studies? 
The Department regards 6 hours (usually 2 courses) as full-time study, but student aid organizations usually require 9 hours (usually 3 courses) to meet their definition of "full time." New TAs usually take 6 hours (2 courses) their first semester and 9 hours (3 courses) each semester following.

Does the department have any statistics and information on Graduate Student Placement?
Yes, you can find that information here.

Does the department have any information about current student demographics?
Yes, you can find that information here.

Other questions? 
Please contact any of the following: 
The Director of Graduate Studies (mnpowell@purdue.edu
Graduate Secretary (griff@purdue.edu; telephone 765-494-3748)

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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