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Admissions and Application Information 

If you wish to apply to the graduate studies program in the Department of English, do the following:


1)    Read the specific Program Pages for the program to which you wish to apply—and be sure to make note of any specific requirements to that program before going on to Step 2. 

2)    Graduate School Application: Apply to the Graduate School. Here is the website you’ll need (bookmark it now!):

3)    Statement of Purpose: Supply a personal statement of purpose (300 to 500 words total); this statement should describe your intellectual interests and professional goals and explain why you think Purdue's English Department is a good place to pursue them.  You also may explain any special circumstances regarding your background and elaborate on your scholarly publications, awards, achievements, abilities, and/or professional history.

4)    Test Scores: See additional details, international students (below).

5)    Letters of Recommendation: Submit three letters of recommendation from former teachers. Ask them to describe and assess your training, skills, and ability to do graduate-level work. Letters are to be submitted electronically by the recommender using the online submission process outlined on the Purdue Graduate School webpage.

6)    Writing sample: Upload a sample of your writing, which ideally should be an essay you have written for an English course (double-spaced, roughly 10-15 pages).  Students applying to the creative writing program must also upload additional writing samples (see below).

 7)    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.  

 NOTE: Official transcripts should be downloaded with your application and official copies should be mailed to the Department (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. 



For International Students:

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.


For Applicants to the MA Program(s):

Students admitted to the M.A. program generally have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.4. They inspire strong letters of recommendation. Their statements of purpose show intelligence, creativity, a love for reading and learning, and a reflective spirit. Their written work shows discipline and scholarly promise.

 An M.A. degree is a prerequisite for admission to the Ph.D. program in English. They are separate degree programs and have different standards for admission.

For Applicants to the Ph.D. Program(s):

In general, students admitted to the Ph.D. program have earned a GPA of at least 3.6 in their Masters coursework. They can demonstrate broad knowledge of their respective fields. They inspire strong letters of recommendation from former teachers. Their written work (writing sample, statement of purpose) suggests the ability not only to do good coursework, but also to produce original, publishable research. Their classroom experience indicates their talent and potential as teachers. Their stated, scholarly goals also match or complement the expertise and research interests of our faculty.

Do you still have questions? Check our admissions FAQ.