To be admitted to the Ph.D. program on regular status, an applicant must have:

  • A master’s degree in English or in an appropriate cognate area.
  • An academic record that reflects graduate work of high quality.
  • Met the foreign language requirement for admission on regular status to the MSU Master of Arts degree program.
  • Completed all of the requirements for the MSU Master of Arts degree program.
  • Students who are admitted to the doctoral degree program in English before they have satisfied the requirements referenced in items 3 and 4 above must do so before they may take comprehensive examinations. Credits in courses that are used to satisfy these requirements may not be used to satisfy the requirements for the doctoral degree

We accept applications for admission to the Masters or the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in English starting on October 1 until December 15. Admission is for the following fall semester. We do not accept applicants for spring admission.

To be considered for admission either to the Masters or the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in English, an applicant must complete an online application (Domestic Student Application or International Student Application) (Code 1017 for MA and 0647 for PhD) by December 15.

In this online system, you must upload the following:

Please note: we no longer require any GRE scores.

  1. A writing sample that reflects aptitude for critical and scholarly writing (approximately 20 – 25 pages).
  2. A personal statement (750 – 1000 words), in which you narrate how you arrived at your decision to pursue a graduate degree in English at Michigan State University. Describe how your personal background, experience, history, and any challenges you have encountered have informed this decision.
  3. An academic statement (750 – 1000 words), including a description of the Field(s) and/or Cross-Field(s) Areas of Inquiry you wish to pursue in the Department of English at Michigan State University.
  4. A curriculum vita.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from faculty acquainted with your scholarly work and qualified to comment upon your suitability for graduate study. When you create your profile for the online application, you will be asked to submit the contact information of your three recommenders. They will then automatically receive a link with information on how to upload their letters to the system. Be sure to create your profile well in advance of the December 15 deadline, so that your recommenders can send their letters before that deadline, as well.

*Supplemental materials such as writing sample and academic/personal statement may be added under the type “other” in the portal materials upload section which will appear after application payment is made.

Applicants must also send hard copies or electronic versions of the following materials (address below):

  1. Official transcripts. Scanned copies or copies uploaded by the applicant are considered unofficial. Transcripts must be original and sent directly from the issuing institution via mail or email ( to be considered official. International students must provide hard copy transcripts. Note: We may use unofficial transcripts to make an admission decision. If admitted, official transcripts will be required.
  2. *International Students Only: TOEFL or IELTS scores. Language proficiency requirements:

Mailing Address:

Michigan State University
Office of Admissions
Attn: Graduate Admissions
426 Auditorium Rd, Room 250
East Lansing, MI 48824 

Please direct general inquiries or questions about the program to Associate Chair of Graduate Studies, Professor Kinitra Brooks (

Please direct questions regarding the receipt or status of your application materials or application system questions to Academic Coordinator, Marina Valli (