Applying for Admission

See also the WSU Graduate School’s FAQ at

  1. How do I apply for the MA or PhD in English?
    To be admitted to the Graduate Program in English, you must apply through the WSU Graduate School’s online application form. The application deadline is January 10.
  2. I’m especially interested in research in a particular field of study. Can you tell me whether your program has any faculty researchers with my interests?
    Our program has researchers in a broad range of fields. You can find their specializations on the department’s Faculty & Staff page.
  3. Here are my scores on various tests and my GPA. Can you tell me my chances of admission to the program? Do I need to take the GRE?
    First, some good news: you don’t need to take the GRE to apply. We don’t require the GRE main or subject test for admission. We can’t evaluate your materials or prejudge your chances for admission, however. We can only consider applications received through the Graduate School by January 10.
    We don’t have a set list of scores for determining admission, but the WSU Graduate School, and hence the English Department, has a GPA requirement: “Prospective domestic students must have received a baccalaureate degree from a college or university, accredited by a recognized association, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00.” (See
    The English Department’s Graduate Studies Committee meets after the January 10 deadline to consider the application pool and make admission selections. They look closely at writing samples, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and grades as part of an overall process.
  4. Can I apply for the PhD program directly after receiving my BA?
    Our PhD program applicants must all have completed an MA, so you can’t apply directly after receiving your BA.
  5. How long should my writing sample be? Should I send it to you directly?
    Writing samples should be the length of a seminar paper or an article, about 10-25 pages, double-spaced. They are typically drawn from papers you’ve written for your graduate or undergraduate courses or from a master’s thesis. They should demonstrate your ability to do critical, analytical work of the kind required for your program of study.
    All materials must be uploaded to the WSU Graduate School site rather than being sent directly to us.
  6. What kinds of support are available?
    WSU’s Graduate Program in English is committed to supporting admitted MA and PhD students with teaching or research assistantships.
    Unless you have another source of full funding, such as a Fulbright Scholarship or government support, we offer a teaching assistantship if we offer you admission to the MA or PhD program. If you have a teaching assistantship, you will be granted a waiver giving you in-state
    tuition from the first year of your program as long as you apply for residency immediately. See for information on establishing Washington residency.
  7. Will you pay for my travel to Pullman and my living expenses? Will the teaching assistantship cover all my expenses?
    We cannot pay for your travel or living expenses beyond the teaching assistantship. From the teaching assistantship stipend, students pay tuition, fees, and all living expenses, including travel. Please note your first paycheck will not arrive until about 2 weeks after your start date in August.
    There are no additional funds available from the English Department, and we cannot guarantee that the teaching assistantship will cover all expenses.
    International students on F-1 and J-1 visas will need to provide verification of financial support. The teaching assistantship and tuition waiver will constitute some (but not all) of the required support. (See International Requirements for more information).
    WSU also offers scholarships and fellowships. For more information on financial assistance, see: and
  8. Do I need to send you official transcripts at the time I apply?
    More good news: you don’t need official transcripts to apply; you can upload unofficial transcripts. However, if you are accepted you will need to supply official transcripts before you are officially admitted to the program.
    When submitting official transcripts, please see for address information. Transcript services may send an email link to
    Do NOT send an email link to a transcript download service to the Director of Graduate Studies or the Academic Coordinator. Transcripts sent in this manner cannot be processed and do not count as an official transcript.
  9. When will I hear the results of the application process and whether I’ve been admitted or not?
    The Admissions Committee’s review of applications involves a great deal of reading and discussion, so the process takes time. The very earliest you would hear about your admissions status would be early in March of the year in which you applied.
    The process of admission extends into April and even May sometimes, if you are on a waitlist. The reason for this is that WSU adheres to the Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) resolution (, which means that all initial offers are valid until close of the business day on April 15 of the admissions year. Once candidates in the initial round have made their choices, those on the waitlist may receive an offer of admission.
    If you have been accepted, you will receive an initial email during this time period, followed by an official offer letter and admissions certificate from the Graduate School. If you have not been admitted, you will receive an email notification and official notification from the Graduate School.
  10. I’m an international student and will need to send documentation; where can I do so?
    Please read through the Graduate School’s information on applying for international students. This page has the information you need about financial support, documentation, and so on.
  11. Is it possible to have the application fee waived?
    The fee for applying to the WSU Graduate School can’t be waived. The applicant must pay the application fee in order to have the application processed and to be considered for admission.
  12. Would it be possible to defer my application or offer of admission until next year?
    Unfortunately, no. Offers of admission and applications are good only for the year when you applied or were accepted; there are no deferrals of either until the subsequent year. You are always welcome to reapply for the next admissions cycle, however.
  13. Whom should I contact with additional questions?
    If you have additional questions, please contact either the Director of Graduate Studies (Jon Hegglund, or the Program Coordinator (Kimberly Pedersen,

Deadline Date:

Application materials are reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester of each academic year. Application materials must be received before the deadline of January 10 for those applying for admission the following fall semester.

Graduate Admissions Process:

Each applicant is required to submit materials for a file which, when complete, is reviewed by members of the Graduate Studies Committee in English. Since the file cannot be circulated until complete, it is important that applicants promptly supply all materials within their immediate control and keep informed of the progress of materials due from other sources. Please submit all materials through the WSU graduate application system.

Application Materials for all MA and PhD Programs:

NOTE: The general GRE General and Subject exam scores are NOT required for graduate programs in English.

1.  Application form.  This form, supplied by the WSU Graduate School, must be filled out completely. Even when applicants are not applying for a Teaching Assistantship, they must fill out the entire application. The application form is available online.

2.  Academic transcripts.  One copy of each transcript representing study beyond high school is required. Send these copies to the WSU Graduate School. Transcripts representing work from the current year (not yet finished) are acceptable. Unofficial transcripts are also acceptable; however, if admitted you will need to submit certified official transcripts directly from the college or university where the academic work was completed.

3. Three confidential letters of recommendation. The applicant is required to list three referees, each with their email address.  The WSU Graduate School will then contact these referees, sending them electronic recommendation forms which will subsequently be made available to the admissions committee members in the English Department. Applicants are responsible for ensuring all referees have submitted their evaluations by the application deadline. Applicants should select referees who are capable of evaluating their qualifications for graduate study in English; at least one of the referees should address the applicant’s qualifications as a potential college-level teacher (if the applicant is applying for a Teaching Assistantship).

4. Non-Native Speaker Requirements. Official record of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Non-native speakers who do not meet any of the options for English language proficiency listed by the Graduate School (see must earn a minimum score on an English language Proficiency exam. Minimum Scores are as follows:

  • TOEFL: Paper (580); Computer (237); Internet (93). MELAB (82).
  • IELTS: 7

Students who do not meet either the Graduate School or graduate program score thresholds may be required to pass an ITA exam before being appointed as a TA.

5. International Student Requirements: Please visit the graduate school page.

6. Brief independent statement. The applicant should send a description of his or her interests in English studies, along with reasons for wishing to begin (or continue) graduate work, background or experience in teaching, career goals, and expectations regarding WSU.  This statement should be approximately 500 words (two double-spaced pages). Send the statement directly to the WSU Graduate School.

7. Writing sample. All applicants should submit a recent sample of scholarly or critical writing.  For those applying to the MA program, this sample would most likely be an essay written for an upper-level undergraduate course.  For PhD applicants, the sample might come from a graduate seminar in literature, rhetoric, cultural studies, theory, etc.  In either case, the sample should represent the applicant’s critical thinking skills and ability to write effectively for an academic audience.  Essays with a significant research component are especially appropriate. The writing sample can be sent directly to the WSU Graduate School.

View the WSU graduate admissions page for more information about the graduate application process.

Visit the WSU Financial Assistance page for information on receiving financial aid, loans, scholarships and more.

Contact Information:

Jon Hegglund
Director of Graduate Studies
English Department PO Box 645020 Pullman, WA 99164-5020 USA