Department of English

Applying to the Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. Program in English admits students for the fall semester only.

The Fall 2021 application deadline is 11:59 pm (Central Standard Time) on December 7, 2020.

ApplyTexas Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered. There are no exceptions.

All applications require the following:

  1. Writing sample
  2. Personal Statement/Statement of purpose
  3. Letters of recommendation
  4. General GRE
  5. Transcripts

Applicants must meet all minimum requirements of the UT Austin Graduate School including:

  • A Bachelor's degree from an accredited university
  • A 3.0 or higher GPA in upper-division coursework
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS score(s), if applicable.

It is essential that applicants read and follow the application directions given by the Graduate School.

How to submit an application:

  • Complete the ApplyTexas application. We recommend that you submit the ApplyTexas application at least 2 weeks before the deadline.
  • Pay the application fee.

After completing your application and paying the application fee, you will receive an email with an EID and temporary password. This EID and temporary password will allow you to:   

Please note: your application is not complete until you have uploaded your supporting materials.

As many as two days can pass between your submission of the ApplyTexas application and your receipt of the email with your EID and password to log into the Application Status Check. Please be patient and plan accordingly. If you do not receive the email with your EID and temporary password after two business days, please contact the Graduate and International Admissions Center.

Upload Deadline:

All application materials under the applicant's control (i.e. personal statement and writing sample) must be uploaded by 11:59 PM CST on December 7, 2018 for the application to be considered for Fall 2019 admission.

Due to the volume of applications, the English Office cannot confirm the receipt of individual items. Applicants are normally notified of the Program's decision by the end of February.

Required Application Materials

Writing Sample

It is largely on the basis of the writing sample that we judge your readiness and aptitude for graduate study, in particular your ability to recognize and to effectively state research-worthy problems. Since scholars typically situate their interpretive work in the context of an existing professional conversation, compelling writing samples typically—although not always—establish their projects in reference to an important scholarly work or modest body of scholarship. Other considerations include the clarity and economy of your prose. Writing samples should be between 15 and 25 pages.

Personal Statement

Compelling personal statements invariably reveal the “intellect” beneath the writing sample as a recognizable person, someone whose combination of professional energy and personality suggests the potential for collegiality, collaboration, and inspired teaching. Applicants are strongly encouraged to formulate a research agenda in this document. We realize, and indeed almost expect, that your views of topic and method will change during your career with us.  However, we want to see your current understanding of those matters in your application. Statements of purpose should be 1 to 2 pages single spaced.

Letters of Recommendation

The Department of English requires three letters of recommendation. All letters of recommendation should informatively address the applicant’s academic achievement and potential for graduate study.  Please note: Upon submission of the completed ApplyTexas application, the University automatically contacts your recommenders via email with directions for submitting their letters. The department will not accept letters from Interfolio. Recommenders must upload their letters to the applicant's online application.

GRE Scores

Applicants must submit a GRE General Test score not more than five years old. Successful candidates typically have GRE verbal scores above the 90th percentile. You must submit a complete GRE test. Do not skip any section or your scores will be considered incomplete and not accepted.

Although the Literature in English Subject Test is not a requirement for admission, it is strongly recommended that all applicants, including those applying to the Rhetoric and Digital Literacies fields, submit a score with their application. Questions about an applicant’s preparation and readiness tend to be raised when the GRE Subject Test in Literature score is below the 60th percentile.

When arranging for the submission of your scores, be sure to enter the University code: 6882. There is no department code. Your scores take 2-6 weeks to be processed and added to your application. Be mindful of this timeline when choosing your GRE testing date.


An applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institution or proof of equivalent training at an institution outside the United States.

Additionally, an applicant must have 15 hours of upper-division English credit.

College seniors should upload their current transcript.

Transcripts must have been produced within the last calendar year.

Uploaded transcripts must be official copies. We recommend requesting an official transcript be mailed to you from your university, scanning, and then uploading a PDF of that document. Grade reports will not be accepted.

Do not send transcripts directly to the department via mail or e-mail. They must be uploaded electronically.


Please visit our FAQ page for answers to most common questions.