Department of English

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Topics

General Information
GRE and Subject Test
Transcripts
Writing Sample
Statement of Purpose
Letters of Recommendation
Course Work and Major
Application Procedures
Enhancements
Expectations

 

General Information

What is the application deadline date?
Your ApplyTexas online application form must be submitted by December 7th, 2020 at 11:59 pm CST. The deadline to submit your supporting application materials is December 13th, 2020 at 11:59 pm CST.

How early can I apply and submit my application materials?
ApplyTexas will open the Fall 2021 application on August 1. After you submit your online application form and pay your application fee, you will receive an email with your UT Austin credentials. Once you receive this email, you will be able to upload your application materials via the Document Upload System.

Will you let me know if something of decisive importance is missing from my file?
No. Due to the volume of applications, the English Office cannot confirm the receipt of nor manage your application materials. You are responsible for ensuring all applications materials are submitted by their respective deadlines. This is accomplished via your MyStatus "ToDo List."

When will I hear an admission decision?
Historically, notification of the program's admissions decision are sent out via email within the first couple of weeks in February.

Why does the decision process take so long?
Each dossier receives multiple anonymous readings from the faculty. Once the Admissions Committee has identified those applicants who have earned the greatest faculty interest and enthusiasm, the really labor-intensive process of building a cohort begins.

 

GRE and Subject Test

(Please visit the Graduate School's Graduate Admission website for more information re: test scores. For specific questions about required testing, please contact giatest@austin.utexas.edu)

Is there a minimum general GRE or Subject Test score?
No. The University’s Office of Graduate Studies designates a minimum composite GRE score, but graduate programs can petition for exemptions.

Do I need to re-take the GRE if I have an M.A. degree?
No, as long as your score is not more than five years old (based on the start of the semester for which you are applying).

Can I apply without GRE scores?
You can start and submit your ApplyTexas online application form prior to taking your GRE. However, your application file will be marked "Incomplete" without these scores. We must receive your scores by mid-December in order for your application to be fully considered.

Can I apply if I’ve taken the GRE but the scores will not be reported by the application deadline?
Yes, as long as we receive the scores by mid-December.

How long does it take for UT to receive my GRE from ETS?
Score reporting times can vary. According to the ETS website, "Your official scores will be available in your ETS account and sent to the institutions you designated approximately 10-15 days after your test date."

Do I need to take the Subject Test in Literature?
No. We do, however, strongly encourage applicants to submit a score for the Subject Test, as it can provide a more comprehensive picture of your academic preparedness. Applicants applying to the Rhetoric and Digital Literacies fields are also encouraged to submit a score for the Subject Test, but it is not a requirement for admission. Applicants to the New Writer's Project do not need to submit a score for the Subject Test.

 

Transcripts

(Please visit the Graduate School's Graduate Admission website for more information re: transcripts. For specific questions about transcripts, please contact gradtranscript@austin.utexas.edu)

Do I need transcripts from schools that are not four-year colleges?
No.

Can I have my transcripts sent directly to GIAC from my institution(s)?
Only if your college or university uses the electronic SPEEDE delivery service. Please do not mail official transcripts or paper copies of your transcripts before you are offered admission. Sending paper copies of documents will significantly delay the processing of your application.

 

Writing Samples

What makes for a competitive 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.

Can I submit a longer Writing Sample?
Yes, but excess length is often read as a symptom of imprecise argumentation and/or poor writing. Less really can be more in a writing sample.

 

Statement of Purpose

What items should I include in my statement of purpose?
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.

Should I submit my Statement of Purpose to “Apply Texas” or as a separate document?
Instead of retyping your essay, you can just type in “See Attached Statement of Purpose” and upload it with your other documents.

 

Letters of Recommendation

Must I have three recommendation letters or is two acceptable?
Applicants will be at a severe disadvantage with only two letters of recommendation.

Can I have more than three letters of recommendation?
It is highly discouraged. Evaluators spend a great deal of time reviewing all supporting materials of your application packet. More letters of recommendation could be interpreted as a lack of confidence. It is better to chose three strong recommenders than four adequate ones.

Does the program accept mailed recommendation letters or letters from Interfolio?
No. Your recommenders must submit their letter of recommendation via the email invitation sent to them from GIAC.

What should I do if one of my recommenders has not received their email invitation to submit their letter of recommendation?
You can resend the invitation email via MyStatus. Click on "Manage your recommendation requests" link in your "To Do List" and follow the prompts to resend the email.

 

Course Work and Major

Must I have been an English major to get in to the Ph.D. program?
No. However, we do require at least 15 hours of upper-division English credit for entry into the program.

Must I have earned 15 hours of upper-division English credit by the time of my application?
Yes—unless you are concentrating your research in Rhetoric or Digital Literacies and have earned 15 hours of field-relevant, upper-division course work.

Should I report my overall GPA or my GPA in English courses?
We are more concerned with your GPA in English (and related) courses.

Can I apply even though I have not yet graduated with my B.A.?
Yes—but you will be required to present evidence of your graduation before you join our program the following fall.

Is foreign language training an asset to my application?
Yes—in all instances and especially in cases where it is relevant to or even necessary for a student’s proposed area of research.

 

Application Procedures

Do I need to apply for a teaching assistantship (TA), assistant instructorship (AI), or fellowship as part of my application?
No. All admitted students receive funding, which includes a mix of teaching assignments and research fellowships. In addition to our basic funding package, students can apply for further support—including professional development opportunities and competitive fellowships—while in residence.

Will I be disqualified from consideration if some of my materials have not arrived by December 7th?
No—but only if you have properly submitted all the materials reasonably under your control (e.g. transcripts, personal statement, writing sample. etc.).  Of course, it is difficult for late materials—scores and recommendations, in particular—to play a role in this rather intense competition if they do not arrive before we complete the application review stage. 

Can I waive the application fee?
The department does not provide fee waivers directly. However, students who qualify can request a fee waiver from the Graduate and International Admissions Center. Please visit the Graduate School's website for more information. The information is listed under the section titled "Fee Waivers."

 

Enhancements

Do I need to take any particular courses to help my admission chances before I apply?
No.

Is there an optimal age for a beginning graduate student?
No.

Can students over 30 apply?
Yes.

 

Expectations

Does the program have an interviewing process, and if so, is it advantageous to visit UT for an interview?
No.

 

If the FAQ page has not answered your question, do not hesitate to contact the admissions coordinator, Matthew Satterfield.