Because we have many strong applicants, we admit only one out of seven or so to our graduate programs. We offer admission to approximately 25 students per year applying to the M.A. and Ph.D. in Literature program and to approximately 5-7 students for the M.A. and Ph.D. in Writing Studies. We admit 6 M.F.A. candidates a year (3 in fiction, 3 in poetry). Our non-literature tracks typically have smaller applicant pools. Half or more of all admitted students accept our offers, with 20-30 new students usually entering each year. Most of our Ph.D. students have received their M.A.'s at Illinois.
Each literature application is evaluated and ranked by the Director of English Graduate Studies and by members of our Graduate Admissions committee. The Director of English Graduate Studies then reviews and summarizes the files of the top-ranked candidates, and these are discussed by the Admissions Committee which, with the Director, makes final decisions on admission. M.F.A. application files are reviewed and ranked by the Creative Writing faculty and Director; Writing Studies files are similarly reviewed and ranked by the Director and faculty of the Writing Studies program.
Although the percentage of applicants admitted and their average scores vary from one year to another and from one program to another, most have grade point averages well above the Illinois Graduate College minimum of 3.0 on a 4-point scale. Most students admitted into the M.A. and Ph.D. in Literature programs have GPAs above 3.6. Applicants to the Ph.D. program ordinarily have GPAs of 3.8 or higher. Most literature applicants have Verbal GRE scores above the 85th percentile. Such scores, of course, are far from the only criteria for admission, and files are evaluated holistically. We are interested in assessing what strengths candidates can bring to our program and whether we are a good fit for their interests. For the 2023-2024 application season, the English Department is not requiring the GRE general test, and such scores will not be considered by the readers of applications in their deliberations.
Please Note: We admit only full-time students, and we do not accept candidates at midyear.