MA/PhD Application Checklist


*Effective the Autumn 2021 admissions cycle, GRE General Test scores are no longer required as a part of the application.

The application deadline is December 15. If December 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the deadline is the following Monday. Offers of admission are usually made by mid-March.

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Note: Be sure to select: English Language & Literature (PhD)

For questions about application procedures, please email the English Graduate Office at

Application Materials

Unofficial Transcripts from All Colleges or Universities Attended

One copy of transcripts from each college or university attended, reflecting all graduate and undergraduate coursework is required. This copy will be considered "unofficial," but will suffice for application purposes. If admitted, you will be asked to submit official transcripts (a transcript in a sealed envelope bearing the Registrar's seal) from your degree-granting institution to the University of Washington Graduate School. 

Statement of Purpose (500 - 1,000 words)

The statement of purpose is generally between one and two pages long. It indicates some of the intellectual training and background of prospective students, their fields of interest in future English graduate studies, how the program and faculty at the University of Washington is suited to their needs, and what they would hope to bring to the program. The strongest personal statements reveal who the applicant is as a scholar, and they show how our program will help the applicant reach their goal of becoming an expert in their particular area. Competitive applications also show cohesion between the personal statement and the critical writing sample.

Critical Writing Sample

The Critical Writing Sample should be a 15-20 page paper representing the applicant's best writing, often a revised essay from an undergraduate course or part of a senior project. It is ideal if the paper takes up works or issues identified as areas of interest in the personal statement.

Three Letters of Recommendation

Use the online application to provide contact information for three people who will submit letters of recommendation. The most useful recommendations come from college professors familiar with your work as a student. Letters from employers may be helpful if your work was directly related to writing or teaching.

Proof of English Language Proficiency (Non-native English Speakers Only)

Minimum admission requirements: Non-native English speakers must demonstrate English language proficiency in one of the ways listed on the Graduate School’s Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements.

Requirements to hold a TA-ship/ASE appointment: MA/PhD students interested in an Academic Student Employee (ASE) appointment must also demonstrate English language proficiency in one of the ways listed on the Graduate School’s Memo 15: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English. If submitting TOEFL scores, you must receive a score of 26 or above on the speaking portion of TOEFL-iBT in order to be eligible to teach.

How to submit official TOEFL scores: Please ask ETS to send your official scores to the University of Washington using the University's institutional code: 4854. There is no need to include a departmental code.