Graduate Admissions

student smiling with book in hand in library

Thank you for your interest in our graduate degree programs. Below you will find instructions on applying to the University of Oregon School of Graduate Studies as well as the English Department master’s and doctoral programs and the graduate specialization in Politics, Culture and Identity. Prospective students must complete both the UO and program applications.

Graduate Admissions

Admission Procedures

To apply for graduate study in the English Department, you must first complete the University of Oregon Online Graduate Application. Once you have completed that application, you will be automatically connected with the English Department’s online application. All required items must be uploaded in order for the application to be considered complete. The department’s application requires the following:

  • A statement of purpose of no more than 500 words, uploaded electronically. The statement should clarify the applicant’s qualifications for and likely interests in graduate study.
  • An academic writing sample (maximum 5,000 words, including footnotes and bibliography) that should demonstrate your ability in any area of literary, cultural, and/or media studies, including but not limited to film and television studies, folklore, literature and the environment/environmental justice, any era of British, American, and/or Anglophone literary studies, comics studies, digital humanities, disability studies, postcolonial/decolonial studies, queer and/or gender studies, Indigenous literatures, critical race studies, poetry and poetics, or rhetoric and composition.
  • Letters of recommendation from three people familiar with your academic background and intellectual abilities; applicants provide their names and email addresses. Referees will be contacted automatically via e-mail with requests to provide recommendations.
  • Copies or unofficial transcripts of undergraduate and, if appropriate, graduate work (degree transcripts only, please) can be uploaded electronically.
    • Applicants who accept their offer of admission and matriculate must submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities from which they received a bachelor’s degree or higher. Read more about transcript requirements.
  • For non-native speakers: a minimum score 100 on the IBT (Internet-based TOEFL), or a minimum score of 8.0 on the IELTS. Scores are to be uploaded to the application.

The application deadline for PhD admission for Fall 2023 is December 1, 2022; the application deadline for MA admission for Fall 2023 is January 15, 2023. Candidates are admitted to start in fall term only.

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Admission Criteria

Admission to the MA and PhD programs in English is highly competitive. Minimum requirements for all applicants include:

  • An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.50 or, if the student has 3 or more graduate seminars in English, a graduate GPA of 3.50 or better.
  • For nonnative speakers: a minimum score of 600 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a minimum score of 100 on the IBT (26+ on the speak section), or a minimum score of 8.0 on the IELTS.

The University of Oregon affirms and actively promotes the right of all individuals to equal opportunity in education and employment at this institution without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other extraneous consideration not directly and substantively related to effective performance. This policy implements all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and executive orders.

Direct related inquiries to the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, 474 Oregon Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403; telephone (541) 346-3123, TTY (541) 346-0852.

Master’s Program

The English Department offers a robust and challenging master’s program in Literature. The deadline to apply for Fall admission is January 15.

The MA degree serves students who want to study beyond the BA but who do not plan or are not yet ready to pursue a PhD. Our program offers historical coverage in British, American, and other Anglophone literary, film, and folklore traditions, a wide range of theoretical approaches, a vital and accessible faculty, and a highly regarded composition program. Working toward the master’s degree is an excellent way to develop critical prose writing skills; to build on knowledge of literature, theory, film, and folklore; and to take advantage of our teacher training program.

MA Admission Requirements

  • An undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.50 (B+) or, if the student has 12 or more credits of graduate work in English, a 3.50 or better graduate GPA.
  • For foreign applicants whose native language is not English, a minimum score of 600 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a minimum score of 100 on the IBT TOEFL exam, or a minimum score of 8 on the IELTS.
  • We admit for fall term only; the application deadline is January 15.

The completed file is reviewed by the department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. Admissions may be conditional.

Transfer credit: Students who enroll in the MA program after doing graduate work elsewhere may transfer up to three quarter courses in English and American literature or related areas. The number and appropriateness of courses for which credit is given will be determined by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with each transfer student.

The English Department also accepts transfer work toward the MA language requirement for comparable work done within seven years. To be considered for transfer credit, a course must have received a grade of B or better and have been completed no more than seven years before the MA is completed at the University of Oregon.

MA Degree Requirements

  • English 690, Introduction to Graduate Studies
  • Two courses, one each from two ranges of three chronological areas
  • NINE additional seminars (altogether, the equivalent of two courses per quarter for two years.)
  • Reading knowledge of a foreign language
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50
  • Residency requirement of nine approved graduate seminars taken in the University of Oregon Department of English

Politics, Culture and Identity Graduate Specialization

Application Process

Any currently matriculated PhD student at the University of Oregon may apply to the PCI specialization. Interested students are encouraged to contact Associate Professor Lara Bovilsky, chair of the PCI coordinating committee, before applying.

Applications are reviewed each year in the spring and must be submitted to the Department of English no later than the end of Week 9 in the winter term.

A completed application includes:

  • Completed PCI Application Cover
  • A one page statement describing your interests in the specialization and describing any relevant coursework, research or teaching you have undertaken that is relevant to the specialization.
  • UO transcript (unofficial)
  • A brief letter of support from a PCI participating faculty member
  • Completed Graduate Specialization Declaration (Available from the Graduate School. Complete top section only)

PCI Completion Process

During your term of graduation from your PhD program, meet with Associate Professor Lara Bovilsky, chair of the PCI coordinating committee, to review the PCI Completion Checklist. When you apply to graduate with the Graduate School, be sure to select the PCI Graduate Specialization.

Bring a completed checklist and your UO transcript (unofficial). Once you have the form completed and signed, submit these materials to the English Graduate Coordinator (PLC 118) no later than Noon on the Friday of Dead Week.


PCI Application Cover

Graduate Specialization Declaration

PCI Completion Checklist

Doctoral Program

The English Department offers a robust and challenging PhD program in Literature. The deadline to apply for Fall admission is December 1.

In the PhD program students first establish a solid background in British and American literature and critical theory (years one and two) and then focus on their special field of study (years three through five). After fulfilling a limited number of distribution requirements, each student fashions an Individual Program of Study with the assistance of their Faculty Advisor, who is a specialist in the appropriate field.

Students who want to pursue a PhD at the University of Oregon should apply directly for a PhD. Students in the doctoral program who have not earned an MA prior to being admitted may receive the MA at the appropriate stage of their course of study, typically at the end of the second year (subject to the fulfillment of department and university MA requirements). The number of places in the PhD program is limited, and admission is competitive.

View our faculty and their interests in our department directory.

PhD Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor of arts (BA) or a master of arts (MA) in English or a related field, with at least a 3.50 (A-/B+) grade point average (GPA).
  • For international students whose native language is not English: a minimum score of 600 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a minimum score of 100 on the IBT TOEFL exam, or a minimum score of 8.0 on the IELTS.

PhD Residency Requirements

The Division of Graduate Studies requires at least three years of full-time work beyond the bachelor’s degree for the doctorate, with at least one year spent in continuous residence on the Eugene campus. For graduate students in English this means enrollment in at least two formal English graduate courses (excluding independent study courses [English 601, 603, 605] and training classes [English 608, 611, 612, 613]) per term for one academic year. This on-campus requirement is usually satisfied during the first full year for which the student has been admitted. Note that Division of Graduate Studies regulations specify a minimum of nine credits a term for three consecutive terms to fulfill the doctoral year of residency requirement, and that two courses a term may or may not equal this minimum. Note also that although the Division of Graduate Studies allows the inclusion of a summer session among these consecutive terms, the English Department’s regulations specify a fall-through-spring academic year.

PhD Degree Requirements

  • 18 approved graduate seminars (equivalent of two courses per quarter for three years). Six of these seminars must be in required areas:
    • Introduction to Graduate Studies
    • Introduction to Theory
    • Pre-1500
    • Renaissance
    • 1660-1800, British or American
    • 19th century, British or American
  • The twelve remaining seminars may be distributed among any areas, but must be determined by a program of study to be approved prior to the second year of study by the student’s Faculty Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies
  • Foreign Language Requirement. Doctoral students must demonstrate reading competence in two foreign languages or high proficiency in one.
  • Teaching. Doctoral candidates must have experience as classroom teachers in the department before they receive the degree.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50 in graduate course work.
  • Residency requirement of nine approved graduate seminars taken in the University of Oregon Department of English.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination (CE) is designed to enable PhD students to develop their knowledge and understanding of works in 2-3 areas of scholarship. The exam, which has a written and an oral component, should enable them to deepen reading and thinking begun in their seminars, to become acquainted with wider conversations among scholars in their areas of interest, and to discover what ideas emerge when they juxtapose readings from different theoretical schools, historical periods, literary movements, genres, forms of media, or other areas of focus. As they build reading lists with the help of advisor and committee members, students should choose areas of concentration they anticipate will be key to their dissertations. The final list of 130-150 works, approved by the three members of the exam committee, will be due in Week Two of Spring term before the academic year the student will take the CE.

The Dissertation

After passing the PhD Major Field Examination, the student prepares a twenty-page dissertation prospectus under the guidance of their dissertation advisor. When the prospectus is approved by the dissertation committee and the Director of Graduate Studies, the student officially advances to “candidacy” (becomes a PhD candidate) and is ready to write the dissertation. This is a substantial work of scholarship on a single subject, based on original research, which contributes substantially to knowledge in the field. Upon completion, the PhD candidate must undergo a formal, public dissertation defense. This is an oral examination in which the student fields questions from the committee about the subject, methodology, research findings, and knowledge of the field.

Graduate Admissions