Application and Admission

**Please note that the application cycle for Fall 2024 admission consideration is now closed.**

Teaching Assistantships, and Fellowships

All applications are considered for fall admission only. Applicants to the M.A. program should expect to receive a bachelor’s degree in English (or a related field) by no later than early August of the year in which they will be entering the program, and applicants to the Ph.D. program should expect to receive a master’s degree in English (or a related field) by no later than early August of the year in which they will be entering the program.

Start your application by no later than December 1st of the year before the one in which you wish to be admitted so that there is enough time for the Graduate School to receive all of your application materials by the department’s application deadline for your program.

If you are applying to the Ph.D. program, January 15th is the date by which the Graduate School must have received all of your application materials. January 15th is also the deadline for prospective Ph.D. applicants to apply for teaching assistantships, doctoral fellowships, and the Diane Blair Fellowships. Note that all Ph.D. applicants who apply for teaching assistantships are automatically considered for doctoral fellowships.

If you are applying to the M.A. program, February 1st is the date by which the Graduate School must have received all of your application materials. February 1st is also the deadline for M.A. applicants to apply for teaching assistantships and the Diane Blair Fellowships.

Application Process

1. Start your application to the Graduate School by December 1st. **PLEASE NOTE THAT THE APPLICATION CYCLE FOR FALL 2024 ADMISSION CONSIDERATION IS NOW CLOSED.**

Instructions for starting the Graduate School application process can be found here for domestic students and here for international students. 

Note that your Graduate School application, official transcripts, and GRE General Test scores (GRE scores are required for Ph.D. applicants but optional for M.A. applicants) should be sent directly to the Graduate School rather than to the Department of English. International applicants will also need to have official scores regarding English language proficiency sent to the Graduate School, and all applicants are required to submit an application fee.

2. Request three letters of recommendation be sent to the Graduate School by January 15th (Ph.D. applicants) or by February 1st (M.A. applicants).

After starting your Graduate School application, you will receive an e-mail prompting you to set up a UARK account. You will also receive instructions from the Graduate School on how to have your three recommenders submit letters to this account.

It would be best if the three people recommending you are current or former professors who can comment upon areas such as academic performance, scholarly interests, writing skills, professionalism, and teaching ability.

3. Complete your application to the Graduate School by January 15th (Ph.D. applicants) or by February 1st (M.A. applicants).

  • To complete your application to the Graduate School, you will need to answer the initial application questions (re: your interest in a teaching assistantship, etc.) for your respective program (English M.A. or English Ph.D.)

  • In addition, you will need to attach a statement of purpose of 250-500 words and save it as an MS Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF file. Please describe your academic training and research interests, as well as your professional goals in pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Arkansas. If you are applying for a teaching assistantship, also describe your interest in teaching composition and any teaching experience you may have.

    Note to M.A. Applicants Only: Please conclude your statement of purpose by indicating which option between our two M.A. tracks, generalist and specialist, you probably intend to pursue. If you choose the specialist track, further specify which particular area of specialization most interests you: Comparative Literature; Cultural Studies; Environmental Literature, Writing, and Culture; Ethnic and Regional Literatures; Gender and Sexuality; Medieval Literature; Modern American Literature; Religion and Literature; or Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy. In addition, explain in some detail your interest in that area and the way you could see your experience of specializing in it benefiting you in the future, beyond the completion of your English M.A. degree.

  • Also attach a writing sample of ten to twenty-five double-spaced pages and save it as an MS Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF file. Please use one document rather than multiple shorter documents. If you submit an excerpt from a longer document, include an explanation of how the excerpt fits into the whole. You are welcome to submit an essay from a previous course or a chapter from your M.A. thesis; however, do not submit a document with an instructor’s grade or comments.

    The most important part of the application, your writing sample should be an essay that offers your own original arguments within a context of what other scholars have written about the topic. Your research should be well documented in standard MLA format. It is suggested, but not required, that your writing sample be in the area on which you wish to concentrate your graduate study. We will be looking mainly for strong evidence of your ability to analyze texts critically, as well as evidence of your facility with written English. Doctoral applicants, especially, will be expected to demonstrate some level of comfort with theory.

  • If you are applying to the Ph.D. program, attach a curriculum vitae and save it as an MS Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF file. (M.A. applicants can also attach a CV or resume, but it is not required for them.)

Note that the Department of English cannot review your application until we have received all required materials.

Admission Process and Teaching-Assistantship Appointments

Each applicant will be notified of their admission decision and fellowship and/or teaching-assistantship status by e-mail by April 15th. If your e-mail address changes after you have submitted your application, please notify the Assistant Director of the Graduate Program in English at

Most students admitted into the M.A. and Ph.D. programs receive teaching assistantships, and assistantships can be awarded as late as the summer before new graduate students start their programs. In reviewing applications, the admissions committee produces a ranked list of those applicants seeking teaching assistantships. This list is given to the Director of Rhetoric and Composition, who then decides which applicants are awarded teaching assistantships as they become available.

New teaching assistants must be prepared to come to campus one week before fall classes begin to participate in a week-long New TA Orientation. This orientation week then merges into a Composition Pedagogy Course (ENGL 5003), which all incoming teaching assistants take fall semester. Both the orientation week and the course are required of all new teaching assistants, even those with considerable prior teaching experience.

First Advising Session and Registration for Classes

Before registering for fall classes, incoming M.A. and Ph.D. students meet virtually or face-to-face with the Director of Graduate Studies over the summer for an initial advising session. Before that session, incoming students should review the English Department’s graduate course descriptions, available here, so that they are prepared to discuss the classes they would like to take in the fall.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact eitherthe Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Susan Marren, at, or the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Leigh Sparks, at