MA and MA/PhD

To be admitted to the MA program, a candidate should have majored in English as an undergraduate, with at least 18 hours in upper division courses in literature or linguistics. Students with other undergraduate majors may be admitted provided their background in English studies is suitable and provided they complete an appropriate course of preliminary study. The candidate should have an overall undergraduate average of at least a B (3.0), with a higher average in courses in the major.


To be considered for the PhD program, a candidate should hold an MA degree in English or its equivalent.

International applicants must send a copy of their TOEFL score, per university requirements.

Application Process and Materials

Apply online through the Office of Graduate Studies 

  • The University requires a $65 fee and one set of transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended. 

  • If already enrolled as a PBS student or as an undergraduate student at MU, you must file a transfer of division form with the admissions office.

The following items are needed to complete your application for the MA, MA/PhD, and PhD programs.

  • GRE scores. The general test is required.
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least two of which must be academic).
  • One transcript from all colleges or universities you have attended.
  • CV
  • List of any previous graduate classes taken (for PhD candidates)
  • Statement of purpose (approximately 500 words): The admissions committee is interested in your past academic interests, including specific papers and projects you have worked on, and what you wish to accomplish as a graduate student. Please explain why you wish to pursue a particular emphasis (poetry, Romanticism, etc.) in this department. The Statement of Purpose serves as your request to be considered for a Graduate School fellowship.
  • Writing Sample: One 15-20 page scholarly paper for students applying for Literature Studies or for English Language and Linguistics. Creative Writing applicants should submit one critical/scholarly paper (15-20 pages) and one of the following: a sample of your fiction (15-30 pages), creative non-fiction (15-20 pages), or poetry (15-20 pages). 

Your application cannot be read until all of these materials have been received. All materials must be received by the departmental deadline of January 1.

In order to apply for the accelerated MA/PhD program, please follow the steps below.

  1. Start a doctoral or master’s program application at
  2. Select an English (PhD) or English (MA) option in the Application Information section
  3. Select an MA/PhD option in the English Department Application section