Application Process and Materials

PLEASE NOTE: The English Department is only accepting applications to our self-funded MA program for admission for fall of 2021.

Apply online through Graduate School

  • 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.

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

  • GRE scores (general test)    (Note: The GRE is optional for the 2020-21 admissions cycle because of the pandemic.)
  • Three letters of recommendation (two must be academic)
  • 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 relevant departmental deadline. The application deadline for the MA/PhD and PhD programs is January 1. The application deadlines for the self-funded MA are January 1 and April 1. We are only accepting applications for our self-funded MA program for admission for fall 2021.

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.

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


Admitted Students

This section offers a short primer on beginning the English graduate program at Mizzou.

The Graduate School offers this page for admitted students, which details the administrative tasks that a new student needs to do in the summer before starting the program and in the first few weeks of the semester. For more information about moving to Columbia, consult the “Our Community” page.

There is a mandatory departmental orientation the week before classes start. Victoria Thorp will send a schedule with the orientation dates to incoming students early in the summer. The Composition Program sponsors a mandatory, week-long orientation two weeks before classes start for teachers new to our composition program. 

Further Information: Whom To Ask

Professor Emma Lipton is currently the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). The DGS chairs meetings of the Graduate Studies Committee and serves as a liaison between the English Department and the Graduate School. Until you settle on an MA thesis or PhD adviser, the DGS serves as your academic adviser and can help with choosing courses, thinking through your program of study, and other academic or administrative concerns. Email:

The Graduate Studies Secretary, Victoria Thorp, assists graduate students with administrative tasks required by the Graduate School, including registration for graduate courses when permission of the instructor is required. Her office: Tate 114. Phone: 573-882-4676. Email:

The Fiscal Officer and Assistant to the Chair, Stacey LaRocco, handles the budget for the department and processes the payment of graduate students who are teaching or research assistants. Please contact her as soon as possible to arrange for paying you and to answer other financial questions you might have by phone (573-882-6918) or email

The English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) is the officially recognized body representing graduate students in the department. A variety of questions can be answered by EGSA leadership. Contact:
President: Anna Perrigo
Vice President: Veda Gerlach
Student Liaison: McKenzie Peck