Application and Admission
Deadlines for Applying for Fall Admission, 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 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 August of the year in which they will be entering the program.
October 1st is the date on which the English Department’s online application form can be accessed.
December 1st is the date by which you should apply to the Graduate School in order for your Graduate School application materials to reach the Department of English by the department’s application deadline.
If you are applying to the Ph.D. program, January 15th is the date by which the Department of English must receive all of your application materials: your English Department application materials, your three letters of recommendation, and your Graduate School 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 Department of English must receive all of your application materials: your English Department application materials, your three letters of recommendation, and your Graduate School application materials. February 1st is also the deadline for M.A. applicants to apply for teaching assistantships and the Diane Blair Fellowships.
1. Apply to the Graduate School by December 1st.
Note that your Graduate School application, official transcripts, and GRE General Test scores should be sent directly to the Graduate School rather than to the Department of English. (Typically, Ph.D. students have a GRE verbal score in the 85th percentile or above, and M.A. students have a GRE verbal score in the 80th percentile or above. Also, typically, both M.A. and Ph.D. students have an analytical writing score of 4.0 or above. We do not emphasize the quantitative score.)
2. Request three letters of recommendation be sent to the Department of English by January 15th (Ph.D. applicants) or by February 1st (M.A. applicants).
After submitting 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. Apply to the Department of English by January 15th (Ph.D. applicants) or by February 1st (M.A. applicants).
The English Department’s online application form can be found here.
Because you cannot save a partly completed application form and because you will need to attach documents to the form, you should complete the following steps before clicking on the above link to begin applying:
- Prepare 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; Ethnic and Regional Literatures; Gender and Sexuality; Medieval Literature; Modern American 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.
Optional Component (Dissertation Proposal) for Ph.D. Applicants Only: If you wish to do so, you may conclude your statement of purpose by describing a possible dissertation project you are considering (an expected area of specialization within literary, cultural, and/or rhetoric and composition studies; plus the more focused position you might take on a current issue of scholarly dialogue and/or debate within that area). If accepted to the program, you will not be committed to the dissertation proposal you offer here.
- Prepare 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, prepare a curriculum vitae and save it as an MS Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF file.
Note that the Department of English will not review your departmental application materials until we receive your three letters of recommendation and your Graduate School application materials.
Admission Process and Teaching-Assistantship Appointments
Each applicant will be notified of his or her admission decision and teaching-assistantship status by e-mail before April 15th. If your e-mail address changes after you have submitted your application, please notify our Graduate Administrative Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 in order to take the week-long Composition Pedagogy Workshop. This workshop then merges into a Composition Pedagogy Course (ENGL 5003), which all incoming teaching assistants take fall semester. Both the workshop 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 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.