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How to Apply to the PhD Program in Literature and Criticism

The Literature and Criticism Program has rolling admissions throughout the year, and admissions decisions are made on a monthly basis.

Students seeking financial aid for the regular academic year, however, must apply before March 15 for the following Fall semester in order to be considered for assistantships.

Further information, including online application forms and links to the graduate admissions office, are available on the Literature and Criticism website.

The School of Graduate Studies and Research Catalog is available from: Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Research, Stright Hall Room 101, 210 South Tenth St., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705, U.S.A.

Copies of the Literature and Criticism program handbook are available from: Director, Graduate Studies in Literature, Leonard Hall Room 111, 421 North Walk, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705, U.S.A.

Applicants should fill out the online application, and send any supporting materials (such as letters of recommendation or writing sample) directly to the graduate admissions office:

Graduate Admissions
School of Graduate Studies and Research
Stright Hall Room 101
210 South Tenth Street
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705, U.S.A.

The School of Graduate Studies and Research notifies applicants of the admissions decision, based on the recommendation of the English Department's Graduate Literature Admissions Committee. A graduate student is expected to assume full responsibility for knowing and fulfilling graduate program and university requirements, procedures, and regulations.

A Formal Application to the Doctoral Program in Literature and Criticism includes:

  1. An official transcript of undergraduate coursework for which a bachelor’s degree has been awarded with a minimum grade point average of 2.6 (on a 4-point scale), or the equivalent from an accredited institution of higher learning.
  2. An official transcript of graduate-level coursework for which a master’s degree in English, or a related area, has been awarded from an accredited institution of higher learning.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to assess the student’s academic performance and potential for doctoral studies.
  4. The applicant’s statement of goals. This goal statement is one of the most important documents to be considered in an application. Applicants should directly address ways in which the program chosen will help them meet their particular goals.
  5. International applicants are required to submit scores from the TOEFL, taken no more than one year prior to the expected date of enrollment. The School of Graduate Studies and Research will not process applications lacking TOEFL scores. Information about this examination is obtained by writing directly to: TOEFL, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, U.S.A. The linguistic proficiency of an international student who received the M.A. outside the United States is assessed by examining all application materials: the recommendations, the applicant's statement of goals, the presence of content courses in English on the transcript, as well as the TOEFL scores. Students are advised to take the new written essay section of the TOEFL if available.
  6. A writing sample, while not required, is strongly recommended as a part of the application.
  7. GRE scores are not required.

The Literature Admissions Committee considers each application within the guidelines of the School of Graduate Studies and Research. The committee looks at the student's academic record, writing ability, letters of recommendation, and professional accomplishments. GRE scores are not required. Students who are accepted are admitted to pre-candidacy status. Applicants who indicate that they do not plan to work toward the degree but wish to enroll in one or two graduate courses for which they are qualified may apply to the School of Graduate Studies and Research for Special Graduate Standing, but such enrollment does not constitute admission to the Program.

Candidates without the master's degree may consider one of the department's M.A. in English programs. The M.A. in English permits students to concentrate coursework in literature (M.A. Literature), in a generalist approach that includes literature, composition, TESOL, and linguistics (M.A. Generalist), teaching English to speakers of other languages (M.A. TESOL), or teaching English at the high school level (M.A. Teaching of English).

Please Note: Because of the limited opportunity for gaining teaching experience on campus, we cannot guarantee any student classroom teaching experience as part of the degree program.

The program deadline for receipt of all application materials is one month prior to the start of each semester. Applications received after the deadline are considered for the following semester. Prior to each semester or summer session, newly admitted and continuing graduate students with precandidacy status will plan coursework and the fulfillment of requirements for the degree with their advisor, the director of Graduate Studies in Literature, Dr. David Downing. Based on their interests, students will choose a faculty mentor to provide advice on the program and professional involvement and growth.

Further Information for International Applicants

In addition to the academic prerequisites and procedures for admission given above, international students must complete an international student preliminary application form, and must present evidence to the School of Graduate Studies and Research of financial resources sufficient to meet the cost of living in Indiana, Pennsylvania; the cost of travel to and from the student’s native country; and the cost of the graduate education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Such evidence should be sent directly to: Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Research, Stright Hall Room 101, 210 South Tenth St., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705, U.S.A., as a part of the application for admission.

The Graduate School notifies the university’s foreign student advisor of international student admissions; the foreign student advisor mails general information about the university and issues certificates of eligibiity such as I-20’s and IAP-66’s to admitted students.

Questions about legal and visa matters should be addressed directly to the Foreign Student Advisor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania 15705, U.S.A.

  • English Department
  • Leonard Hall, Room 110
    421 North Walk
    Indiana, PA 15705-1094
  • Phone: 724-357-2261
  • Fax: 724-357-2265
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.