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Admissions Information: Ph.D. in Composition and TESOL

How to Apply to Our Doctoral Program in Composition and TESOL

We welcome applications from those who have a master’s degree in a language-, communication-, or education-related field such as composition, English, literature, TESOL, applied linguistics, or communication. One or more years of teaching at a secondary, two-year, or four-year school, college, or university is recommended. To apply, students must submit the following to the Graduate Admissions office:

  • Official transcripts from previous schools attended. A grade-point average of 3.5 in the master’s degree is considered competitive.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (Internationship English Language Testing System) scores (international applicants only; please see more information below)
  • Three letters of recommendation are preferred; two are required
  • A goal statement that describes the applicant’s research interests and goals for doctoral studies (about three pages, double-spaced)
  • Vita or résumé

We do not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Students may begin the program in the Fall semester or first Summer session only. We do not begin students in the Spring. The graduate application form, graduate assistantship application, and a graduate catalog are available online from the Graduate Admissions office or by contacting:

Graduate Admissions Office
IUP, Stright Hall
210 South Tenth Street
Indiana, PA 15705

Please do not send admission materials directly to the department. Send all applications materials to the Graduate Admissions office listed above.

Questions about applying? Please contact

Applicants should send completed admissions material directly to the Graduate Admissions office in the graduate school. When your application file is complete, Graduate Admissions will forward it to the C and T program. Please do not send materials directly to the C and T program or the English Department. Graduate Admissions will forward your folder to the C and T program when it is complete, and the C and T faculty will evaluate the application. In some cases, a telephone interview may be required. The School of Graduate Studies and Research will notify applicants of the admission decision. All graduate students assume full responsibility for knowing and fulfilling program and university requirements.

The Composition and TESOL Program Committee considers each application within the guidelines of the School of Graduate Studies and Research. A number of factors are considered by the admissions committee, including academic records, letters of recommendation, and professional accomplishments. Students who are accepted are admitted to precandidacy status. Degree candidacy is awarded to students who have passed the Qualifying Portfolio evaluation after the first summer or semester. Degree candidacy is necessary to continue in the program.

International Applicants

International applicants should also visit the graduate school’s website for international applicants. Information for international applicants may also be found on the website of IUP’s Office of International Affairs.

International applicants are required to submit scores from TOEFL or IELTS, taken no more than one year prior to the expected date of enrollment. A TOEFL score of 600 or higher is competitive. TOEFL or IELTS are required even when the student has earned a master's degree from a college or university in the U.S.  

Applicants who are speakers of English as a second language must also submit TOEFL scores less than one year old. We look for a minimum TOEFL score of 600 paper-based (PBT), 250 computer-based (CBT), or, 100 Internet-based (iBT), and a minimum TWE (Test of Written English) score of 5.0. ILETS score must be at least 6.0.

Applications must include TOEFL scores in order to be processed by the School of Graduate Studies and Research. Information about this examination may be obtained by contacting the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA. The linguistic proficiency of international students who received their M.A. degrees outside the U.S. is assessed by examining all application materials: the TOEFL scores, recommendation letters, goal statement, and the presence of content courses in English on the applicant’s transcripts. A total TOEFL score between 560 and 580 indicates to the admissions committee that an applicant is not sufficiently proficient in English to succeed in the program. If other factors warrant, students with somewhat lower TOEFL total scores may sometimes be admitted on condition that they successfully complete the appropriate American Language Institute (ALI) program at IUP before starting doctoral coursework. For students who are offered conditional admission through the ALI, a separate application to the American Language Institute is then required. Applications to the ALI may be obtained by writing to: Director, American Language Institute, IUP, Eicher Building, Room 212, 860 Grant Street, Indiana, PA 15705, USA.

In addition to the academic prerequisites and procedures for admission given above, international students must also complete an international student preliminary application form and present evidence to the School of Graduate Studies and Research of having financial resources sufficient to meet the cost of living in Indiana, Pa.; the cost of travel to and from the student’s native country; and the cost of graduate education at IUP. Send evidence directly to:

Graduate Admissions Office
IUP, Stright Hall
210 South Tenth Street
Indiana, PA 15705

The School of Graduate Studies and Research wll notify IUP’s Office of International Affairs of each international student’s admissions; the foreign student advisor will send information about the university, issue certificates of eligibility such as I-20s and IAP-66s to admitted students. For questions about legal and visa matters, visit the FAQ for International Students webpage.

Please do not send materials to the C and T Program or the English Department. Applicants should send completed admissions material directly to the Graduate Admissions office in the graduate school at the address above. When your application file is complete, Graduate Admissions will forward it to the C and T Program for a decision about admission.

  • Graduate Office: Composition and TESOL
  • Leonard Hall, Room 111
    421 North Walk
    Indiana, PA 15705-1094
  • Phone: 724-357-2263
  • Fax: 724-357-3056
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.