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Admission Requirements for PhD


Admission to the PhD program in English requires a Master's degree from an accredited institution. Students with baccalaureate degrees who wish to pursue a PhD must submit evidence of an MA degree, or be admitted first to the MA program. Other qualifications appear below. Applicants should be mindful that meeting the minimum standards for admission does not guarantee admission. 

Admission Qualifications and Application Materials

  • Applicants should have maintained a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in all graduate work.
  • Applicants should have a Master's degree in a field related to their intended area of emphasis.
  • Applicants must submit a written statement of approximately 250 words identifying the specific program to which he or she is applying, particular interests in the field, reasons for undertaking graduate study in this area, relevant work experience, and future career plans.
  • Writing Sample: For students in Creative Writing, a short fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript (about 25 pages), ten poems, or an appropriate excerpt of a longer genre. For students in Rhetoric and Professional Writing, a portfolio containing work-related documents or a paper (10-20 pages) recently written in a graduate seminar in English or a related area of study. For students in all other areas, a 10- to 20-page document recently written in a graduate seminar in English or a related area of study.
  • GRE scores are not required, but may be sent as part of the application. (Institution code: 6546)
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English must submit a score on the TOEFL iBT, or TOEFL and TWE, or IELTS as part of their application.

Provisional Admission

PhD students are admitted provisionally and must take the First-Year PhD Exam during the second semester following their initial enrollment. Students who do not take the First-Year PhD Exam during the second semester following their initial enrollment become ineligible for a doctoral degree from the OSU English Department. 

Applicants with an English MA from OSU

Students who have either a general MA in English or an MA in English with an option in TESL from OSU and who wish to pursue a PhD in English at OSU must request that the English Graduate Office submit an admissions dossier to the Admissions Committee. The dossier will include copies of the MA Qualifying Examination or the MA/TESL exam (the questions, student responses, and readers’ reports), and all end-of-semester evaluations by faculty who have taught the applicants in graduate courses. If the Admissions Committee decides to admit such students to the PhD program, they are admitted fully and do not have to take the First-Year PhD Exam. However, OSU students who complete the MA degree with an option in Technical Writing and who wish to pursue the PhD in English at OSU must, for admission purposes, follow the procedures for students with MA degrees from other institutions. Admission to the MA program at OSU does not guarantee subsequent admission to the PhD program. 

Admission Checklist:

1.) OSU's English Department requires three letters of reference, please contact your references prior to beginning your application, and obtain their email addresses. 
2.) Apply to OSU Graduate College. 

3.) You will complete your entire application electronically. 
4.) Non-native English speakers must also submit TOEFL ibt, TOEFL and TWE, or IELTS scores to the Graduate College.
5.) Apply for funding through a teaching assistantship, if desired. 

Application Deadline

For fall admissions, January 15 is the Priority Placement deadline for applications. Applications received prior to January 15 will be given first consideration for assistantships and financial incentives. We will continue to accept applications until March 1, but the availability of assistantships and incentive packages diminishes after the Priority Placement deadline on January 15. 

For spring admissions, the application deadline is October 15. Students admitted in spring are typically not be eligible for departmental funding, including assistantships, until the following fall semester.