Application Information

While most applicants to the PhD program have a BA or MA in English, we also welcome qualified students who studied in other related disciplines and show clear promise for success in English. Applicants to the MA program should also have strong undergraduate records in English or a related field.

Both our PhD program and our MA program are full-time (with part-time options available only for those receiving University of Rochester employee tuition benefits).

Application Materials

All students must submit the following materials in our online application to be considered:

  • Personal statement (two to three pages, double spaced)
  • Writing sample*
  • Two to three letters of recommendation, preferably from English faculty
  • GRE scores are optional

*The writing sample should demonstrate the candidate's analytical skills and writing ability. Essays should be from a substantial piece of work (10-20 pages, or a comparable excerpt from a longer effort, such as an Honors Thesis) that reflects the candidate's potential for successful graduate study.

We will review only your required application materials. Please do not send any confidential financial documents (including copies of tax returns, bank statements, etc.).

Fees and Deadlines

Our application fee is $70. The deadline for applications to the PhD program is January 15. The deadline for applications to the MA program is rolling; students who are admitted will enter the program in the fall semester.

If the application fee would cause financial hardship, you may submit a request for a fee waiver. The department will evaluate your request to determine if you qualify for the waiver. Please forward the following information to

  • Your application number
  • A brief statement explaining why you might qualify for a fee waiver

Contact Information

We are happy to answer any questions you may have, either by email or phone.

For questions regarding the online application system, financial details, and other administrative matters, please contact Carrie Morriss, graduate coordinator, at or (585) 275-9256.

For broader questions regarding the program's curriculum, intellectual emphases, academic requirements, and opportunities for research and professionalization, please contact Ezra Tawil professor of English and the department’s director of graduate studies, at