APPLYING to the ENGLISH GRADUATE PROGRAM (effective Summer 2012)

Application requirements outlined below apply to both the M. A. and to the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Programs unless otherwise noted.

How to Apply

Begin by going to the SIUE Graduate School web site, which contains all necessary information regarding applying to SIUE, including requirements, fees, deadlines, application forms, and financial aid. It is possible to apply online.

Letters of Recommendation

For Admission to all of the English Language and Literature Department's Graduate Specializations, in addition to your graduate application, you must submit three letters of recommendation. Letters written by former and current professors are strongly recommended; letters by family members, clergy, etc are best avoided. Please do not request or submit more than the required three letters; this only imposes a burden on busy professionals, and additional letters do not increase your chance of acceptance; there is in fact a high likelihood they will never be read. Ask your recommenders to write candidly about your qualifications, discipline, creativity, intellectual independence, capacity for critical thinking, and ability to organize and express ideas clearly. 

Recommendations should be written on official letterhead, and submitted to: 

Office of Graduate and International Admissions, Box 1047, SIUE, Edwardsville, IL, 62026-1047

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-380), students have the right to read letters of recommendation sent to an institution upon request. If you  would prefer to waive this right, or if your recommender has asked that you do so and you wish to comply, please print and sign our recommendation waiver form and have your recommender send it along with his or her letter. Completing this waiver form is not a requirement of admission.

Supporting Materials

Along with submitting a classified application and three letters of recommendation, applicants must submit the following supporting materials to the graduate school (please do not include additional materials beyond what is required):

American and English Literature: (1) a one-page statement of purpose; (2) a recent sample of the applicant's writing, at least ten pages in length, which demonstrates the ability to conduct scholarly investigation.

Teaching of English as a Second Language and Teaching of Writing: a 3-5 page paper which explains how the applicant became interested in the field of TESL or TOW, what the applicant hopes to learn in the program, and how that learning will help the applicant in a career.

Creative Writing: (1) a one-page statement of purpose; (2) either two complete prose works (short stories, novel chapters, and/or creative non-fiction pieces), or 10 poems, depending upon genre of interest.

Statements of Purpose: for help with these, check out the following:

These Department-specific materials are to be mailed directly to the Office of Graduate and International Admissions, Box 1047, SIUE, Edwardsville, IL, 62026-1047.

Students admitted to the program will be notified, first, by email. (Thus it is crucial for applicants to notify the Director of Graduate Studies of any change of email address during this process.) This informal notification from the Department serves primarily to give students the name of that faculty member who will serve as their advisor. Once formally notified of admittance by the Graduate School, students must contact that advisor in order begin the advising process and to register for classes.


Applicants to the program are responsible for the timely receipt of all application materials.

Deadline for admission to the program is generally one month prior to the first day of classes of a given term (e. g., if Fall term classes start on August 15, the deadline for applications will be July 15; the deadline for the Spring term will be early December, and the deadline for international students is, for all terms, even earlier than the dates above, typically 6 or 7 weeks earlier). Checking well ahead of the deadline, with both the English Department and with the SIUE Graduate Admissions Office (618.650.3010), to determine if all materials have been received will prevent frustration and delay.

The deadline dates in the preceding paragraph are approximations; the actual dates vary from year to year. For exact dates, select the appropriate "Academic Calendar" link at the Registrar's Class Schedules page. [This link will open in a new browser window.]

International applicants should also consult the Graduate School's International Student Application page.

Deadlines apply to the receipt of ALL application materials — application form, transcript, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, TOEFL scores (if applicable), and writing sample — not just to the application form itself. The application must be received by the Graduate School NO LATER THAN the specified deadline. Please understand that waiting until the last minute to submit materials reflects poorly on the seriousness of your commitment to graduate studies.

HELPFUL HINT: Keep in mind that the December deadline for Spring term applications occurs very close to finals week, when faculty are very busy, and very close to winter break, when the University is shut down for nearly two weeks and faculty are not available for application review, nor are staff personnel available to process paperwork. The deadline for Fall term occurs in late summer, again a time when many faculty are not readily available to review application materials. These official deadlines have often proven problematic for students in the past, so plan on submitting ALL of your materials much sooner (for example, by November 1 for the Spring term and by April 1 for the Summer and Fall terms). Submitting your application close to the deadline also increases the chances that the classes you want to take will be full by the time you can be registered, which is often a week or two after a decision has been made on your application.

To check on the status of your application, please contact Graduate and International Admissions, x3770.

For information on financial aid please see this site's Fellowships and Assistantships page.

Evaluation of Applications

Admission to the program is based upon a review of an applicant's transcripts, overall GPA, GPA in English courses, letters of recommendation, writing sample and/or Statement of Purpose. Some particular considerations include the following:

GPA: Applicants to all specializations must have at least a 2.5 GPA in previous academic work.

Foreign Language: Applicants to Teaching of English as a Second Language M. A. specialization are required to have completed at least two years of college-level course work in the same foreign language with a C (or better) average, or to have equivalent competence. Applicants to the Creative Writing and American and English Literature specializations are required to have completed at least one year of college-level course work in the same foreign language with a C (or better) average, or to have equivalent competence. The Teaching of Writing specialization offers alternatives to the language requirement, although foreign-language coursework may help meet a program requirement. If you have not yet completed the required course of foreign languages, you may be admitted under the condition that you complete that coursework while enrolled in the program.

Published by: Department of English Language and Literature
Last Update: by English Web Manager