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The Online Application

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

Additional Required Materials

All additional materials, including letters of recommendation, may be submitted electronically to, or via mail to:

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

Additional materials include:

  • One-page statement of purpose
  • A recent sample of the applicant's writing, at least ten pages in length, which demonstrates the ability to conduct scholarly investigation. We prefer but do not require a literary analysis for the writing sample.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from all previously attended undergraduate and graduate programs

More about 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 electronically to, or vial mail to:

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

More about Statements of Purpose

Statements of purpose should discuss your professional goals and why our program is the best fit for you. For help with these, check out the following:


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 English Department's graduate director, Dr. Catherine Seltzer, 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.

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

Deadlines apply to the receipt of ALL application materials 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 are registered, which is often a week or two after acceptance to the program.

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

Foreign Language Requirement

Applicants to the Literature specialization 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. 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.

Notification of Decision

Students admitted to the program will be notified by email by the department's Director of Graduate Studies. (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.

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