Department of English at Illinois State University

FAQ: Applying to the English Graduate Program

How are applicants selected for admission?

Applicants are selected by the Graduate Admissions Committee, which is composed of the Graduate Coordinator, the Writing Director (ex officio), and additional faculty members who represent the sub-disciplines and areas within English Studies. The Graduate Committee employs a holistic approach to selection by looking carefully at all parts of the application. It also pays close attention to how applicants’ Statement of Purpose indicates their knowledge of both the English Studies model and the research and teaching expertise of the faculty.

How can I schedule a campus visit?

To schedule a campus visit, contact the Director of Graduate Studies through the Graduate Secretary, Diane Smith at 309-438-3651, or contact Diane Smith directly.

If I have a degree in a field other than English, can I still apply?

Although it is generally assumed that applicants to the Ph.D. program will have a Master's degree in English, consideration will be given to applicants whose professional careers have been in the field of English. Generally, applicants to the Master's program have completed a B.A. in English or a closely related discipline.

What are deadlines for admission materials?

The deadline for fall admission is January 15th.

The deadline for spring admission is October 15th.

These deadlines are non-negotiable. All materials must be received by the deadline in order to be considered for admission and financial support.

Do I need to take the GRE? What elements?

Yes. You need to take the verbal, quantitative, and analytic sections of the Graduate Record Examination. You need only take the general exam. We do not require the subject examination.

Do you have a minimum, or a target score, on the GRE?

No. We look at the GRE score as only one component of an applicant's dossier.

As a foreign student, what other conditions are applicable to my application?

International students are required to submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum TOEFL score required for graduate admission is 100 (internet-based testing), or 250 (computer-based), or 600-603 (paper-based testing). For International students interested in being awarded a teaching assistantship, a TOEFL iBT speaking score of 27 or higher, or the Test of Spoken English (TSE) is required.

How soon can I expect a decision on my admission application?

Since the Graduate Committee reads all applications very closely before making its decisions, applicants should anticipate that it may take up to six weeks after the application deadline before applicants learn whether their application has been accepted.