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Prospective Students

How to Apply for the PhD in English Language and Literature

The 2018 application for the 2018-2019 academic year will be available September 8, 2017. Applications and supplemental materials must be received by midnight, PST, December 10, 2017 to meet our deadline. The fee for United States citizens and those with permanent resident visa status is $75. The fee for non-U.S. citizens is $90. The application fee for current Rackham students, regardless of citizenship, is $10. This fee is non-refundable and subject to change.

Make sure you have every document uploaded before you submit your application, once you click on the submit button, you will not be able to go back into your application to make any changes. To reiterate, we will not be able to accept hard copies of any documents.

Applicants with Master's degrees are given equal consideration for admission, but are not guaranteed advanced standing in the program. We do not accept Non-Candidate for Degree status applicants to our program. We do not offer online courses, Our program is a full-time residency program.



See the following website for detailed information on the transcripts process: http://www.rackham.umich.edu/admissions/preparing_to_apply/required_documents/transcripts/

Official transcripts must be sent to the Rackham Graduate School. DO NOT SEND YOUR TRANSCRIPTS TO THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT.


  • Scores from the Graduate Record Examination no older than five years. Please be sure to take the general GRE no later than October to meet the December 10 deadline. Be sure you include our Institution code of 1839, when sending us your GRE scores. The Department code is not required in order for your scores to reach our office. We do not require the GRE Subject test score.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).The minimum TOEFL score accepted is 620 on paper, 260 on the computer or 106 internet. The test date must be within 2 years of the application deadline. Photocopies and/or faxed scores will not be accepted. We do not accept any test scores other than the TOEFL. Be sure to include our Institution code of 1839 when sending us your TOEFL scores. The Department code is not required in order for your scores to reach our office.
  • Applicants who have earned or will earn a Bachelor's or Master's degree are excempt from submitting an official English proficiency if:
  • The degree was earned from an institution where the language of instruction is English, exclusively. This exception does not apply if some classes completed were taught in a language other than English. Verification from the school may be required.
  • The degree was earned from a country where the official language is English (United States of America, Australia, England, New Zealand).


  • Clearly labeled academic & intellectual Statement of Purpose: up to two pages, double spaced, statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how Michigan's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. Disregard the 500 word limit as stated on the application.
  • Clearly labeled biographical Personal Statement: up to two pages, double spaced, statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an Academic Statement of  Purpose, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. Disregard the 500 word limit as stated on the application.

  • A curriculum vitae/resume, no page limit. Your CV/resume must be submitted online. No fax, email or attachment will be considered.
  • Admissions Conduct Code: the Admission Conduct Code questions are part of the online application process. You will be prompted to provide the necessary information and your response will be submitted electronically. There is no need to follow-up with paper copies.
  • Three letters of recommendation: Please register your recommenders on the recommender listing application page. Applications will be reviewed with two recommendation letters. (uploaded into the CollegeNet system) by the December 15 deadline. We do not accept hard copies, faxed or e-mailed letters, or recommendation letters submitted through Interfolio. You can submit your application prior to the submission of all three letters of recommendation.

  • Writing Sample: of no more than 25 pages double spaced, of critical or scholarly writing.
  • Please select a sub-plan. You may refer to the list below for examples of sub-plans, though a sub-plan need not be listed here to be valid on the application.

18C American Lit
18C British Lit
19C American Lit
19C British Lit
20C American Lit
20C British Lit
American Lit
African-American Lit
Asian-American Lit
British Lit
Colonial Am. Lit
Comparative Lit
Critical Theory
Cultural Studies
Disability Studies
Early Modern
Ethnic and Minority Lit
Feminist Theory
Gender Studies
Holocaust Lit
Irish/Scottish Lit
Jewish Lit
Law and Lit

Mass Media
Medieval Lit
Modern Novel
Modern Poetry
Native American
Post-Colonial Lit
Post-Modern Lit
Queer Theory
Southern Literature
The Novel
Transatlantic Culture
Transatlantic Lit
Victorian Novel
Victorian Poetry
Women’s Lit
Other ____________

The University of Michigan requires certain entering international students to be screened for tuberculosis (TB). This requirement is in response to recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Advisory Committee for Elimination of Tuberculosis to screen individuals from countries where TB is common. Screening will be offered free on campus and a TB infection would not jeopardize a student's visa status. Health care is completely confidential. For further information, see http://www.uhs.umich.edu/tbscreen.

For the academic year 2018-2019, students from the following countries (identified by the World Health Organization as together accounting for 80% of the world's TB cases) with an F-1 or J-1 visa type and a Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued by UM will be screened for TB: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, China (includes Hong Kong SAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Note: All credentials submitted for admission consideration become the property of the University of Michigan and will not be returned in original or copy form.

The English Department will be closed December 24th through January 1st.

Make sure you receive an electronic confirmation of your submitted application.

Click here to proceed to the online application.

Email us with questions (graduate.english@umich.edu) or call 734.763-4139

All materials must be received in our office by December 10. We adhere to a strict deadline. This is not a postmark date. It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure that all materials are uploaded successfully and on-time. Applications that remain incomplete after this date will not be considered.

Dept. of English Language and Literature

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435 S. State Street, 3187 Angell Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003
Phone: (734) 764-6330 Fax: (734) 763-3128