Applying to the M.A. in English

The successful applicant to the M.A. program is typically an undergraduate English major with at least a 3.0 in all courses -- but especially in English courses -- and competitive GRE scores (see below for more information). However, promising students from other undergraduate disciplines are encouraged to apply. Some excellent graduate students have entered the program with degrees in areas such as political science, accounting, psychology, philosophy and art history. Typically, there are around 60 M.A. students in the program.

Application Deadline

Fall Semester Enrollment: February 1 to be considered for teaching assistantships; June 15 for admission only. For international students, deadlines may vary. Please see the Graduate School's International Student Admissions website for more details.

Spring Semester Enrollment: November 1 (no assistantships available for mid-year applicants).

Application Components

The application process for all NC State graduate programs is handled entirely through a web-based tool. Step-by-step information and Frequently Asked Questions are available as well as telephone and chat-based assistance should you encounter any problems as you begin your application.

The application form will ask if you are applying for admission only, or for admission and aid (e.g. assistantships). If you are applying for aid, for first choice click teaching assistantship, as this is the primary form of aid we have to offer. All of the pages of the online application will go straight to the Graduate School, and they in turn will make the files available to us. In addition to the application form, your application should include the following materials:

  • The Personal Statement is a part of the online application process, submitted with your application form. A good statement will have something to say about these topics: why you want to earn a graduate degree in the concentration you have chosen; what your intellectual interests are; what your research interests are; whether you have any teaching experience and interest in teaching (TA applicants); whether there are particular faculty here with whom you would like to study. Explain your interest in the M.A. program and what special skills or experiences you may bring to it. Upload your personal statement in the designated upload area. Personal statements are typically 1-2 pages long.

    A Resume is optional.  If you wish to provide one, please do so through the Upload area for Resume/ CV in the application.

    NOTE: You can only upload one file into each Upload area in the application system. Please make sure to combine all documents into a single file for uploading. If you try to upload a second file, it will replace the first one.
  • Writing Sample: Your sample is a critical part of the application. Take time and care with it to be sure that it represents your best work and is professionally presented. Frequently our applicants submit college-level academic papers (10-15 pages), but that is not the only option. What we need to see is facility with writing and research in your area of proposed study, care with language, ability in interpretation, and clarity in exposition and argument. Ideally, your sample should demonstrate knowledge and abilities related to your proposed concentration.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Direct your recommenders to the instructions in ApplyYourself for submitting a recommendation online. The interface allows recommenders either to write directly online, or to upload a text file. Select three qualified recommenders, preferably people able to speak to your reading, analytical, and writing talents, as well as your general academic aptitude. At least two of the three letters should be from academic professionals.
  • GRE scores You should have your scores sent directly by ETS (the Educational Testing Service) to the Graduate School. Indicate that your scores should be sent to NC State University by using institution code 5496. (Department code is not necessary.) You will need to have taken the Graduate Record Exam general test within the past five years. For more information about the three parts (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) see the ETS website at: We do not require the subject test in English.There are no absolute minimum cutoff scores, but our recent average for the GRE verbal is approximately 158 and 4.5 in analytical writing. Students who are offered teaching assistantships typically have significantly higher than average GRE scores.
  • The test can be taken once in any calendar month. It can be retaken as well on the same schedule. We will keep your highest scores, and scores remain valid for five years.
  • Scores for the verbal and quantitative sections are machine scored and typically reach NC State within two weeks of your taking the test; however, the analytical writing portion of the test takes longer. Consequently, don’t assume that your complete GRE scores can reach us in less than a month.
  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts from any undergraduate or graduate institution you have attended should be uploaded with your application. If the department recommends that you be admitted, you will then be asked to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School. Only upon receipt of official transcripts will your admission be official.
    • Official Electronic Transcripts should be emailed to  
    • Physical copies of official transcripts should be mailed to:

The Graduate School
North Carolina State University
1000 Main Campus Drive
Campus Box 7102
Raleigh, NC 27695

Admissions Protocol

Completed applications are evaluated by members of the graduate faculty. Only after the faculty recommendation is reviewed and approved by the Graduate School is a candidate officially notified of the decision. Your official notification of the decision will be available online from the Dean of the Graduate School. If accepted to the program, the English Graduate Director will send you information about enrolling for classes. The Graduate Director will also notify you if you have been awarded an assistantship.