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. 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; July 1 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 15 (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.

All of the pages of the online application will be generated through the application system, Slate. Your application should include the following materials:

  • The Personal Statement is a part of the online application process and must be submitted in 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 upload it in to your application.
  • 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.

    You can upload your personal statement, resume (optional), and writing sample under the "Personal Statement and Resume" section of your application. 
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation can be submitted through your application portal under the "Recommendation" section. Through this interface, you cannot upload a recommendation letter. Under the "Add Recommender" link, you will be prompted to fill out your reference's information so the application portal can contact the person via email to submit his/her letter and complete a recommendation form for you. In addition, you can log back into your application portal and check the status of your recommendation letters through the "edit" link at the end of the row. If you click "Edit", you will be given an option to "Send Reminder" to your reference as well. If you have a recommendation letter you would like to have uploaded into your application, please contact the Graduate School at 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:

We do not require submission of GRE scores and do not consider them as part of our admission recommendations. You are not required to submit scores, even if you have them from other institutions.

The one exception to this policy is for the MA-Linguistics only, for which the submission of GRE scores is optional. If you are an applicant in linguistics and you wish to submit your GRE scores, have them sent directly by ETS (the Educational Testing Service) to the NC State Graduate School using institution code 5496. (The department code is not necessary.) Your scores should be within the past five years. For more information about the three parts (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) see the ETS website at: The MA-Linguistics program does not require the subject test in English.

  • Teaching Assistantship:

If you are interested in being considered for a teaching assistantship position, be sure to correctly fill out the "Academic Program" section of your application. You can note this by answering "Yes" to the first question under the "Financial Awards" section.

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.