Where should I send my application materials?

Please do not send application materials to the Department of English. All application materials should be uploaded directly to Graduate Admissions via the online application system. Please visit the CU Boulder Graduate School website for more information.

How can I apply for an application fee waiver?

The English Department is occasionally able to waive application fees for a limited number of students based on financial need. To request a waiver, please write to after you have started an online application, but before submitting it. Please be sure to have your CV, writing sample, and personal statement uploaded prior to sending in your request. In your email, include a brief explanation of the need for a waiver and the number of schools to which you are applying. Requests will be forwarded to the appropriate Associate Chair to evaluate.

The Graduate School offers application fee waivers for participants in the following programs: AmeriCorps (currently serving), Black in AI (BAI), Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative, Gates Millennium Scholars, Leadership Alliance, Louis-Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), McNair Scholars Program, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Scholar Program, Peace Corps (currently serving), Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), SMART, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), and Teach for America. If you are affiliated with one of these programs, please send us proof of your affiliation to after you have started an application and before you submit, and we will process your fee waiver for you. 

If you are in the U.S. military you will receive an automatic fee waiver as a thank you for your service (active duty, veteran, previously served, and active reserve are all eligible for this automatic fee waiver).

If you are undocumented and/or a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary, please contact to inquire about possible fee waivers.

Can I request an extension of the application deadline?

To be considered for admission, candidates must submit their application by the published deadline.

Please be advised that the online application closes at 11:59pm (EST)/9:59pm (MST) on the date of the application deadlines. Please check how these times apply to your specific time zone.

Whom can I contact with questions about international student admissions?

Most questions can be answered by checking the International Graduate Admissions website. If you have additional questions, please email

Do you fund international students at their out-of-state tuition rate?

International students are exempt from the residency requirement and the differential between in-state and out-of-state rates will be covered as long as they hold a qualifying appointment.

International students who are admitted without a qualifying teaching or research appointment will be charged out-of-state tuition rates.

What is your acceptance rate?

We do not publish this information. Admission to the graduate programs is competitive, and we are only able to admit a small number of applicants each year.

How often do you admit provisional students with a GPA under 3.0?

On occasion we will admit students provisionally with a GPA under 3.0 if other aspects of their application (letters of recommendation and writing samples) are exceptionally strong.

May I come visit campus?

Yes, campus visits are welcomed.. If you are interested in visiting our department, please contact our Graduate Program Assistant at Campus visits can include meetings with department faculty, staff, and current students.

Our department staff is unable to give tours of campus, however visitors are welcome to register for a campus tour through the Admissions Visit Program.

How much, if any, does a campus visit factor into your decision to admit students?

It does not factor into our decision to admit a candidate, but it may factor into a candidate’s decision to attend CU Boulder.

Do you have faculty members willing to conduct informational interviews?

We suggest that you directly contact faculty who work on topics related to your area(s) of your interest. You may find this information on our website by visiting our People page and then filtering by Areas of Specialty. Please feel free to contact individual faculty via email with questions and/or to arrange a meeting.

What are some typical characteristics that you look for in candidates?

Strong writing and analytical skills are essential. Also, time management, the abilities both to work well with others and to motivate yourself in your studies. We want students who are willing to take initiative both to improve the community spirit of their class and to pursue their own academic advancement.

What other advice can you share in terms of the application process?

A word of practical advice: apply early. Waiting until the last minute to apply may result in processing delays if issues with your documentation emerge. We also encourage candidates to carefully read all of the admissions information published by the Department of English and the CU Boulder Graduate School before submitting an application. If you have questions, or do not understand something, please contact either the Department of English or the Graduate Admissions staff before the application deadline.

GRE Exams

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required for any of our graduate programs. The admissions committee will not have access to any scores that are submitted.

PhD & MA Programs

What are the requirements for MA and PhD applications?

Applicants must hold a BA preferably with an English major, have an overall GPA of at least 3.0, and submit a completed application for admission by the deadline.

Are there guidelines for the personal statement?

It is generally expected that candidates discuss their motivations for pursuing graduate study at CU Boulder, their research interests, any CU Boulder faculty that they may wish to work with, as well as discuss any unique qualifications, skills, and/or relevant experience related to graduate study. Demonstrating clarity of purpose is highly important. The personal statement should be double-spaced and no more than two pages in length.

Is it acceptable for my writing sample to be longer than 25 pages (for PhD applicants)?

We ask you to edit your PhD writing sample to 25 pages or less so as to make it easier to compare with other writing samples.

Is prior teaching experience an important factor in being accepted into the PhD program?

Prior teaching experience is not an important factor in being accepted. However, an interest in teaching is a prerequisite. PhD students are required to complete a graduate-level pedagogy course during their first year of study and may hold Graduate Part-time Instructors (GPTI) positions if receiving funding from the Department of English.

How often do you admit students who only have a BA into your PhD program?

We have admitted students with a BA into our PhD program if their academic record is extremely strong, they demonstrate the necessary maturity for a PhD program, and they already have a good idea of the area they want to research and specialize.

How often are PhD applicants offered MA admission instead?

We often admit PhD applicants to our MA program if we think they show tremendous promise but are not yet ready for doctoral studies. In such cases, your acceptance letter will clearly state if you have been accepted into the MA program instead of the PhD program.

How often do you admit students with a major in something other than English into the MA or PhD programs?

We sometimes admit students with a BA or MA in something other than English into our graduate programs. The decision depends on the strength of their application, their academic record, and their reasons for wanting to pursue graduate study in English literature.

MFA Program

What are the requirements for MFA applications?

Applicants must hold a BA preferably with an English major, have an overall GPA of at least 3.0, and submit a completed application for admission.

How do I apply for a Teaching Assistant position in the MFA program?

You do not need to do anything additional to be considered for a teaching assistant position. However, if you have prior teaching experience, it is recommended that you note this in either your personal statement or C.V.

Is prior teaching experience an important factor in being accepted into the MFA program?

Prior teaching experience is not the primary factor considered when making admissions decisions. However, an interest in teaching is important.

Scholarships & Funding

How do I apply for English scholarships?

The Department of English offers a limited number of scholarships to new students entering the graduate programs. Candidates for admission are given automatic consideration for available awards and do not need to submit an additional application for these scholarships.

Only matriculated students may apply for the awards that are listed here on the Department of English website. New students entering the graduate programs may submit an application for these awards beginning with their second semester of enrollment (spring term).

Are there other awards available to new graduate students?

New graduate students may be eligible for other scholarships and awards available at CU Boulder. To apply for additional awards, please visit CU Boulder Scholarships.

Please visit the Graduate School for information about additional funding opportunities available to graduate students.