Graduate students within the  Department of English work closely on research and writing projects with the members of our graduate faculty, who specialize in all areas of literary, theoretical, cultural studies and creative writing. MA students complete a broad-based program in literature. MFA students work toward a creative writing thesis (a book of poems, a novel, or a cross-genre work). PhD students may choose a concentration in any area of English-language literature. The English department encourages and supports cross-disciplinary work for all of our students.

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to all and that student experiences in the wake of this have not been equitable. In response to these events, we recognize that some applicants will have concerns about the impacts these events could have on admissions. The graduate programs at the University of Colorado Boulder are dedicated to recruiting and supporting diverse, talented students, employing holistic application review processes and supporting students when they arrive on campus. 

We want to be clear that we understand 

  • students have been facing and will face unprecedented challenges during this time. 
  • testing centers have suspended operations, or moved to remote testing.
  • many students and institutions have chosen to adopt the Pass/Fail (or Credit/No Credit) option due to these events.
  • due to this disruption students may not have performed to their usual abilities during times of remote study or challenging classroom adjustments. 
  • some research projects will have been interrupted or will be incomplete as a result of university and facility closures. 
  • many students will be unable to take on internships and summer research programs or other professional development initiatives.
  • there are myriad other challenging circumstances that have arisen in individuals’ experiences.

We will take this all into consideration as we review applications holistically, understanding that our goal continues to be a graduate student cohort of future leaders, full of diverse life experiences and perspectives that will add new dimensions to our existing graduate community.

GRE scores are not requred for the MA and MFA. The GRE has been waived for PhD applications for fall 2021 admission.

Application Deadlines

We are accepting applications for the fall 2021 term. The online application for admission is available here.

  • Fall 2021 Domestic Application Deadline: December 30, 2020
  • Fall 2021 International Application Deadline: December 15, 2020

Applications are due by 9:59pm MST/ 11:59pm EST on the deadline. Please check how these times apply to your specific time-zone.

Applicant Instructions

Prior to beginning the application process, please read the English Graduate Admissions FAQs and the Graduate School FAQs carefully along with the instructions on completing and submitting your application. 

Please also read all instructions in the online application system prior to submitting your materials. All applicants must submit their online application and pay the application fee by the deadline. Official GRE and TOEFL score reports, additional transcripts, and letters of reference will be accepted for up to two weeks after the published deadline.

Applicants are responsible for monitoring the progress of their application and ensuring that all required materials have been submitted and received by the Graduate School admissions staff.

Domestic applicants who have completed a program of study or a degree at institutions outside the U.S. are advised to apply by the deadline for international applicants to allow sufficient processing time of foreign transcripts.

For technical support and questions about the online application, please contact:

  • Graduate Admissions Application Help: 303-492-5297
  • Graduate Admissions email: gradadm@colorado.edu

Degrees Offered

MA

The MA in Literature requires 30 hours (10 courses) of graduate coursework. A thesis is optional.

MFA

The MFA in Creative Writing requires 45 hours of graduate coursework (12 courses plus 9 credits of thesis work) and successful completion and defense of a thesis. 

PhD

The doctoral degree requires 30 hours of graduate coursework (10 courses), a comprehensive examination (written and oral), 30 credits of dissertation work and successful completion and defense of a dissertation.

Admissions Requirements

MA-Literature and PhD Applications Are Required to:

  1. Hold or will be receiving a baccalaureate degree from a college or university of recognized standing, preferably with an English major.
  2. Have an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00.
  3. Submit the following:
  • Completed online application and submission of application fee payment.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary colleges and universities attended.
  • Critical Writing Sample. MA-Literature applicants should submit a double-spaced writing sample of 10-15 pages. PhD applicants should submit 20-25 pages.
  • Personal Statement. Two pages, double-spaced.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Insert the email addresses of recommenders within the online application where indicated. If unable to submit letters online, the recommender may send the letters directly to gradprocessing@colorado.edu.     
  • The GRE has been waived for PhD students applying for fall 2021 admission.

Upload all other documents to the electronic application. Paper copies will not be accepted. Please do not send materials to the Department of English.

MFA-Creative Writing Applicants Are Required to:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from a college or university of recognized standing, preferably having completed at least 18 semester hours of English.
  2. Have an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00.
  3. Submit the following:
  • Completed online application and submission of application fee payment.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary colleges and universities attended.
  • A double-spaced, polished manuscript of original creative work. (About 20-25 pages for Fiction; about 10-20 pages for Poetry).
  • Personal statement. Two pages, double-spaced.
  •  Three letters of recommendation. Insert the email addresses of recommenders within the online application where indicated. If unable to submit letters online, the recommender may send the letters directly to gradprocessing@colorado.edu.
  • The GRE is not required for MFA applicants.

Upload all other documents to the electronic application. Paper copies will not be accepted. Please do not send materials to the Department of English.

International Students

All international applicants are required to meet a minimum standard of English proficiency. Please visit the Graduate School for more information.

Please visit the Graduate School website for information about relevant country-specific requirements and additional required application materials.

Financial Support

Graduate students within the Department of English are eligible for appointments as Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, as well as for various fellowships and scholarships. Please visit the webpage for each graduate program to learn more about specific funding opportunities that may be available to new students. Additional scholarships and awards are available annually to matriculated students through the Department of English on a competitive basis.

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are typically released by early or mid-March. Once decisions are posted, candidates will receive an email notification from the Graduate Admissions Office indicating their application status has been updated. Students must log into the online application to view the decision. If offered admission to a graduate program, candidates must accept or decline the offer via the online application system.

Admissions decisions are final. Students whose applications were not accepted for the current admissions cycle may reapply at a future date.

Questions About Admissions

Please direct questions about the admissions requirements to the Graduate Program Assistant. The Graduate Program Assistant may be reached by phone at 303-492-6594, or by email at gsengl@colorado.edu.   

Please direct questions about the online application system to gradadm@colorado.edu or 303-492-5297.

Please do not send copies of your C.V., academic transcripts, or other application materials when requesting information about the program(s). The Graduate Program Assistant will not evaluate your materials in advance of submitting an application for admission.