FAQ: Applying to the Programs

Each of our respective graduate programs has slightly differing admissions criteria. Please be sure to check the page of the program to which you plan to apply. 

When I apply online, does everything go straight to you? 

No. In fact, nothing comes straight to us. All application materials and fee payments must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Once all materials have been received and logged, Graduate Admissions forwards them to our graduate review committee. Any application materials sent directly to the English Department (via email or snail mail) will not be accepted (e.g. please don’t have transcripts, letters of recommendation, or checks sent here).  

Am I eligible for an application fee waiver? 

The English Department does not handle application fees, nor does it have authority to waive application fees. For questions about this fee, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions. 

When is the deadline to apply to the graduate program?

The English Department is home to three Graduate Programs. Their deadlines are:
MFA in Creative Writing: February 15 (Fall)
MA in Language & Literacy: May 1 (Fall) and November 15 (Spring)
MA in English (Literature): May 1 (Fall) and November 15 (Spring)

I missed the application deadline. Can I still take courses?

Students who have missed the deadline but still wish to take courses may be eligible to take courses as Non-Matriculated/Non-Degree graduate students (up to 12 credits) until they are ready to apply to their respective program. This process requires a Non-Degree Application Form and consultation/approval by the director of the selected graduate program. 

What if I started an application before the deadline but my transcript/letters of recommendation/check haven’t been received yet?

Students who file an application before the deadline should follow up with the Office of Graduate Admissions regarding the status of their application and application materials.

How do I submit letters of recommendation in support of my application?

Letters of recommendation are confidential and submitted directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions by the recommender, not by the applicant. The application system should provide all necessary information to the applicant and recommender.

I majored in _____ but I’m applying to a grad program in _____. What should I use for my writing sample?

Consider work that best represents your interests and abilities with regard to the relevancy of the program you’re applying to. Non-English undergraduate degrees are not a turn-off. Our graduate programs not only welcome students from diverse educational backgrounds, but also understand that many of our graduate students may have experienced changes in interests since completing their undergraduate study, and that sometimes these changes lead to exemplary creative and scholarly work.  

What are you looking for in a personal statement?

We want to know who you are, why you’re a good fit for our respective programs, and why our programs are the right fit for you.

Should the writing sample or personal statement be single or double-spaced?

Personal Statement: Single.
Writing Sample: Double. Note: Poetry writing sample submissions may be formatted according to the needs of the poems.  

Can I combine shorter works to total the required page count for the writing sample?

Except for MFA submissions (collections of stories, poems, and novel chapters are OK), all writing sample manuscripts should be one piece of work.

I went to CCNY/CUNY for undergrad. Do I still need to have transcripts sent to admissions?


I was accepted to a Graduate English Program, but my life has changed and I won’t be able to attend this semester. Will I have to reapply in the future? 

Accepted graduate students may defer enrollment for up to one year from the term of acceptance. After that time, students must reapply.