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Indiana University Bloomington

Applying for Admission

Admission Requirements

Building at Indiana University

Undergraduate major or its equivalent. (In exceptional cases, superior students who have not majored in English may be admitted conditionally.) For M.A. and Ph.D., the Graduate Record Examination, both the aptitude and the advanced test in English literature. Applicants for the M.F.A in Creative Writing are required to take the GRE general exam, but not the subject exam. (GRE scores are acceptable for a period of five years from the taking of the tests.) For entry into the program in literature, an applicant ordinarily should have at least an overall GPA of 3.2, a GPA in English of 3.7. Scores on the GRE should exceed 600 (old exam) or 160 (current exam) on the Verbal and Subject tests. The Analytical Writing score should be 5.0 or higher. For admission to the Ph.D. program with an M.A. from a department other than ours, the undergraduate GPA requirement remains the same. Add to this a 3.9 GPA in graduate courses (out of a possible 4.0). Scores on the GRE Verbal and Subject tests should ordinarily approach 700 (old exam) or 166 (current exam). More significant than scores and grades, however, are an applicant's personal statement, letters of recommendation, proficiency in foreign languages, and especially, a writing sample. These materials may offset lower scores on the GRE exams or lower grade point averages.

Application for the Doctoral Program in Literature, Language or Composition Rhetoric

Applicants to the doctoral program are required to submit all primary application materials online. These include:

  • The IU Graduate School Application (the online application may be found here.
  • A 300-500 word statement of the applicant's academic goals and areas of specific interest (please make sure to note field specialty--e.g. medieval, 18th century, literary theory, comparative ethnic studies).
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A 15-20 pp writing sample.
  • The application fee.

Secondary application materials, including:

  • Graduate Record Examination scores (as specified above), and
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate study to date

should be mailed directly to the department, to the attention of:

Bev Hankins
IU English Department
Ballantine Hall 442
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103

International students, please note: International applicants must also meet International Admissions requirements ( For those whose native language is not English, TOEFL exam scores are required. Please also note that there is a university deadline of December 1 for International applications.

Any questions about the application process may be directed to the Graduate Secretary, Bev Hankins.

Designating Your Degree Choice

Applicants to the doctoral program who have not completed an M.A. in English should indicate the M.A. program as their degree choice on the electronic application. Students admitted at this level will be advanced to the doctoral program upon completion of 30-32 hours of relevant graduate work (with a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or higher), and demonstrated proficiency in one language. Applicants who have completed an M.A. in English should indicate the Ph.D. program on the electronic application.

While generally the English department does not offer a terminal MA, it does offer a dual M.A. with ILS (Information and Library Science), and a 4 + 1 M.A. for IU undergraduate majors. Additionally, in rare circumstances, application for the M.A. may be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Applicants to these programs should indicate their choice in their personal statement.

Application Deadlines

The general deadline is January 2. Admission is for the Fall semester only (the English program does not accept off-calendar applications). The university deadline for international admissions is December 1. International Applicants should consult the webpage for the Office of International Services for further requirements (see above).

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all materials, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and relevant test scores, are received by the deadline. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, materials will be accepted on the first working day following the deadline. To avoid distress, applicants are encouraged to request all supporting materials far in advance.

For complete requirements for the MFA in Creative Writing, please see the Creative Writing webpage regarding admissions. MFA Creative Writing supplemental materials should be mailed to:

MFA Creative Writing Applications
IU English Department
Ballantine Hall 442
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103

Thank you for your interest in the IU doctoral program in English.

Applying for Financial Aid

The Department has regularly at its disposal two forms of financial aid for graduate students in language and literature: Fellowships and Associate Instructorships. Loan and work-study eligibility are determined by the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Aid in the First Year (Fellowships)

Each year the department offers a small number of fellowships with stipends of approximately $8500 plus fee scholarships (covering all fees except a small nonremissible portion, currently about $18.45 per credit hour), and several fellowship packages combining stipends, readerships, and sometimes teaching. Fellowships are generally available only to new, first-year graduate students; applicants for the Ph.D. program who have already done graduate work elsewhere will normally not be considered for them. Fellowships carry a guarantee of a four-year Associate Instructorship beginning in the student's second year provided that the student does satisfactory work, and makes reasonable progress toward fulfilling the requirements. To apply for a fellowship, the applicant should check "yes" on item 6 of the application form.

Associate Instructorships

Associate Instructorships, with beginning stipends of approximately $12,375 plus (usually) fee scholarship, are available only to applicants to the department who will have completed an M.A. (or its equivalent) at the time of their appointment as Associate Instructor.

New graduate students — applicants with Bachelor degrees only — will not officially be given these awards until they have completed one term; at that time they will be encouraged to apply for a position for the following fall. (Those who hold fellowships do not need to apply.)

Students who have been in the Indiana graduate program for at least one year receive priority consideration for these awards, but new applicants to the program who have done a year of more of graduate work elsewhere may apply by checking "yes" on item 8 of the applications form.

The durations of the award depends in part upon the student's status at the time of the first appointment: it is renewable for three additional years for students who are in their second year of graduate work at the time of the first appointment, for two additional years for students in their third year, and so on. At present, the department is able in some cases to award an extra year of support and is investigating methods of adding an additional year of support to the AI contract.

Applying for Associate Instructorships: Associate Instructorships are an intrinsic part of the Ph.D. program in English Literature at Indiana University. Beyond the financial considerations, they provide training and a wide variety of experience in teaching. It is expected that students will apply for an instructorship in February of their first year, and that most will be successful. This past year, a new policy was devised whereby all in-coming students would be guaranteed an instructorship beginning their second year, so long as they made satisfactory progress toward the degree. Similarly, all first-year students with fellowships, who are making satisfactory progress towards their degree, are guaranteed instructorships.

The department considers a GPA of 3.7 in graduate work as a minimum for successful candidacy for the position, but students with lower GPAs who believe that they are able to make a convincing argument for themselves are urged by the selection committee to consult with their teachers and the DGS.

Graduate Review Committee: At the beginning of the second semester, a Graduate Review Committee will read the files of all first-year students to ascertain any problems that may have arisen for new students. This committee will alert the Director of Graduate Studies if any new student seems to have difficulty meeting the expectations of the program. In such cases, the committee will advise the DGS how best to assist that student. In some cases. It may be advised that the student not be given an instructorship for the following year. The committee takes into consideration the applicant's statement, the applicant’s GPA at Indiana, the applicant's incompletes, if any, the applicant’s progress towards fulfilling the language requirement, the course reports of the applicant's teachers, and the applicant's experience, if any, as a teacher.

Other Sources of Funding

For students in the Creative Writing program, Associate Instructorships in Creative Writing are available in addition to those that are open to all graduate students. These positions, renewable for two additional years and available only to applicants to the Creative Writing program, are the only apprenticeship teaching positions open to first-year students. They carry a stipend of approximately $8500 plus a fee scholarship. To apply, students should check "yes" on item 8 of the application form, write in Creative Writing AI," and submit a statement of about five hundred words describing their ideas about the teaching of creative writing and giving a rationale for such teaching.

Dissertation Fellowships

There are also a number of fellowships available for research connected with a Ph.D. dissertation or an M.F.A. thesis. The Graduate School offers fellowships for one semester ($3000), for the summer ($1500), and for the academic year ($10000). The University offers five or six John H. Edwards fellowships each year. These are awarded on the basis of scholarship and service to the University and the community, and pay a stipend of $7500-$10,000 for the academic year. Victorian Studies offers a dissertation fellowship worth $15,000. And additional grants-in-aid of research are available from several sources, among them the Graduate School and the Women’s Studies Program. More information about internal and external grant is available on-line through GRADGRANTS or in the GRADGRANTS Center (Kirkwood 111).


Three journals associated with the English Department — The Indiana Review, Victorian Studies and, more recently, Genders — regularly choose Assistant Editors from graduate student applicants: each journal announces its application.

Work-study and Loans

For information about financial aid consisting of work-study and loans, applicants should contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance (Franklin 208). The process of application is explained in a series of comprehensive booklets entitled Balancing the Books. Students who want to qualify for work-study positions or loans should fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form as early as possible. This form is common to many universities and should be filled out before you hear about admission to Indiana University. The date of application does not affect a student’s award. The Office processes complete applications starting March 1; applications received after that date are processed on a rolling basis. A complete application must include notification of the student’s admission to IU. That notification is made by the department no earlier than the time that the student is informed. From the time the application is complete, a determination of an award will take from two to three weeks. Work-study eligibility is awarded at the same time by the same process. Students who wish to avail themselves of work-study jobs should file a complete application at least three or four weeks before they expect to apply for a specific job as work-study jobs are often filled quickly and the job application will not be complete until the employer is advised of the student’s eligibility. Non-academic work-study jobs are available at IU. They are often made available and filled early in the summer or in the spring for the fall term.

The Indiana University Student Employment Office maintains listings of current part time positions on the World Wide Web and on large display boards located at the Student Employment Office, 625 North Jordan; (812) 855-1556. Their job listings contain information that will allow the student to make direct contact with the employer to arrange an interview. The Department of Residence Life offers a number of non-academic assistanceships and offers a Student Affairs Packet which includes information on their assistanceships and those of several other departments. To receive this packet, you should contact Patrick Conner at 855-1764. The packet is available in the fall (usually in November) and the process of application and selection takes place from then on. Application deadlines in the past have been different for different departments and have ranged from January to March. Often application may be made pending admission to IU.