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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.


Applications must include: The Indiana University Application for Graduate School, Fellowship, and Assistantship; a 300-500 word statement of the applicant's academic interests and goals; one copy of official transcripts of all the applicant's college and/or university records; three letters of recommendation; Graduate Record Examination scores as specified above; the application fee. Applicants in literature, literacy, or language must submit a representative critical essay of 15-20 pages. All mailed material, including the writing samples, should be sent directly to the English Department.

Please note that the MA/PhD program now requires that applicants submit their primary application online. The personal statement, resume or CV, and letters of recommendation may also be uploaded to the online application. The online application may be found here.

All other MA/PhD supplemental materials (writing sample, GRE scores, and transcripts) should be mailed to:

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

MFA Creative Writing applications should be mailed to:

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

Applications and information for the M.A./Ph.D. Programs in Literature, Language, and Composition may be requested by emailing the Graduate Secretary, Bev Hankins at . Applications and information for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing may be requested by emailing An online application is also available.

Applicants for the M.F.A. in Creative Writing must submit samples of their poetry or fiction (a minimum of 20 pages of poetry or 30 pages of fiction). It is helpful for applicants to indicate on the application form the fields within the Department that are of specific interest to them: e.g., medieval, 18th century, literary theory, culture studies, creative writing.

Applicants with Bachelor degrees will be admitted to the M.A. program only, but if the applicant's ultimate intention is to enter the Ph.D. program, the "Degree sought" on the application form should be listed as "M.A." and the student should indicate their intention to continue through the Ph.D. in their personal statement. Once enrolled in the M.A. program, students will be admitted to the Ph.D. upon application if their grade point average in 30-32 hours of relevant graduate work is 3.7 or above and if they have demonstrated proficiency in one foreign language.

Application Deadlines

The deadline for applications is January 2; it is the applicant's responsibility to see to it that all materials, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and G.R.E. scores, are in by that date. Applicants should be sensitive to the possibilities for delay with regard to G.R.E. scores and letters of recommendation, and they are strongly advised to take the G.R.E. at the earliest possible date and to contact their recommenders at least a month before application deadlines.

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.