Available programs in the English Department
PhD in Applied Linguistics & Technology
PhD in Rhetoric & Professional Communication
MFA in Creative Writing and Environment
MA in English (Specializations in Literature & Literature and the Teaching of Reading)
MA in Rhetoric, Composition, & Professional Communication
MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics
January 5 (to begin fall term; all six graduate degree programs), with applications accepted and
evaluated beginning October 15. Early applications are encouraged.
October 15 (to begin spring term; only for admission to the three Master of Arts programs in
English, RCPC, TESL/AL; no assistantships, scholarships, or fellowships available with spring admission)
If you have questions about any of the information regarding applying to our programs, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Type of applicant
Current ISU graduate students or those who have received a graduate degree at ISU should email email@example.com for special instructions. Do not complete the ISU Admissions application form or pay the application fee again.
If you are interested in taking a graduate course in the English Department and not wanting to apply to a graduate major, you must be admitted as a nondegree seeking graduate student at ISU (click here to go to the ISU Admissions Office application website and under “New User” choose “Nondegree.”)
How to apply as a degree program applicant
All application documents must be uploaded into the ISU application system no later than the appropriate deadline above to ensure maximum consideration for admission, as well as available support (assistantships, scholarships, fellowships). Early applications are encouraged.
- Applications are evaluated as they are received (beginning October 15). If you submit a complete application earlier than the deadline, you may receive notice of an admission decision earlier. Only complete applications will be evaluated.
- We strongly recommend early submission of at least the online application form and application fee, so that email notifications by the system are sent to references prior to the deadline. This helps ensure that recommendation letters are received by the deadline. After submitting the online form, the form itself cannot be edited, but applicants can return to their application account and upload other required documents.
- The deadline represents the endpoint in the application process (i.e., the completion of the application file) rather than the beginning. All materials should be submitted by the deadline.
- In addition to the preferred and required minimum criteria provided below (GPA, GRE scores, TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores), applicants are evaluated on factors such as performance on writing samples, quality of the statement of purpose and personal goals, letters of recommendation, and program match. Each of these influences the applicant’s admission status.
- Conditional admission is not available and not offered to nonnative speakers of English who do not meet the department’s stated TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE required minimum score at time of application (see English Proficiency Examination below).
Application requirements and program specific information
Application documents must be uploaded selecting the appropriate category in order for review committees to easily identify different types of documents in the online system.
- ISU online graduate application and fee payment
The online application form is not actually submitted (and links sent to references) until you click “Save and Submit” and pay the application fee.
- GRE General Test official scores
Official scores are required from all applicants unless they meet one of the exceptions noted below (see *) and must be reported directly to ISU by the testing agency in order to be considered official. If official scores cannot be sent at the time of application (more than five years have elapsed since the test date), the exam must be retaken. Please record scores on Page 2 of the online application form (leave blank if not available yet) and upload a copy of scores into your application account. Register to take the exam or request score reports at www.ets.org.
Iowa State University Inst Code: 6306
Preferred minimum GRE General Test scores:
MA: 154 Verbal OR 4.5 Analytical Writing
MFA: 154 Verbal AND 4.5 Analytical Writing
PhD: 158 Verbal AND 5.0 Analytical Writing (AND 147 Quantitative for ALT PhD major only)
*GRE Score reporting exceptions:
1) Applicants to the English M.A. (Literature; Literature and the Teaching of Reading) who are not requesting teaching assistantship support are not required to submit GRE scores.
2) Applicants to the TESL/AL M.A. who are nonnative speakers of English and not requesting consideration for assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships are not required to submit GRE scores.
- English proficiency examination scores (all nonnative English speaking applicants)
Official scores are required from applicants which meet the department’s minimum requirements given below in order for an application to be considered. Scores must be reported directly to ISU by the testing agency in order to be considered official. If official scores cannot be sent at the time of application, the exam must be retaken. Please record scores on Page 2 of the online application form (leave blank if not available yet) and upload a copy of scores into your application account. Test scores are not required if the applicant has earned (or will earn prior to entry term requested) a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a country where English is the only official language (refer to the Office of Admissions downloadable instructions available above). Iowa State University Inst Code: 6306
Required minimum scores:
MA: 100 IBT; 600 PBT; 7.0 IELTS; 68 PTE
MFA: 100 IBT; 600 PBT; 7.0 IELTS; 68 PTE
PhD: 111 IBT; 640 PBT; 8.0 IELTS; 79 PTE
(Note: Minimum score of 25 IBT Writing or 7.0 IELTS Writing for teaching assistantship consideration)
- Nonnative speakers of English must submit an audio or video file demonstrating competence in spoken English
Required even though English proficiency examination scores may not required. An audio or video is to be sent electronically as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline (not uploadable into your application account with other documents). This speaking sample should include 3-5 minutes of extemporaneous speaking. You might begin by talking informally about your educational background and your reasons for pursuing graduate study.
- Scanned official academic transcripts and degree statements
Scanned transcripts must be official ones issued by the institution(s) where you earned (or will earn) degrees for all undergraduate and graduate work (if applicable). Please download the ISU Admissions Office instructions document above under Type of Applicant (U.S. or international) and contact the ISU Admissions Office if you have transcript questions.
Preferred overall minimum undergraduate GPA:
MA and MFA: 3.25
- Three letters of recommendation
References are to be submitted electronically using the electronic letter of recommendation option in the online application system. These letters should be from persons qualified to comment on your preparation for graduate study in the major to which you are applying. If applying for a teaching assistantship, at least one of your references should comment on your teaching experience and abilities or on your potential to teach. If a recommender does not wish to submit an online LOR, you must download the Letter of Recommendation form, complete the appropriate sections, and send the form to your recommender. You must include our email address (email@example.com) or postal address (Department of English, Graduate Studies Program, 227 Ross Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-1201 USA) for the recommender to submit their recommendation directly to the program. The use of dossier services, such as Interfolio, is also acceptable for transmitting letters by having them sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Curriculum vitae
Include educational background, awards, accomplishments, and teaching/tutoring experience, if applicable.
- Statement of purpose and personal goals
Please refer to the individual program specifications below. If seeking a teaching assistantship, describe your relevant experience.
- MA English: Statement of purpose of up to 500 words included on Page 4 of the online application form that explains your preparation for graduate study, career goals and research interests, and specifically why you want to study at Iowa State. We are particularly interested in knowing how your abilities, experiences, awards, and achievements relate to and demonstrate your ability to pursue graduate work in literature.
- MA RCPC and MA TESL/AL: 1-3 double-spaced pages (leave application field blank). Please state preparation for graduate study, including reasons and objectives for study in the major to which you are seeking admission.
- PHD ALT and RPC: 1-3 double-spaced pages (leave application field blank). Please state preparation for graduate study, including reasons and objectives for study in the doctoral program to which you are seeking admission. If seeking a teaching assistantship, elaborate on your relevant experience.
- MFA CWE: 2-3 double-spaced pages (leave application field blank). Be sure to include information about the creative writing projects you have completed or are currently working on, as well as any publications, honors, or prizes for creative work. Please include any teacher-training you’ve had, as well as any previous teaching, tutoring, and/or mentoring experience if seeking a teaching assistantship. In order to describe how the MFA in CWE suits your interests and creative projects, it’s useful to touch any of the following experience/interests:
- Fieldwork experiences in natural or urban landscapes that have influenced your practice or aesthetic as a writer
- Writers or currents of environmental thought that have influenced your work
- Issues of place, landscape, the natural world, or environment with which your work engages
- Organizations you’ve worked with or activities you have completed related to environmental issues
- Creative projects you have started or can imagine writing while in the program that have an ecological or environmental dimension
- Applicants for the Hogrefe Fellowship in Creative Writing must incorporate a statement indicating their wish to be considered for the fellowship and explaining what they hope to achieve in their work as the Hogrefe Fellow.
- Writing sample(s)
Submit writing samples according to these program specifications and upload documents into your application account. All writing samples are to be double-spaced.
- MA English, RCPC, and TESL/AL: Expository writing sample (8-20 double-spaced pages) demonstrating critical analysis and research skills in the intended major. Applicants typically submit an essay they produced for an undergraduate or graduate course in English or a related field.
- PhD ALT and RPC: Writing sample demonstrating critical analysis and research skills with cover sheet contextualizing the document. Applicants may include two documents totaling a maximum of 35 pages, but at least one document must demonstrate critical analysis and research skills.
- MFA CWE: Two writing samples are required:
- Creative writing sample of no more than 25 pages of prose (double-spaced) or 15 pages of poetry (may use 1.15 spacing) demonstrating exemplary ability in one genre; we ask that you declare a primary genre, although once admitted, students will not be restricted to working in one genre.
- Expository prose writing sample (5-10 pages double-spaced) displaying your command of scholarly research and accepted grammatical rules for written English. Applicants usually submit a scholarly research essay written for an undergraduate class or graduate course in English demonstrating critical and research skills.
Hogrefe Fellowship in Creative Writing Application
Applicants for the Hogrefe Fellowship in Creative Writing might need to upload additional documents into their application account.
- Applicants to the CWE MFA program: No additional documents are required.
- Applicants to one of the other English Department graduate programs must upload the following additional documents:
- Hogrefe Fellowship Application Form.
- A creative writing sample of no more than 25 pages of prose (double-spaced) or 15 pages of poetry (may use 1.15 spacing) demonstrating exemplary ability in one genre.
- Applicants to other graduate programs at ISU outside the English Department must email the following documents to email@example.com. (See Pearl Hogrefe Fellowship Application Instructions for more information.)
- Hogrefe Fellowship Application Form.
- ISU online graduate application and fee payment
- GRE General Test official score report
- Scanned official transcripts and degree statements
- Three letters of recommendation
- Curriculum vitae/resume
- Statement of purpose & personal goals (2-3 double-spaced pages maximum)
- Two writing samples are required: 1] Creative writing sample of no more than 25 pages of prose (double-spaced) or 15 pages of poetry (may use 1.15 spacing) demonstrating exemplary ability in one genre; and 2] Expository prose writing sample (5-10 pages double-spaced) displaying your command of scholarly research and accepted grammatical rules for written English. Applicants usually submit a scholarly research essay written for an undergraduate class or graduate course in English demonstrating critical and research skills.