How to Apply

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: Literature; Literature and the Teaching of Reading)
MA in Rhetoric, Composition, & Professional Communication
MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics

The information on this page is applicable for the six graduate degree programs offered in the English Department listed above.

Applicants to the Certificate in TESL/TEFL follow application instructions at Certificate in TESL/TEFL.

Deadlines

January 5 to begin fall term in all six graduate degree programs above; applications accepted and
evaluated beginning October 15 (except the MFA in CWE). Early applications are encouraged.

October 15 to begin spring term in any of the three Master of Arts programs (English, RCPC, TESL/AL);
no assistantships, scholarships, or fellowships available with spring admission.

 

Contact

If you have questions about any of the information regarding applying to our programs, please send an email to englgrad@iastate.edu.

Type of applicant

U.S. graduate OR International graduate
(Click on the above links to go to the Admissions Office website, select “Graduate” in the dropdown menu in the “Explore the different applications offered” field, and then select the appropriate instructions document to download (U.S. Graduate or International Graduate) which contains general university application instructions.)

Current ISU graduate students or those who have received a graduate degree at ISU should email englgrad@iastate.edu 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) in all programs except the MFA in CWE. 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, TOEFL/IELTS/PTE/Duolingo 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, PTE, or Duolingo required minimum score at time of application (see English Proficiency Examination below).

Application requirements (all degree programs)

The following materials are required for all graduate degree applicants regardless of program. Additional program-specific requirements are listed in the next section. Application documents must be uploaded selecting the appropriate label 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.
  • 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. The ISU Graduate College requires a overall minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 to qualify for full admission and eligibility for graduate assistantship support

    Preferred overall minimum undergraduate GPA for English Department graduate programs:
    MA and MFA: 3.25
    PhD: 3.50

  • Nonnative speakers of English submit English proficiency examination scores (if applicable)
    Nonnative speakers must meet the English Department’s minimum TOEFL, IELTS, PTE. or Duolingo score requirement in order to be considered for admission and teaching assistantship support. 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). Official test scores are required from applicants 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.
    Iowa State University Inst Code: 6306

Required minimum scores:
MA: 95 IBT* (100 preferred); 587 PBT (600 preferred); 7.0 IELTS; 68 PTE; 115 Duolingo (only approved through Fall 2021 admission cycle)
MFA: 95 IBT* (100 preferred); 587 PBT (600 preferred); 7.0 IELTS; 68 PTE; 115 Duolingo (only approved through Fall 2021 admission cycle)
PhD: 106 IBT (111 preferred); 623 PBT (640 preferred); 8.0 IELTS; 79 PTE; 125 Duolingo (only approved through Fall 2021 admission cycle)

*Applicants scoring below 100/587 on TOEFL IBT/PBT (or the IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo equivalents) may need to take English support courses.
Note: Minimum score of 25 IBT Writing or 7.0 IELTS Writing required 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 be required. An audio or video is to be sent electronically as an email attachment to englgrad@iastate.edu by the deadline (not uploadable into your ISU 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.
  • 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 (englgrad@iastate.edu) 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 englgrad@iastate.edu.
  • 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. All writing samples are to be double-spaced.
  • Writing sample(s)
    Please refer to the individual program specifications below. All writing samples are to be double-spaced.
  • Application for Teaching Assistantship in the Department of English
    In Iowa State’s Department of English, graduate students who receive teaching assistantships will normally receive training and begin teaching for one of the following programs:
    1. English 150 and English 250: In this two course sequence, undergraduate students practice analyzing, composing, and reflecting on written, oral, visual, and electronic (WOVE) discourse within academic, civic, and cultural contexts.
    2. Speech Communication 212: In this course, undergraduate students study oral communication and learn to compose, deliver, and analyze public speeches in academic, civic, and professional contexts.

To be considered for a teaching assistantship, please provide a statement explaining your relevant experience and/or interest in teaching courses in these programs. Statements should be 500 words or less. The statement should be provided as a stand-alone document and must be uploaded with the other application materials as a supplemental document.

  • Program-specific requirements and instructions
    See below for additional requirements that are program-specific.

Program-specific application requirements


MA in English: Additional Requirements

  • Statement of purpose and personal goals
    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.
  • Writing sample(s)
    Expository writing sample (5-20 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.

MA in RCPC: Additional Requirements

  • Statement of purpose and personal goals
    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.
  • Writing sample(s)
    Expository writing sample (5-20 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.

MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics: Additional Requirements

  • Statement of purpose and personal goals
    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.
  • Writing sample(s)
    Expository writing sample (5-20 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.
  • GRE General Test official scores
    Due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, GRE scores will not be required for applicants seeking admission in Fall 2021. If an applicant has GRE scores, they can choose to self-report their test scores and have them factored into their admission decision. Applicants to the MA in TESL/Applied program are encouraged to submit scores if they have them. However, applicants will not be penalized for choosing not to submit GRE scores for Fall 2021.
    MA TESL/AL Preferred minimum GRE General Test scores: 154 Verbal OR 4.5 Analytical WritingOfficial scores are required from all MA TESL/AL applicants unless they meet the exception noted below 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 the exam or request score reports at www.ets.org. Iowa State University Inst Code: 6306.Note: 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

MFA in CWE: Additional Requirements

  • Statement of purpose and personal goals
    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. 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:

    1. Fieldwork experiences in natural or urban landscapes that have influenced your practice or aesthetic as a writer
    2. Writers or currents of environmental thought that have influenced your work
    3. Issues of place, landscape, the natural world, or environment with which your work engages
    4. Organizations you’ve worked with or activities you have completed related to environmental issues
    5. Creative projects you have started or can imagine writing while in the program that have an ecological or environmental dimension
    6. 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)
    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; we ask that you declare a primary genre, although once admitted, students will not be restricted to working in one genre.
    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.
  • Special instructions
    Applicants to the MFA in CWE program should upload the following application materials as a single PDF document, in the specified order:
    1. Statement of purpose and personal goals
    2. Vita/resume
    3. Creative writing sample
    4. Expository writing sample
    5. Scanned official transcripts and degree statements
    6. Hogrefe Fellowship application form (if applicable; see more information below)
    7. Application for teaching assistantship (if applicable)
    8. TOEFL/IELTS/PTE/Duolingo unofficial score report (if applicable, for nonnative speakers of English)

PHD in ALT: Additional Requirements

  • Statement of purpose and personal goals
    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.
  • Writing sample(s)
    Writing sample(s) (35 pages maximum) 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.
  • GRE General Test official scores
    Due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, GRE scores will not be required for applicants seeking admission in Fall 2021. If an applicant has GRE scores, they can choose to self-report their test scores and have them factored into their admission decision. Applicants to the PhD in Applied Linguistics and Technology program are encouraged to submit scores if they have them. However, applicants will not be penalized for choosing not to submit GRE scores for Fall 2021.
    Preferred minimum GRE General Test scores: 158 Verbal AND 5.0 Analytical Writing AND 147 QuantitativeOfficial scores are required from all PhD in ALT applicants 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 the exam or request score reports at www.ets.org. Iowa State University Inst Code: 6306.

PHD in RPC: Additional Requirements

    • Statement of purpose and personal goals
      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.
    • Writing sample(s)
      Writing sample(s) (35 pages maximum) 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.

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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 except for uploading the Hogrefe Fellowship Application Form if applying for this fellowship.
  • Applicants to one of the other English Department graduate programs must upload the following additional documents:
    1. Hogrefe Fellowship Application Form.
    2. 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 englgrad@iastate.edu. (See Pearl Hogrefe Fellowship Application Instructions for more information.)
    1. Hogrefe Fellowship Application Form.
    2. ISU online graduate application and fee payment
    3. Scanned official transcripts and degree statements
    4. Three letters of recommendation
    5. Curriculum vitae/resume
    6. Statement of purpose & personal goals (2-3 double-spaced pages maximum)
    7. 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.