department of english

114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

Main Office: 401.874.5931 - Graduate Office: 401.874.4663

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Ph.D. in English

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Admission Requirements

Admission is to the University of Rhode Island Ph.D. Program in English is competitive and based primarily on academic merit. Applications will be accepted through January 15, and all relevant application materials must be received by that date.

  • Only complete application files are reviewed. The Graduate School requires a non-refundable $65 application fee for all applicants.
  • A Statement of Purpose should accompany the application. The Statement of Purpose should give a sense of academic training to date, as well as the research interests the applicant wishes to pursue while in graduate school.
  • See the Graduate School website for instructions and links to the online application.
  • Notification of the Department’s admission decision will be sent via email by the Graduate School.
  • Unless stated otherwise, supplementary materials as described below should be uploaded to “Transcripts and Uploads” in the electronic Application for Admission. Materials that cannot be uploaded are to be sent directly to the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English, 114 Swan Hall, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881.

Ph.D. Application Requirements

  • M.A. in English (or a related field).
  • Transcripts of all work (undergraduate and graduate). Unofficial Transcripts from the degree granting institution should be uploaded to “Transcript and Uploads” in Application for Admission. Transcripts of undergraduate and graduate work beyond the degree granting institution should be uploaded to Supporting Documents. Scan as black and white to a PDF file. These transcripts will be considered unofficial and official transcripts will be requested by the Graduate School subsequent to admission to the program. Ph.D. applicants with less than a 3.5 quality point average (on a 4.0 scale) have a very low probability for admission.
  • Three letters of recommendations from academic institutions.
  • One writing sample, preferably 10-15 pages in length, 20 pages maximum demonstrating close reading, effective argumentation, research skills and familiarity with scholarship in a field of study.
  • If you wish to concentrate in creative writing, you may also submit a creative writing sample no longer than 10 pages in addition to the writing sample described above. Candidates to the PhD program with MFAs will be considered on a case-by-case basis to evaluate adequate preparation in literary studies.
  • GRE (General Test) scores are required. The GRE subject test in English is not required. (Please note: GRE test scores earned more than five years prior to term of application will not be accepted. Older test results will necessitate a retaking of the examination.)
  • A validated Certificate of Residence for consideration for in-state tuition and fees.
  • Teaching Assistantships are highly competitive at both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. Applicants who wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship must include a cover letter with the request detailing any prior teaching, Teaching Assistantship, tutoring, or writing center experience. At least one of your letters of recommendation should discuss your teaching.
  • CV or resume
  • Non-native speakers of English must have a minimum score of 91 on the TOEFL in order to be considered for admission. The suggested minimum speaking score for International Teaching Assistants is 23. TOEFL test scores more than two years prior to term of application will not be accepted. Older test results will necessitate a retaking of the examination.

Please contact Graduate Program Administrator Michelle Caraccia at with any questions.


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