Ph.D. in English


Admission to the English Ph.D. Program is competitive and based primarily on academic merit. The application deadline is January 1.

  • Visit the URI Graduate School website for instructions. To begin the application process, click on the Apply button. Select GradCAS, and then on the next screen select the Fall term of the application deadline year.
  • All relevant materials must be received by the above dates. Only complete application files will be reviewed.
  • The Graduate School requires a non-refundable $65 application fee, plus the Centralized Application System (CAS) fees.
  • Notification of the Department’s admission decision will be sent via email by the Graduate School.

Application Requirements

You must have an M.A. in English (or a related field).

Unless stated otherwise, supplementary materials as described below should be uploaded to the online application. 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.

  • Statement of Purpose, giving a sense of academic training to date, as well as the research interests you wish to pursue while in graduate school
  • Transcripts of all work (undergraduate and graduate): Unofficial Transcripts from the degree-granting institution should be uploaded to the online application. Transcripts of undergraduate and graduate work beyond the degree-granting institution should be uploaded. 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 recommendation 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 Ph.D. program with MFAs will be considered on a case-by-case basis to evaluate adequate preparation in literary studies. In cases where applicants submit both creative sample and critical samples, critical samples would be weighed more heavily in the admissions decision.
  • CV or résumé
  • Non-native speakers of English must have a minimum score of 95 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.
  • 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.
  • Subsequent to admission, the Graduate School will request proof of residency for in-state tuition.
  • GRE (General Test) scores are not required for PhD applicants.

Please contact Graduate Program Administrator Ellen Kelley at with any questions.