Application Deadline:

December 1

Admissions are for the following fall. We do not have spring admissions.

ApplyChecklist for Graduate School

Creative Writing Genres

Fall 2023: Fiction/Nonfiction

Fall 2024: Poetry

Every year, the M.A. and Ph.D. specialization in Creative Writing accepts applications only in a specific genre. Admissions in "poetry" or "fiction/nonfiction" alternate in each subsequent year.

Checklist for Graduate School

The graduate faculty has provided the following checklist to help students interested in our graduate program do a self-assessment as to whether they are prepared to engage in graduate level work in English Studies. Whether specializing in Composition Studies, Literary & Cultural Studies, or Creative Writing, a student in our graduate program should be prepared to do the following:

  • Read several hundred pages of prose per week in English.
  • Write and type up to 10 pages per week in English.
  • Contribute to weekly seminar discussions.
  • Compose up to three seminar papers (each roughly 15-20 pages) at the end of each semester.
  • Navigate new technologies, such as Canvas and other learning software.
  • Demonstrate graduate-level library research skills.

If you have questions about any of the above, please contact our Graduate Chair or the Assistant to the Graduate Chair.

Application Process

The application process requires two parts. Students must apply to the Office of Graduate Studies (Step 1) and to the Department of English (Step 2). For international students, there are a few additional steps required. Creative writing applications require a creative writing sample.

All application materials must be submitted electronically. We are no longer able to accept paper applications.

Step 1

Graduate Admission Requirements

International Applicants

International applicants should send all the information requested above, plus:

A TOEFL or IELTS score.  A score of 100 or higher on the internet-based TOEFL (ibT) or 600 or higher on the paper-based TOEFL is required for admission to Department of English degree programs. A score of 6.5 or higher from IELTS is also accepted.

Students who have graduated from a U.S. college or university or from a university outside the U.S. in which English is the official language of instruction are exempt from the TOEFL requirement for admission.

Step 2

Department Admission Requirements

Within 24 business hours of receiving your NUID from the University, you will receive a welcome email message asking you to login to the secure, web-based system that allows you to provide materials online. There, you can submit the additional materials and information required by the department.

You will be asked to provide basic information, including:

  • Writing sample: 15-20 pages* of a critical paper in English that you have written.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume.
  • Statement of educational goals (1-3 pages), including why you want to get a graduate degree from the University of Nebraska.
  • A commentary about your teaching experience or a discussion of your teaching potential (no more than 2 pages).
  • Three references, who will be asked to submit letters of recommendation electronically through the online system.
  • If you are applying for the Creative Writing program, you should also submit a creative writing sample in the genre in which you are applying. Depending on whether you apply as a Creative Writing Poetry student or as a Creative Writing Fiction/Nonfiction student (see note at the top of the page), the sample should include 12 poems, or no more than 30 pages of fiction (a short work or part of a novel) or creative non-fiction.

You do not need to submit GRE or any other entrance exam scores with your application.

* In general, pages should be double-spaced, in 12pt Times New Roman font, and with standard margins.

Direct Admission to the Ph.D. Program

Students with a B.A. may apply for the M.A. or for direct admission into the Ph.D. Please note that students who apply with a B.A. for direct admission to the Ph.D. will compete with Ph.D. applicants who have an M.A.; we only enroll students with excellent academic records and stated commitments to Ph.D. work for direct admission to the Ph.D. program. Students with an M.A. or M.F.A. may apply for the Ph.D.

Important Notes

  • You must submit application materials through the Office of Graduate Studies' online system. Be sure to finalize and “Submit” your application when you are satisfied with all materials provided. To be included in the review, the application must be completed by the December 1 deadline. Those who begin the application on or near the deadline may not be complete enough for the review and will not be considered for admission.
  • The Department of English does not have Spring admissions.
  • Reference letter writers will be contacted automatically through the Office of Graduate Studies' online application system, and they will be able to electronically upload their letters through a secure web link. There is no need for them to send a hard copy.
  • MyRED reflects your application status at the university level. Though materials required by Graduate Studies may be complete, you also need to make sure that your application is complete as far as department requirements are concerned.
  • Because the online system reflects your application status at the department level, you can check the status of your application there. After you have provided all materials required by the department and finalized your application, it will also be a valuable source of information on your application’s status.
  • Students with a B.A. may apply for the M.A. or for direct admission into the Ph.D.; check the appropriate box on the application. Students with an M.A. or M.F.A. may apply for the Ph.D.
  • Graduate students do not select an adviser to supervise their thesis or dissertation until after they have been admitted and are taking classes.
  • If you have any questions, please contact the Assistant to the Graduate Chair, Anne Nagel, at anne.nagel@unl.edu.