Application Information for Prospective Graduate Students

The Department of English offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees with specializations in Literary and Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and Composition and Rhetoric. There are also opportunities for students to obtain a specialization in ethnic studies; Great Plains studies, human rights and humanitarian affairs, 19th-century studies, and women's and gender studies. We also have certifications in Digital Humanities and the Teaching of Writing.

Diverse opportunities are available for professional development, including the development of scholarly and teaching portfolios, participation in critical/literary study groups, a fiction and poetry reading series, and collaboration with faculty on research, teaching, and creative activities.

Deadline for next academic year:

December 1

We do not have Spring Admission.

Creative Writing Genres

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.

Fall 2022 Admissions


Fall 2023 Admissions

Fiction / Nonfiction

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.

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.

Graduate Studies Application Requirements (Step 1)

Submit these items as part of the standard steps to admission.

After completing the form you will soon receive an NUID that allows you to sign in to MyRED, the University’s online personal records system where you can view a list of application materials received or still needed by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Department Application Requirements (Step 2)

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

Within 24 business hours of your 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.

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.)

Important notes

  • It is important to realize that MyRED reflects your application status at the university level.  Though materials required by Graduate Studies may be complete, this does not mean your application is complete as far as department requirements are concerned.
  • 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 deadline date above. 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 can be contacted automatically through the Office of Graduate Studies' online system and they will be able to electronically upload their letters through a secure web link. There is no need to have them send a hard copy. Do not contact them before you complete the application.
  • The online application system reflects your application status at the department level. 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..
  • If you have any questions, please contact graduate assistant Anne Nagel at