Frequently Asked Questions

What graduate degrees are offered through the Department of English?

The Department of English offers a M.A. in English with concentrations in literature, writing, rhetorics, and literacies, english education, and comparative literature. We also offer Master of Arts in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MTESOL), and a graduate certificate in linguistics. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English has three separate concentrations: English Education, Literature and Writing, Rhetorics and Literacies. We also offer a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics.  A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing is offered through the English department as well. In addition, we also offer online the Master of Advanced Study in American Media and Popular Culture (M.A.S.) and MA English Online. For more information on the various graduate programs and concentrations available in the Department of English, visit the website.

How can I receive information?

Information about the Department of English graduate programs can be obtained online or you can e-mail (or call 480-965-7454). Visit for information.

How long does the program take to complete?

The time it will take each student to complete a graduate degree program in English will vary depending on factors such as whether or not the student attends classes on a full-time basis and whether or not the student must complete deficiency courses. Generally speaking, the time to degree for the Master of Arts (M.A.) program is about two years. The MTESOL program is designed to be completed in three semesters. The MFA takes  three years, while the M.A.S. program can be completed in one to two years.  The time to degree for the Ph.D. program is  about five years (for students with a master’s degree).  For an in-depth look at the doctoral timeline click here:  Ph.D. timeline.

It is a Graduate College policy that master's students must complete their degrees within six years. Ph.D. students have ten years from admission (five years from candidacy).

Is it possible to complete a master's degree in one year?

If you are a highly motivated, disciplined, fulltime student who attends both summer session, completing an MA degree may be possible. Completing the required coursework and writing a thesis/project in one year is extremely difficult; few courses are taught in summer. However, the MTESOL program is designed to be completed in three semesters.

Does the English Department offer any graduate degrees online?

Two programs are offered online. The Master of Advanced Study in American Media and Popular Culture program and the new MA English Online program. For the other programs, students may be able to take a few online courses as part of your program of study.

How do I apply? 

See How To Apply for more details.

Students must apply to the university graduate admissions by submitting an online application and uploading supporting documents.

Once the Graduate College admissions office receives the online application, students are notified of their ASURITE ID and activation code through an acknowledgment via e-mail within 48 hours of the receipt of the application. If you have submitted an application and have not received this code, please contact admissions at or call 480-965-6113. After you activate your ASURITE account (at you may monitor the progress of your application at 

For detailed information on the admission and curriculum requirements for the program, please visit the Graduate Information Page.

What is the application deadline?

The deadline is January 15th for most programs. The MFA in Creative Writing deadline is January 1st. MA Linguistics and MTESOL have three deadlines:  January 15th and April 15th for fall and September 15th for spring. (Note: There is a September 15th deadline for international PhD students not seeking funding from the Department of English.) 

It is expected that online applications and all supporting documents, including letters of recommendation, be uploaded by January 15th (or by the other deadlines stated above). This means you should submit your application before the deadline in order to allow recommenders plenty of time to upload their letters.

Online applications for Fall 2014 will be available September 1, 2013.

What supporting documents are required by the English Department?

Supporting documents, with the exception of letters, must be uploaded during the online application process. Items required are:

  1. Three letters of recommendation from faculty familiar with the applicant’s academic work. (The MFA Program accepts letters by mail.)
  2. Statement of purpose detailing the student’s background, reasons for wanting to do graduate work in English, and plans for the future.
  3. A writing sample, if required by the program (see specific program materials for information).
  4. Teaching assistantship application and statement of teaching philosophy (if interested). Note: prospective students applying to graduate programs in English do not need to submit three additional letters of recommendation with T.A. applications; that particular three-letter requirement is only in place for current graduate students seeking T.A. positions only.
  5. Resume or vita. 

What materials are required by the Graduate Education and what is the address?

  1. Online application and application fee.
  2. Official transcripts.
  3. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (check specific program requirments).
  4. Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores (international students).
  5. Financial guarantee (international students).
  6. Test of Spoken English (TSE) (for international T.A. applicants).

Graduate Education
ASU Graduate Admissions Services
Arizona State University
1120 S. Cady Mall
INTDSB Room 170
Tempe, AZ 85287-1003

Contact Graduate Enrollment Services

How do I calculate my GPA?

Students must have earned a 3.00 GPA in their junior/senior years of undergraduate work. Go to FAQs Graduate Admission for more information on how to calculate.

If my application is complete before the deadline, will it be evaluated early?

No. The committee does not review applications until after the deadline.

What are letters of recommendation?

At least three letters of recommendation are required for the application. Letters should be from faculty familiar with the applicant’s academic work (or, in the case of MFA applicants, familiar with the applicant's creative work). See guidelines for requesting letters of recommendation for more information. Once you submit the online application, your recommenders will receive an auto email with instructions on how to upload their letters. Do not send letters as email attachments. Do not send hard copies of the letters unless you are an MFA in Creative Writing applicant.

When will I be notified of admission?

Applicants can track the status of their application by going to MyASU.

The status-checking website is available through a secure login using the applicant’s ASURITE ID and password. Letters regarding admission status will also be sent by the Graduate College via email.

How do I check the status of my application with the Department of English?

You can check your status and your To Do List on your MYASU homepage. If you have questions, you may send an e-mail to or call 480-965-7454. (Please keep in mind that, during peak times, it could take more than one week before you receive a response.)

What is the average GRE score for admitted students?

There is no established minimum GRE score as students are evaluated by the entirety of their application file. The average GRE verbal score of our admitted students is around the 80th percentile. (Note that the MFA Program in Creative Writing does not require GRE scores.)

What are the English proficiency requirements for International Applicants for whom English is not a native language?

International students for whom English is not a native language must also submit evidence of English proficiency. This can be done in one of three ways:
1.  One of the following results on a standardized English proficiency test:  (a) 100 or higher on the TOEFL; (b) 7.0 or higher on the IELTS;
2.  A grade of "A" in all Advanced Level II classes in the ASU American English and Culture Program (AECP) (;
3.  One of the following from a regionally accredited college/university in the US: (a) a bachelor's degree or higher; (b) at least 90 semester hours of undergraduate coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale; (c) at least 12 semester hours of graduate coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

What is the tuition?

For 2014/15 one credit for an Arizona resident is $949; one credit for a nonresident is about $1,276.  For more up to date information, visit the tuition schedule.

What kind of funding is available?

The department awards fellowships and teaching assistantships on a competitive basis to PhD and MFA students. For information on how to apply for an assistantship, visit the website. A 50 percent teaching assistantship (20 hours/week) comes with full waiver of tuition, health insurance, and a stipend. Admitted students are automatically considered for fellowships and awards. Continuing students may apply for internal and external awards, travel grants and dissertation fellowships. See this site for more details. U.S. citizens may also apply for federal financial aid.

Will the department waive the application fee?

No. The department cannot waive the application fee for any applicants to our graduate program. As stated on the online application, the application fee is nonrefundable.

I received a letter from the Graduate College that said I was admitted (or denied admission) to the English program. Does that mean I was also admitted (or denied admission) to the Department of English graduate program?

The Graduate College sends the official notice of admission (or denial). Students may print their letters by going to MYASU. You will not receive a separate letter from the department. Admitted students will receive an informative email in April, regarding English Department graduate orientation and registration.

When will decisions about teaching assistantship or funding be made?

Decisions about teaching assistantships are usually made in March. The department will call, e-mail, or send an official offer letter via U.S. mail.

If I do not hear from the English Department by April 15, does that mean I will not be offered a teaching assistantship?

No. ASU is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools. Students who are offered financial support (TA) have until April 15 to make their decision. We cannot make additional T.A. offers until outstanding offers have been declined.

Can I take graduate English courses without being officially admitted to a degree program?

Yes. You may apply as a nondegree graduate student. Note that nondegree students are not eligible for financial aid.

If I am admitted to an MA or PhD program, can I count coursework taken prior to admission?

Yes, with the approval of the advisor, 12 preadmission credits can be used on a graduate plan of study. The courses must be graduate level with a grade of B or better and must not be over three years old. The courses must not have been used on another degree. In order to apply these to the plan of study, ASU must have official transcripts from the accredited transfer institution. The student must have the advisor’s approval for any elective or transfer courses. MAS does not allow transfer work.

What if I am new to the field?

Applicants to literature who hold degrees in other fields may have deficiencies to make up before applying to the program. Students should seek advice from their program directors or the graduate coordinator. For advising information visit this Web site.

Applicants to other programs need not have a degree in English, but should seek advice from the program director as to any deficient course work and/or how to make their application competitive. Students may apply as a nondegree graduate student to take deficiency classes.

What if it has been several years since I have been in school?

Often students will enroll as nondegree graduate students in order to obtain letters of recommendation from faculty, as well as writing samples, for their application. Master’s students may apply nine hours (three classes) of non-degree graduate work to their program once they are admitted. Ph.D. students may petition for nondegree course work to count at the time they do their plan of study. Nondegree students should seek advising from program directors regarding course work. (Please note that MFA in Creative Writing courses require instructor permission for enrollment, and most are limited to students enrolled in the program.)

Is there an orientation for new students?

Yes. The 2014 orientation for new masters and doctoral students will be August 22, 2014, at 3 p.m. in LL 316, with a reception to follow.

Is there a foreign language requirement?

Yes. A reading knowledge of a language other than English is required. This does not apply to students whose first language is not English. See ways to fulfill this requirement. Students should fulfill their language requirement early in the program so it does not hold up graduation. Students must be enrolled in at least one graduate-level English course during the semester or summer session in which they take the exam. Language exam results must be posted before the student can schedule a defense. Visit the School of International Letters and Cultures for more information on the exam. The language exam is an exit requirement (not entrance requirement)

What is an interactive plan of study (iPOS)?

The iPOS becomes the official record of your program plans and is a listing of what you have already taken, are presently taking, and will take to complete your requirements. It is also the official declaration of your committee. Students must have an approved iPOS on file before registering to take the foreign language examination. Students will not be allowed to graduate in the same semester that they file an iPOS.

When do I file the iPOS?

The iPOS must be filed before the student has completed 50 percent of the program. For a 30-credit program, that would be before 15 credits. Ph.D. students must file the iPOS before their 42nd credit. Failure to file before this time may result in a hold on the student’s registration. The departmental procedure for filing the iPOS is online.

How do I register for thesis and dissertation hours, research, reading and conference, or applied project? 

Download the Independent Study form ( Complete the top portion and obtain the required signature.  If you are doing thesis, research, dissertation, or applied project you must get your committee chair’s signature on the “instructor” line.  If you are doing a reading and conference, you must obtain the signature of the professor with whom you will be working. Return the completed and signed form to the English Department main office or to the Graduate Program Manager in LL 543B for clearance to register.  You will be able to register within 48 hours of returning the form.

This procedure is also used for Continuing Registration.  Note: Continuing Registration (595 or 795) CANNOT be used on a graduate plan of study

Note: This procedure is used to grant registration clearance only.  Students must still register for this through the online registration system.  Make sure to indicate the correct number of credits, as the default is one.

How do I register for FMS (film and media) classes?
Some courses have permission requirements.  In order to be granted proper clearance, please follow these instructions.
Is there a non thesis option for the master’s program? Are there comprehensive examinations?

Yes.  The non-thesis option for the master's program concentrations requires 27 hours of coursework and a three-hour applied project.  The thesis option consists of 24 hours of coursework and six thesis hours.

Where do Ph.D. graduates get jobs?

The English department has an excellent placement rate. For information on where our alumni are placed, visit the dissertation titles and placements webpage.

How do I get an advisor?

The Director of Graduate Studies acts as advisor for all new graduate students, however, the directors of specific programs should be consulted for more detailed advice. The program director will act as advisor until a committee chair has been appointed. Once a student has chosen a committee chair, the chair then acts as advisor.

The GRE was not required for admission to my current/previous graduate program. Do I still need to take the test?

If the program to which you are appyling requires the GRE (see application procedure), the Department of English cannot waive that requirement.

How do I schedule and announce my thesis/dissertation defense?

To schedule a room for your defense, contact Chris Floyd. Allow ample time, as obtaining a room can sometimes take up to 72 hours. You MUST have a room already confirmed before you schedule your defense with the Graduate College.  The online defense scheduling system does NOT book rooms. Defenses must be scheduled through the student’s MyASU (defense tab) at least ten working days before the date of the defense. Contact your advisor or the Graduate Program Manager to confirm that all requirements and milestones have been met.

All oral defenses of theses and dissertations are announced in the English Department via e-mail and posted on the department’s event website.  Once you have officially scheduled your defense with the Graduate College, please send an e-mail to Sheila Luna, and include student name, thesis/dissertation title, date and time of defense, room, committee chair, committee members, and a brief abstract. The abstract and above information should be in the body of the e-mail, not as an attachment.

I applied to graduate, but need to postpone graduation to the next semester. What do I do?

Contact Graduation Office either by phone at 480-965-3256 or by email to request the current application be withdrawn.  After they have withdrawn the application, go back to the Graduation Tab on your myASU page and reapply for graduation for the future semester.  You do not need to pay the fee again as your original payment will remain on file for up to five years.