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PhD in English Language and Literature

 Please direct all admissions emails to 

The online application for the Fall 2023 cohort will open in September 2022.

This is a strict deadline.

All applications and supplemental materials (including letters of recommendation) are due by 11:59pm, EST, on December 10, 2022 to meet our deadline. The fee for United States citizens and those with permanent resident visa status is $75. The fee for non-U.S. citizens is $90. The application fee for current Rackham students, regardless of citizenship, is $10. This fee is non-refundable and subject to change.

Make sure you have every document uploaded before you submit your application (excluding letters of recommendation), once you click on the submit button, you will not be able to go back into your application to make any changes. 

Applicants with Master's degrees are given equal consideration for admission, but are not guaranteed advanced standing in the program. We do not accept Non-Candidate for Degree status applicants to our program. We do not offer online courses, our program is a full-time residency program.

. . .

Submitting your application


In some sections what we require differs from what is stated on the generic application form. 


General Considerations

• Please ignore the instructions on the application. The instructions listed here are the correct instructions.

• A Hardcopy of your Official Transcript(s) do not need to be sent to the Rackham Graduate School unless you have been accepted into our program. Rackham, or the department, will provide admitted applicants more details of how and when to submit an official transcript.

• An electronic unofficial transcript should be submitted via the online application on ApplyWeb (this may be a scanned copy of an official transcript, or a transcript printed directly from the internet). This will allow the committee to review your transcript during the review process. 

• Only submit transcripts from institutions from which you received your degree.

Applicants that are attending/graduated from a U.S. Institution

• Upload an electronic version of your official transcript(s) for each Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned, or in progress, through your application account. Do not upload academic reports printed from your school's website or student portal.

• If you are recommended for admission, the Rackham Graduate School will require official transcript(s). Recommended applicants will receive an email notification when the official transcript(s) are required for submission.

Applicants that are attending/graduated from a NON-U.S. Institution

• Review Required Academic Credentials from Non-U.S. Institutions for transcript/academic record requirements by country or region. Submitting transcript/academic records is a two-step process:

1: Uploading transcripts through the ApplyWeb application account:

Upload an electronic version of your official transcript/academic record for each Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned, or in progress, through your application account.

2: Sending official transcripts to the Rackham Graduate School:

Submit an official transcript/academic record for each institution attended at the time of application. See our detailed instructions on how to submit transcripts/academic records to the Rackham Graduate School.

Test Scores

Submit the following electronically through the online application.

GRE Test Scores - NOT required

• The General GRE Test is NOT required. The application will still ask for this information, but it does not need to be sent in.

• The GRE Subject test is NOT required.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

• Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL.

• The minumum TOEFL score accepted is 620 on paper, 260 on the computer, or 106 internet.

• The test date must be within 2 years of the application deadline.

• Photocopies and/or faxed scores will not be accepted.

• We do not accept any test scores other than the TOEFL.

• Be sure to include our Institution code of 1839 when sending your TOEFL scores.

• The department code is not required.

• Exceptions are made if your degree was earned from:

an institution where the language of instruction is English, exclusively. This exception does not apply if some classes completed were taught in a language other than English. Vertification from the school may be required.

a country where the official language is English (Australia, England, New Zealand).

Three Letters of Recommendation

Three Letters of Recommendation

Please register your recommenders on the "Letters of Recommendation" application page and submit recommendation request before you submit your final application. This will ensure that all materials are submitted by the Decemer 10 deadline. You do not need to wait to submit this request until you submit your final application.

We will begin reviewing applications with two-three recommendation letters by the December 10 deadline, but we will need the third letter before an offer can be made.

We do not accept hard copies, faxed, e-mailed, or recommendation letters submitted through Interfolio.

You can submit your application prior to the submission of all three letters of recommendation.

Additional Required Application Materials

Submit the following as PDFs through the online application.

Academic Statement of Purpose

A clearly labeled academic and intellectual Statement of Purpose: up to three pages, double spaced, statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how Michigan's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. Disregard the 500 word limit as stated on the application.

Personal Statement

A clearly labeled biographical Personal Statement: up to two pages, double spaced, statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an Academic Statement of Purpose, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. Disregard the 500 word limit as stated on the application.

Curriculum Vitae / Resume

No page limit.

Writing Sample

A writing sample of around 25 pages, double spaced, of critical or scholarly writing, excluding notes and bibliography. Notes and bibliography have no page limit.


Please select a sub-plan. You may refer to the list below for examples of sub-plans, though a sub-plan need not be listed here to be valid on the application.


18C American Lit
18C British Lit
19C American Lit
19C British Lit
20C American Lit
20C British Lit
American Lit
African-American Lit
Asian-American Lit
British Lit
Colonial Am. Lit
Comparative Lit
Critical Theory
Cultural Studies
Disability Studies
Early Modern
Ethnic and Minority Lit

Feminist Theory
Gender Studies
Holocaust Lit
Irish/Scottish Lit
Jewish Lit
Law and Lit
Mass Media
Medieval Lit
Modern Novel
Modern Poetry
Native American
Post-Colonial Lit
Post-Modern Lit

Queer Theory
Southern Literature
The Novel
Transatlantic Culture
Transatlantic Lit
Victorian Novel
Victorian Poetry
Women’s Lit

Admissions Conduct Code

The Admissions Conduct Code questions are part of the online application process. You will be prompted to provide the necessary information and your response will be submitted electronically. There is no need to follow-up with paper copies.

International Students: Medical Screening

Immunizations for International StudentsThe University of Michigan does not require immunizations. However, it is recommended that students come to school fully immunized to protect their health. Immunizations are one of the most effective public health measures in preventing communicable diseases. Immunization recommendations can be found on the University Health Services website.

Nota Bene

• All credentials submitted for admission consideration become the property of the University of Michigan and will not be returned in original or copy form.

• Make sure you receive an electronic confirmation of your submitted application.