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Department of English Language and Literature

FAQ for the MA and PhD Application

(note: questions about the MFA application can be found here. )

How long should the writing sample be?

For the PhD, the writing sample should be between 15 and 20 typed, double spaced pages of academic writing. For the MA, the writing sample should be between 8 and 12 typed, double spaced pages of academic writing.

Do I need to send in official transcripts with the application?

When you are applying, you only need to send in unofficial transcripts. If you are admitted and plan to attend UofSC, you will need to send in official transcripts from all colleges/universities you have attended. More information about transcripts can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

Do I need to take the GRE?

You do not have to take the GRE general or subject test to apply to our programs.  

What should I include in my statement of purpose?

Your statement of purpose should include your academic and professional goals, along with a consideration of how UofSC’s program can help you achieve those goals. You are welcome to include some personal information, but the bulk of the statement should be about your areas of interest, your potential research pursuits, and why you think you’d be a good fit for UofSC English.

When will admission decisions be announced?

We aim to release our first round of PhD admissions decisions in mid-February. For MA applications, we aim to release decisions by mid- to late- March. All applicants will be notified  of their decision by April at the latest.

Is there an online option for the PhD or MA?

No. Our programs are completed in person.

Will I be automatically awarded funding?

We try to admit only as many students as we can fund. If you submit your application by January 1 of the admission year, then you will be considered for funding.

What is the funding package?

For the MA, we offer half tuition for the first year, a stipend to cover living expenses, and fully subsidized health insurance. In the first year, MA students work in the department for 10 hours/week. In the second year, we cover full tuition costs, a slightly increased stipend, and fully subsidized health insurance. During this year, MA students work in the department for 15 hours/week.

For the regular-admit PhD (PhD applicants with an MA), we can offer full tuition for five years, a stipend to cover living expenses, and fully subsidized healthcare insurance. Each year, the student will work 15/week in the department as a First-Year English instructor.

For the direct-admit PhD (PhD applicants with no MA), we can offer full tuition for six years, a stipend to cover living expenses, and fully subsidized healthcare insurance. Each year, the student will work 15/week in the department either as a writing center tutor, a lecture assistant, and in the second through sixth years, a First-Year English instructor.

Enrolled students are responsible for paying the fees and purchasing/having access to any books they’ll need for class. You can expect that fees will be between $200 and $400 per semester. More information about fees can be found on the Bursar’s website.

What if I have more questions?

You are welcome to email Sage Dunne, the Graduate Program Coordinator, at sdunne@mailbox.sc.edu.


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