How to Apply

Program Eligibility

Candidates who hold a Bachelor's degree, or who will complete a Bachelor's degree by the start of the admission term, are eligible to apply. Many but by no means all of our applicants also have a Master's degree in English or a related field. Please note that program requirements are identical for those entering with Bachelor's and Master's degrees.

Applicants with previous degrees in majors other than English literature are eligible to apply, although a substantial background in literary/cultural study is recommended.

In general, applicants should have a 3.0 (B) grade point average, or the equivalent, in their undergraduate work.


Applicants will be asked to submit:

  • Plan of Study: briefly describe your intended area of study, including a particular subdivision of the major field in which you wish to specialize and specific faculty members with whom you hope to work. Discuss any scholarly research, writing, or similar research that you are working on currently or in the past.
  • Statement of Purpose: You will be asked to upload a statement that concisely and accurately describes your philosophical interests, motivations, and aspirations. The statement should briefly discuss reasons for applying to the department specifically, such as interest in a particular faculty member’s work, and describe any relevant research projects.
  • Research & Publications: list any articles, publications, or creative work.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV): A CV should include a comprehensive chronological listing of your professional achievements including academic credentials and employment. Please include the title of any publications or research projects
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation: you will be asked to list their name, organization, title, relationship, and email address. Rice uses an online recommendation service (like Interfolio). Your recommender will be emailed information on how to submit their letter online.
  • Writing Sample (15-25 pages): any research paper from your undergraduate or masters program or another work that reflects your critical thinking
  • Transcripts from each college attended

Please note that the GRE is not required.

    Apply at

    The applications deadline is December 1, 2022.

    For more information about Rice University's graduate program qualifications, visit Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies


    Frequently Asked Questions:

    1.) Is the GRE required?
    The GRE is not required to apply to the PhD program in the Department of English

    2.) Do you offer a fee waiver?
    Rice University will automatically waive application fees for doctoral applicants who are graduates of institutions in Texas and bordering states Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico or who have a permanent address in these states.

    3.) What if I do not have all of my materials ready by the December 1 deadline?
    In order to be considered for admission, you must submit all application materials through the online application by the deadline. Late applications will not be considered.

    4.) I'm an international applicant, do I have to submit proof of English proficiency?
    Applicants who are foreign nationals or whose native language is not English must meet one of the following standards to meet Rice’s English Language Proficiency standard:

    • At least a 90 on the iBT TOEFL.
    • At least 7 on the IELTS.
    • At least 115 on the Duolingo test of English proficiency.
    • The applicant has completed or is expected to complete, a post-secondary degree from an institution in which English is the official language of communication or instruction (you will be asked to confirm this on the application).
      For more information, please visit:

    5.) When will I be notified about the admissions decision?
    Candidates will be notified of admissions decisions in early February; communications will be sent to the email address provided by the candidate on the application form.

    Questions about the graduate program may be directed to Humanities Graduate Admissions: