Admissions Information

Admission Guidelines to the Ph.D. Programs in English

Admission to the Ph.D. Program in English is determined by careful review of the applicants’ prior academic performance, writing sample, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statement. Only the GRE general test is required for admission to the Ph.D. in English. Approximately, twelve to fifteen students are accepted to the English doctoral program. Admission is for the following Fall Quarter only. The application and supporting documents (official, sealed transcripts, writing sample, three letters of recommendation and GRE scores) are required by the deadline.

Since admissions to the graduate programs is competitive, it is recommended that prospective applicants consider carefully the following information:

  • Writing Sample: One of the most important components of an application is the writing sample. This should be a critically oriented piece that illustrates an applicant's ability to do scholarly research and interpret literary texts. Although it is not required, it is helpful if the writing sample is relevant to your proposed field of study. Only one writing sample should be submitted (i.e. one single essay; not several shorter pieces), and it should not exceed 20 pages. Please note: the Writing Sample and the Statement of Purpose (part of the university's on-line electronic application) are two separate essays, and both are required for the Ph.D. application. The Statement of Purpose is generally 1-2 pages, and is more of an academic statement.

    Writing Samples must be emailed to in PDF format by the deadline.
  • GRE Scores: While there is no fixed cut-off for the GRE scores, a reasonable recommendation is a minimum score of 165 on the GRE Verbal Test. Analytical and Quantitative Test Scores are also taken into consideration. To send an official GRE test score to UCI, please select institution code 4859.
  • Grades: A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.50 in the last two years of undergraduate study is recommended to be competitive.
  • Prospective International Applicants: All prospective international applicants should be aware of additional University-wide admissions requirements. An applicant who is not a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident and whose primary language is not English must submit an official TOEFL score with a minimum of 550 on the paper examination which is the equivalent to a score of 213 on the computer-based exam. Applicants should also be prepared to document at the time of application sufficient funds to cover all fees, non-resident tuition, living expenses, and transportation. Currently the required amount for single students for one year of academic study is $37,755 (this is subject to change).

    As a state university, it has been difficult for us in recent years to support international students who are on F-1 and J-1 visas since they cannot establish California residency, and must pay substantial tuition and living costs for all of the time that they are enrolled in the Ph.D. Program. Teaching Assistantships and fellowships are limited and provide only partial funding. The current stipend is approximately $16,636.98 per year for those teaching one course each term plus a partial fee offset.) For these reasons, we usually are unable to support foreign nationals who do not have independent funding for the duration of their course of study (such as a Fulbright Fellowship, a governmental fellowship from their home country or private funding).
Application Process

Applicants must use the university's electronic application process. Official, sealed transcripts must be submitted in hardcopy form to the English Department by the January 5 deadline.
Ph.D. Programs Application Checklist:
  • The electronic application.
  • A $105 (for U.S. Citizens and lawful U.S. Permanent Residents) or $125 (for all other applicants) non-refundable application fee is required for each University of California campus to which an applicant applies. Applicants applying electronically may use a Visa or MasterCard to pay the application fee.
  • One official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution previously attended (may be sent directly to the English Department from the Registrar's Office in a sealed envelope or included in a sealed envelope).
  • Official GRE General Test scores.
  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted via electronic application).
  • A single paper or essay on a literary subject of not more than 20 pages must be sent electronically to by 11:45pm by the application deadline of January 5. All submissions must be PDF and saved as last name (space) first name (space) application ID number. You will be assigned an application ID number at the time you begin the online application process. Should email submission not be available to you, please contact the Graduate Program Administrator to arrange other accommodations.

For the Ph.D. Program in English: January 5 (for the following Fall). Applications lacking transcripts, writing sample, three letters of recommendations, or GRE scores after the January 5 deadline will be considered incomplete.

Applicants to the Ph.D. in English must email their writing sample to

Official, sealed transcripts must be postmarked by the deadline and mailed to:

Ph.D. Graduate Program Administrator
Department of English-UC Irvine
435 Humanities Instructional Building
Irvine, CA 92697-2650