Ph.D. Admissions

Thank you for your interest in our Ph.D. program, which offers an unparalleled combination of intellectual rigor and graduate support.  We are dedicated to training the next generation of scholars, and to confronting the opportunities offered by a changing job market. We look for various qualities in our applicants, including a proven capacity for advanced critical thinking and independent research.

Note: Stanford does not offer a terminal Master of Arts in English. 

Autumn 2021 Admission

The deadline for Autumn 2021 admission was December 1, 2020.  The next application cycle will open in Autumn 2021 with a deadline in early December 2021 for matriculation in Autumn 2022.  This page will be updated with more details in September 2021. 

Read all instructions at the University Graduate Admissions website before starting the application process.

Application Requirements/Checklist:

  • Application form: Completed online through the University Graduate Admissions website

  • Non-refundable fee of $125.  for information on eligibility for fee waivers please refer to Graduate Application Fee Waiver

  • Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages, double spaced, submitted as part of the application): reasons for applying, preparation, specific study and research interests (e.g., 18th century, American lyric poetry, Middle English, etc.), future career plans, and any other information to elucidate background and potential as a scholar/teacher.

  • Letters of Recommendation:  Three letters of recommendation are required from faculty members or others who are qualified to evaluate academic work and teaching potential.  Recommenders submit their letters through the online system by the application deadline.

  • Official Transcripts:  Transcripts are required from all prior college level schools attended for at least one year.  A scanned copy of the official transcript is submitted as part of the online application.  Please do not mail transcripts to the department.  Our department will only be asking students offered admission to submit official transcripts.  

  • Writing sample: a critical paper of approximately 12-25 pages, ideally in your stated field of interest. The writing sample is also submitted with the online application.

  • Official TOEFL and/or TSE: required for all international applicants (whose primary language is not English) sent via ETS.  To see if you need to provide this information, please check the Exam Requirements for International Applicants. Stanford does not accept IELTS scores.

Note to Stanford Undergraduates (both current and former):  

As a department we are gratified when some of our undergraduate majors decide to pursue advanced degrees in English.  To foster breadth in the students’ educational experience and also to expose our department to diverse ideas, our philosophy is that students who receive their undergraduate degrees from our department should generally look elsewhere to pursue their doctorates.

Inquiries about the Ph.D. in English should be directed to

Knight-Hennessy Scholars 

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars ( program cultivates a diverse, multidisciplinary community of emerging leaders from around the world and guides them to collaborate, innovate, and communicate as they prepare to address the complex challenges facing society. Knight-Hennessy Scholars become part of a supportive family of fellow scholars. Through the King Global Leadership Program, scholars will broaden knowledge, develop skills, and strengthen character; this platform provides a collection of community experiences, workshops, meetings with leaders, domestic and global study trips, and personal development opportunities. Knight-Hennessy Scholars also receive funding for graduate study at Stanford University. Apply at The application deadline is October 14, 2020 at 1:00 pm Pacific Time.


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