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 2024 Admission

The deadline for the submission of graduate application forms to the Department of English for matriculation in Autumn 2024 will be December 1, 2023 at 11:59pm PST.

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.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts from all universities and colleges you have attended for one year or more must be uploaded to the online application.  We only require admitted applicants who accept the offer of admission to submit official transcripts that show degree conferral. Please do not send any official transcripts to us at this time.

  • 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 englishadmissions [at]

Knight-Hennessy Scholars 

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program cultivates and supports a highly-engaged, multidisciplinary and multicultural community of graduate students from across Stanford University, and delivers a diverse collection of educational experiences, preparing graduates to address complex challenges facing the world. Knight-Hennessy Scholars participate in an experiential leadership development program known as the King Global Leadership Program and receive funding for up to three years of graduate study at Stanford. Two applications must be submitted separately; one to Knight-Hennessy and one to the Stanford English graduate degree program by its deadline. Please refer to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program page to learn more and apply.


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