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PhD Admissions


2024 FALL DEADLINE: Review of applications will begin on January 15, 2024. We do not admit students during the Spring semester. All admissions decisions will be communicated to applicants by April 15th, 2024.

We encourage applicants to visit the English Department to learn more about our graduate program, see the campus and our facilities, and meet with faculty and graduate students to discuss interests and goals.

All materials must be submitted via an online application system here

The required applications materials include the following:

  • Statement of Purpose (1 - 2 pages).  The statement of purpose should discuss your scholarly interest, any research directions you would like to pursue, and how your interests and goals fit into the English Department.
  • Writing Sample (analytical prose, not creative work, 15 - 20 pages)
  • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended.  If an applicant is offered and accepts admission, the Graduate School will require official transcripts.
    • Applicants should have a minimum 3.25 on a 4.0 scale undergraduate grade point average and a 3.00 on all graduate work.
    • University of Kentucky graduates should note their degrees on the application but are not required to submit transcripts. 
    • PhD applicants must have an MA degree. (Applicants who do not have an MA in English should contact the Director of Graduate Studies.)
  • PLEASE NOTE: Neither the GRE subject test, nor the general GRE is required.
  • Language testing for International Students: Test scores can be self-reported in the application, however official scores should be sent directly from the testing agency. TOEFL iBT: Institution Code: 1837, Program Code: 99, Minimun Score: 79. IELTS: Institution Code: University of Kentucky Graduate School, Lexington, Kentucky, Minimum Score: 6.5 Overall Mean Band Score. Applicants from Nigeria, who will submit a 4-year awarded Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in Nigeria, are exempt from the TOEFL requirement.
  • Letters of Recommendation from three people who can evaluate the applicant’s scholarship and qualifications for graduate work in English and or teaching abilities. Please email your recommenders to let them know that the Graduate School will contact them for a letter of recommendation that can be uploaded into the on-line system. Also, please provide the contact information for your recommenders.
  • CV or Resume.
  • Teaching Assistantship Application. Please fill out this form and upload to the online application. Teaching Assitantships included a stipend of at least $17,000/year, tuition waiver, and health care.
  • Application Fee.  You can also pay the application fee on-line.  The application fee is $65 for domestic and $75 for international applicants.


To schedule a campus visit or to receive additional information about graduate programs in English at the University of Kentucky, please contact Robin Rahija at or 859-257-6895.

Students applying to the Ph.D. program from the University of Kentucky M.A. or M.F.A. programs are required to submit a writing sample and a two-page statement of professional purpose. In considering candidates for the Ph.D. program, the Graduate Studies Committee gives highest priority to performance in graduate courses and solicits comments from all of the student's graduate instructors.