Admissions and funding

Application information

Ph.D. in English

The application deadline is December 15, 2022.

In addition to general Graduate School requirements, the Ph.D. in English requires the following materials, which should be submitted as part of the Graduate School’s online application:

  • Statement of intent: 500-750 words detailing your professional aims and objectives at Notre Dame, including your provisional field of study;
  • Letters of recommendation: Three (3) letters of recommendation, preferably by professors with whom you have recently studied;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Writing sample: 5,000-7,000 words (including bibliography/works cited) that demonstrates your ability to craft a sustained critical argument, perform independent literary research, and write with clarity. Please note: A writing sample that exceeds the work limit may not be read in its entirety. If you wish to excerpt a longer work, please include a brief note that provides context for the selection and describes the scope and argument of the longer work.

Students whose native language is not English should consult the Graduate School requirements for language scores.

M.A. in English and American Literature

The application deadline is December 15, 2022. Application requirements are the same as for the Ph.D.

Please note: The M.A. program is open only to Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College graduates and to students from other institutions with portable funding, for instance, international students with government funding or service members with tuition scholarships. Students who do not meet those criteria but wish to pursue graduate studies in English at Notre Dame should apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

MFA in Creative Writing

In addition to general Graduate School requirements, the MFA in Creative Writing requires the following materials, which should be submitted as part of the Graduate School’s online application:

  • Writing sample: 25-30 pages of prose (which may be any combination of short fiction, nonfiction or a novel or manuscript excerpt) or 20 pages of poetry (which may be 20 individual short poems, or several longer poems up to the page limit). You may apply in both genres, submitting a separate work sample to each. Or, if your work is of a genre which falls between poetry and prose, you may use the same work sample in both applications. Your writing sample is the most important part of your application.
  • Statement of intent: In no more than 1,000 words, please discuss any of the following topics: your approach to writing and reading; the books, artworks, movies, places, experiences, and people that inspire or inform your work; your sense of what writing is for, or “why you write”; your sense of what you’d like to accomplish during and after your MFA; the project you intend to complete as your thesis. Your statement of intent is the second most important part of your application.
  • Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from former undergraduate or graduate teachers or from other writing professionals who know your work well. These must be submitted online by your recommenders.
  • Transcripts: One copy of academic records from all postsecondary colleges and universities attended. (Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for application evaluation; official transcript records will be required upon acceptance.) Attach a copy to your online application.

Students whose native language is not English should consult the Graduate School requirements for language scores.

Funding

Ph.D. funding

As a Ph.D. student in English you will receive a five-year funding package that includes a full tuition scholarship, a competitive stipend, and health benefits, as well as generous funding for research and conference travel. In addition, the South Bend area offers one of the lowest costs of living in the country. 

Fellowships

On admission to the Ph.D. you will automatically be considered for additional support in the form of a premium fellowship, awarded competitively to top incoming students. These include the Notebaert Fellowship, the Presidential Fellowship, the Kinesis-Fernández Richards Fellowship (for students from Puerto Rico), the Deans’ Fellowship (for students from underrepresented groups), and the Gaia Fellowship (for students specializing in Latino studies).

While enrolled in the program you will also have the support of your committee and the Office of Grants and Fellowships in applying for dissertation fellowships from within and beyond the university. In recent years, Ph.D. students in English have won fellowships from organizations including the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Medieval Institute, and the Ford Foundation.

Research and travel grants

All students entering the Ph.D. in English are eligible for $1,500 from the department toward research and conference travel. Students in years 1-3 are eligible for an additional $350 a year; students in years 4-5 are eligible for an additional $700 a year. Funds are disbursed on application to the director of graduate studies, and students are encouraged to apply for some of the many additional sources of research and travel support from the university.

Guaranteed Sixth-Year Postdoctoral Fellowship

On completing the Ph.D. in five years, you will automatically qualify for a sixth-year postdoctoral fellowship from the College of Arts and Letters. These 5+1 fellowships are designed to enhance your professional profile through either a Teaching-and-Research Track or an Internship Track. They include a salary, funds for professional development, and health benefits.

MFA funding

Every admitted MFA student receives a full tuition waiver, a fellowship providing a full stipend, and a health insurance subsidy, as well as teaching, editorial, and publication experience. 

All graduating MFAs from Notre Dame are invited to apply for the Sparks Prize, which awards one student $35,000 to live and write for a third year. The only requirements are residency in South Bend and one public reading.

M.A. funding

As an M.A. student you will receive a full tuition scholarship for the two years of the program. In the South Bend area you will also benefit from one of the lowest costs of living in the country.