Graduate Admissions

Graduate applications are available online through the Dietrich School web site's ApplyYourself® service

Questions? Please contact the Graduate Administrator.


The application period for Fall Admission 2021 will begin on September 1, 2020 and will end on December 10, 2020 at 11:59 PM (EST) for all MA and PhD applicants, or on January 7, 2021 at 11:59 PM (EST) for all MFA applicants.

Note: Applications will not be accepted or considered if sent before September 1, 2020. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS.

General Information About Applying

Review the requirements as outlined below. Failure to follow these steps may delay or disqualify your application.

  • Complete and submit your online application.

  • Make sure you follow the instructions provided on the ApplyYourself® website. Print a copy of the completed application for your personal records.

  • Anyone who wishes to apply to more than one degree program (for example, the MA and the PhD) should submit only one online application but include materials relevant to both degrees. Notify the department at if you are applying for more than one degree program.

  • If you are submitting any materials that you are not able to submit online through ApplyYourself®, send these materials to Jesse Daugherty by email ( or by mail: University of Pittsburgh, Department of English - Graduate Office, 526 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.

  • Students apply for the Film & Media Studies PhD with English as the associated department through the Film and Media Studies program. Use the Dietricg School web site's ApplyYourself® service. Select "Film Studies-PHD" then choose English as your area of specialization on another pull-down menu. Contact Film and Media Studies with questions ( or 412-624-6564), or for more information about the Interdisciplinary PhD in Film and Media Studies see:
  • All materials sent through regular mail must also be received by the due date, December 10, 2020 for all MA and PhD applicants or January 7, 2021 for all MFA applicants.

Application Materials

These materials must be submitted as part of the application:

1. Online Application Form.

Note: When listing the institutions that you have attended, please make sure that all of the information is visible on the application. If all information is not visible on application (e.g., if the school name is too long), a separate list must be submitted. You must list your GPA, the degree you earned (BA, BS, MA) if any, and the month/year that the degree was obtained.

2. Area of Specialization.

Please select an area of specialization from the options provided on the online application form. For MFA applicants this will be your primary genre (Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry). PhD and MA applicants with primary interests in Composition and Rhetoric should make that selection. Applicants in Literature should select the Focal Area that best represents your interests. (You can learn more about the focal areas here). Applicants in Film normally apply through the interdisciplinary PhD in Film and Media Studies with English as their Associated Department. If you are primarily interested in Film and Media Studies but think the PhD in Critical and Cultural Studies may be a better fit for you, you should contact the Film Studies DGS to discuss the options.
Note: As a Department we value interdisciplinary scholarship, and we have a long tradition of supporting excellent graduate students whose work cuts across our programs and focal areas. To facilitate our review of a large number of applications we ask that you select the area that most strongly fits your interests, but we encourage you to identify additional areas of interest in your Statement of Purpose, and we expect most admitted students will work beyond the areas of specialization they select in their application.  

3. Detailed Statement of Purpose.

Two to three pages in length, single-spaced.

For MFA applicants, your statement of purpose should tell us about yourself and what brought you to this program. Why did you choose the University of Pittsburgh's MFA program? What do you expect from your time in the program? What are your aspirations as a writer?

In addition to these sorts of questions, MA and PhD applicants should also highlight your sense of direction and some of the field conversations that you might be entering.

4. Three Letters of Recommendation.

Three recommendations must be provided by faculty members or others who can write about your suitability for graduate study in the degree program to which you are applying. The ApplyYourself site will ask you to submit contact information, including email addresses, for your recommenders, and the recommenders will be contacted electronically and asked to upload letters of recommendation. These letters can be submitted prior the the submission of the application itself. 

It is your responsibility to be sure that letters of recommendation are submitted by December 10, 2020 (MA and PhD applicants) or by January 7, 2021 (MFA applicants). Sometimes, messages sent to recommenders by ApplyYourself® have been lost in spam filters. Please contact your recommenders to be sure they have received the email prompts from ApplyYourself and to be sure they have submitted their letters. 
If it is impossible for a recommender to submit a letter electronically, you may download a Recommendation Form from the ApplyYourself® site, fill out the portion that you must sign, and convey it to your recommender. Hard copy letters of recommendation MUST be accompanied by the ApplyYourself® recommendation form and must be received by December 10, 2020 (MA and PhD applicants) or by January 7, 2021 (MFA applicants).

5. GPA eligibility.

Full admission to any of our graduate programs requires an undergraduate overall GPA of 3.0 or significant amount of graduate work at 3.0 or higher. Admits and students cannot be awarded a TA/TF/GSA or Dietrich School Arts and Sciences Fellowship with a GPA below 3.0. If an applicant has a GPA between 2.76 and 2.99, the applicant can only be admitted on provisional status.  

6. Transcripts.

New information as of Oct. 2013: Applicants will be required to submit digital scans of transcripts for all post-high school academic work. Applicants do not need to provide official paper or digital transcripts during the admissions process. However, all applicants who are admitted and who accept Pitt’s offer of admission will be required to submit certified transcripts and translations of all undergraduate and graduate study prior to matriculation (that is, before enrollment in autumn 2020).

7. Writing Samples.

MA and PHD applicants: The writing sample should be a critical or interpretive essay of approximately 20 pages.
MFA Applicants: The writing sample should consist of published or unpublished work in the genre for which you are applying (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry). For fiction and nonfiction applicants, the sample should be approximately 25 pages, and for poetry applicants, approximately 20 pages.
Writing samples should ordinarily be submitted through ApplyYourself®.

8. $75.00 Application Fee.

This fee can be paid by credit card through ApplyYourself or by check or money payable to the University of Pittsburgh. The fee is the same for US citizens and International Students. McNair Scholars may write to for information about waiving the fee.
MFA Applicants: Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by Skype or phone, and all applicants will be notified when final decisions are made.

Note: As of the 2020-21 application deadline, GRE scores are not required and will not be considered by the admissions committees.

If any application materials must be submitted by mail, please send them to:

Department of English - Graduate Office
526 Cathedral of Learning
4200 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

International Students

In addition to the requirements listed on the Apply and Additional Materials pages, international students must also include TOEFL and/or IELTS scores.

The required minimum TOEFL score of 90 (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing) will be required for 2019-2020 applicants.  The required minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections) will be required for 2020-2021 applicants. The program codes for sending exam scores is 2927.

International students whose primary language of academic instruction is English and/or those who have successfully graduated from a U.S.-based university are eligible to have this requirement waived.

Graduate Administrator: or 412-624-6549