Graduate Admissions & Aid

GW English Financial Aid 3 graduate students sitting in a classroom

The GW English Department invites prospective master's and doctoral students to apply to join our academic community. The department offers nationally renowned scholars and published authors on faculty, as well as access to rich scholarly opportunities at the nearby Library of Congress, Folger Shakespeare Library, National Archives and more. We have resources to help you create a robust application and find the financial support you need.


Application Deadlines

  • January 15: PhD candidates
  • February 1: MA applicants for funding consideration
  • April 1: MA candidates 


Application Tips

For complete admissions requirement information, please visit the GW Graduate Program Finder.

Previous Coursework

Applicants are expected to have an overall average of at least a B in their college-level work, with outstanding grades in literature courses. Students with a BA in English, American Literature or a closely related discipline — or 24 credit hours of literature in English above the sophomore level — may apply for admission to either the MA or PhD program.

Personal Statement Guidance

Your best chance to make an argument for a good fit with our program is through your personal statement, in which you should identify faculty with whom you would like to work. The admissions committee’s deliberation involves an individual process of consideration for every applicant and our goal is to find the most productive potential for future scholars in the individual mix of qualifications, past academic and professional performance, liveliness of scholarly and self presentation and commitment to the rigors of quality graduate-level work. 

Out-of-State Options

There are some parts of graduate degree work that can be completed while a student is out of state. The MA thesis project and the PhD dissertation are largely self-directed activities that are often completed in another location. Sometimes being off campus is, in fact, necessary for reasons of access to an archive located in another state or country.

However, during the primary phase of your coursework (in the MA program the first year and a half, and in the PhD program after the first two years), we expect that students will maintain an active presence in the program and take classes on campus. Funded students usually teach as part of their package and we expect that, short of a special arrangement, they will be residents of D.C.

Research Interests

For PhD students in particular, the department highly recommends tailoring your application to reflect the ways in which our areas of specialization will assist you in achieving your future goals. Identify scholarly and faculty research at GW that dovetail with your own interests. The question is not whether we accommodate your research interest, but rather whether your research interests can flourish given our specific areas of expertise.

Equal Opportunity and Diversity Statement

The department promotes values of diversity, multiculturalism and the productive integration of social differences as the basis for its social justice commitments. Thus, we actively seek a diverse faculty and student body through which to achieve these ideals. Please see GW’s Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment and Non-Retaliation Policy for details.

Visit the Graduate Program Finder

Master's Program Funding Opportunities

Various funding opportunities are available for talented applicants who apply before February 1.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships are awarded competitively to experienced tutors and teachers to assist professors with the writing component of courses in the Writing in the Disciplines (WID) program. Because MA students in English typically have the language and writing skills required for these salaried GA positions, they have an excellent chance of being selected to serve in these semester-by-semester appointments. These positions also include additional compensated training workshops in writing pedagogy. To indicate your interest, please refer to the WID Program Online Application.

More GW Funding Resources

PhD Funding Opportunities

It is the policy of the Graduate English Program to attempt to fully fund all students admitted to the PhD program for five years. Most funding will consist of Graduate Teaching Assistantships and other sources within the university, but we also admit students with outside funding. Some additional funding opportunities include:

In addition to these, we offer competitive grants to students with records of distinguished teaching and research.

While we recognize the difficulty of economic demands on all students, we also feel strongly that it is not possible to hold a full-time job and seriously pursue the rigorous nature of doctoral work at the same time. We expect active participation in a vibrant departmental culture and believe that each student’s contribution depends upon their ability to keep an active presence in the program throughout their graduate degree work.