The first requirement for admission to the M. A. program is a B.A. in English from an accredited institution, credit for at least 30 semester hours of English beyond first-year composition, or evidence of equivalent academic preparation as approved by the English Department. In some cases, students may be advised to take particular courses to prepare for a successful application. Students who need to take additional English courses in order to prepare for graduate studies in English may take courses at UNC Charlotte or elsewhere to qualify for admission to the M. A. program. To be eligible to take courses at UNC Charlotte, they should apply to the Graduate School for admission as post-baccalaureate students.

Students should have a minimum 3.0-grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) on all coursework taken beyond high school. Applications are considered holistically; students with a grade point average slightly lower than 3.0 may still be considered if the remainder of the application materials is unusually strong.

If you are unsure whether or not your GPA is high enough or whether your B.A. in another field is acceptable, if you would like to pursue the post-baccalaureate option, or if you have any further questions, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Lara Vetter [].


The Department of English accepts applications for Fall (through August 1) or Spring (through December 1). Applicants for the M.A. who are seeking funding in the form of a teaching assistantship or scholarship, however, must apply and be accepted by March 1. Scroll down for more information about teaching assistantships in English.

All applications must be submitted online through the Graduate School’s website. The application does not have to be completed at one sitting; the application fee is not paid until the application is finished and electronically submitted to the Graduate School.

Questions about the content of the materials submitted should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Lara Vetter []. Questions about the process of applying through the online system should be directed to an Admissions Counselor at the Graduate School (704-687-5503). If you’re unsure, just contact the Director of Graduate Studies, who will be happy to help.

Prospective students must submit the following:

  • An application fee that must be paid electronically when the application is submitted. Our program is committed to welcoming students of a range of backgrounds, experiences, and interests. We have a number of competitively awarded application fee waivers. If you’re interested, please send a one-page request to the Graduate Director before you hit “submit” on your application, outlining how your background and experience will enrich our program.
  • An unofficial transcript, with GPA, from each post-secondary school, attended; if a student is admitted, an official transcript will be required.
  • A statement of purpose outlining the student’s preparation and goals for pursuing graduate education in English.
    • Your statement of purpose is an academic autobiography, rather than a story about who you are as an individual, about 600-1000 words in length. What specific experiences in your undergraduate program sparked your interest in English studies? How does your academic and/or professional background prepare you for graduate study in English? Which concentration most interest you, and what do you hope to study in an M.A. program at UNC Charlotte’s English Department? How does an M.A. in English ready you for your intended goals after graduation?
    • An academic autobiography will necessarily be personal as well, but we are primarily looking for intellectual engagement with your intended area of research or creative activity. We want to know that you are enthusiastic about successfully completing challenging coursework, research, and writing. We understand that you may have experienced setbacks along the way: if so, this is the place to address them, briefly.
    • This is an important part of your application, so please write carefully, revise, and polish your statement. Your voice is important, so we strongly discourage your use of AI in the writing of your statement of purpose; if you do so, you must cite it correctly using MLA or APA format.
  • Three academic recommendations from individuals who can attest to the student’s academic qualifications (ideally, college professors, not employers or personal references). If a student has been out of school for a long period of time, references may be professional. These recommendations are requested of the recommenders electronically as part of the application process.
  • A writing sample of 6-10 pages, which must be an example of analytical, scholarly writing (rather than creative writing) in any area of English studies. You may send an excerpt from a longer work with a short prefatory paragraph offering a description or introduction to the selection. If you have been out of school for an extended period and do not have a scholarly writing sample, please contact Professor Vetter, Director of Graduate Studies, at about an alternative way to meet this requirement.
  • International applicants (i.e., those whose native language is not English or whose previous degrees are not at an American university) must also demonstrate proficiency in English by having scores sent to the Graduate School from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Scores older than two years will not be accepted. During the pandemic, scores on the Duolingo English Test may be used instead of the TOEFL or IELTS.

Please note that there is no longer a requirement for a GRE test score; applicants should not submit GRE test scores as part of their applications.

When the application is submitted, students will receive an email notice, and they will be alerted by email as well if the application is incomplete. Students may check the status of their application online and will receive an email notification from both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate School when a decision has been made.

Applicants for our early entry program have the same requirements as those applying for regular admission.

Applicants for our certificate programs or for the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction also apply through the Graduate School admissions portal. For information on requisite application materials for certificate programs, please consult the Graduate Catalogue:

For more information about the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, see their webpage at the College of Education and the description of the program in the Graduate Catalogue.


The English Department offers seven competitively awarded teaching assistantships to new full-time students who plan to begin in the fall. The deadline for applying for a teaching assistantship is March 1. Application is made by selecting “assistantship interest” on their online application; no other materials are needed. Offers will be made in March and April. Assistantships will be awarded to first-year students, to be renewed for a second year, assuming satisfactory performance.

In both semesters of their first year, graduate teaching assistants will work approximately 20 hours per week tutoring in the Writing Resources Center. In their first semester, they must successfully complete ENGL 5400 (English Composition Practicum) unless they have already taken it. This course will be included in the degree requirements for the M.A. In their second-year graduate teaching assistants offer instructional assistance to faculty teaching large-enrollment courses.

On occasion, the English Department is asked to recommend graduate students for assistantships in other departments and units. Students interested in such positions should check Hire-a-Niner regularly for available positions across campus. They should also let Professor Vetter know, in case another unit contacts her directly for recommendations of eligible students.


Applications for the prestigious Russell M. Robinson II Scholarship are due on March 1. Students are also encouraged to check the Niner Scholarship Portal for other scholarships for which they may be eligible.


The Graduate School describes forms of financial aid on their website. Note that if graduate students take at least two courses (or 6 credit hours), they are FAFSA-eligible.

In addition to assistantships, the Department may be able to make some requests for a limited number of tuition support awards. To be eligible for these awards, students are asked to have a FAFSA on file with the Office of Financial Aid. To apply for need-based tuition assistance and loans, students must apply through the Office of Financial Aid, not the Department.