Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Graduate Studies

Welcome to UT’s graduate program in English. We offer the MA and the PhD in English and the MFA in Creative Writing.  We’re happy through our endowment and teaching opportunities to ensure that 100% of our Ph.D. and MFA students are funded. 

Our MA program offers two concentrations: Literature, Criticism, and Textual Studies; and Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics.  Our PhD program offers three concentrations: Literature, Criticism, and Textual Studies; Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics; and English with Creative Dissertation. 

Students enrolled in these concentrations also have the option to pursue Graduate Certificates in such fields as Africana Studies, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Online Teaching and Learning, Quantitative Research Methods in Education, and Social Theory.

Our graduate students have access to a nationally and internationally recognized graduate faculty and to a superb research library with special collections in British and American literary and cultural history. They also benefit from the presence and resources of the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the University of Tennessee Center for the Humanities.  Students have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on advanced research and on journals such as International Journal of Nuclear Security, ASAP/Journal, Victorians Institute Journal, Journal of Victorian Culture, The Burney Journal, and Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts; to teach and design undergraduate courses; and to participate in our active Graduate Students in English organization.

We offer financial support for MA, MFA, and PhD candidates.  All funded students receive a tuition waiver (including summer courses), a teaching assistantship that pays a stipend, and a generous annual allowance for travel to conferences.  MA and MFA students who receive funding are funded for two years, while PhD students are funded for a maximum of five years. Other awards fund travel to archives, participation in summer institutes, creative writing submission and prize fees, interview transcription, and miscellaneous research expenses. For a complete list of the department’s funding opportunities, see the Graduate Handbook.

Our students regularly present their work at major conferences and publish in refereed journals, and our graduates teach in universities and colleges across the United States. 


Visit Graduate Admissions to apply for the MA, the MFA, or the PhD program in English. All materials should be submitted to the Graduate School through the online application; more detailed instructions may be found in the application form itself.


Required Application Materials:

  • Online Graduate School application.
  • Statement of Purpose  (2-3 pages describing your reasons for applying to a graduate program in English and the kind of study you wish to pursue, including your area(s) of interest.)
  • A $60 nonrefundable application fee.
  • Transcripts for all colleges and universities previously attended.  Copies of unofficial transcripts (not web-based academic histories) should be uploaded into the online application prior to submission of the application.  Do not send hard copies of official transcripts until you have received notification of admission from the Office of Graduate Admissions.  After you have received such notification, hard copies should be mailed to: The University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Office of Graduate Admissions, 201 Student Services Building, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A critical writing sample of up to twenty pages with works cited (longer works discouraged). Applicants for the MFA concentration and for the PhD with Creative Dissertation must also submit a creative writing sample of no more than twenty-five pages of fiction or creative nonfiction, or fifteen poems.
  • Copies of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores. In order for your GRE  scores to reach us by the deadline, you should take the test no later than the middle of October for the December 1 deadline and middle of November for the January 15th deadline.
  • International students must submit TOEFL scores as required by the Graduate School.

Here are some frequently asked questions or for more information:

Office of Graduate Studies in English
Ph: 865-974-6933

Office of Graduate and International Records and Admissions
Ph: 865-974-3251

How to Apply - Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Note: Due to COVID-19 quarantines and cancellations, GRE scores are optional for this year’s applications.  If you decide to submit GRE scores, you must abide by the deadlines listed here.  All applications will receive equal consideration, and applications will not be harmed by not including GRE scores.

For consideration in Round 1 (no fee):

Create a single PDF containing the following:

  • creative writing sample of no more than twenty-five pages of fiction or creative nonfiction, or fifteen poems
  • a statement of purpose/letter of intent including your ame, phone, and email.

Name the pdf Lastname.firstname.genre (e.g. Morrison.Toni.fiction.pdf).

Send the PDF to: by December 1.

(Applicants who want to be considered in both genres should send two separate applications).

Notifications for Round 1 will be emailed by January 1. Applicants who are finalists will be invited to submit a full application through the Graduate School, including paying the application fee.

For consideration in Round 2:

A full application (including a $60) is due to the Graduate School by January 15.

This application will also include:

  • Online Graduate School Application
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Transcripts for all colleges and universities previously attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A critical writing sample of up to twenty pages with works cited
  • A creative writing sample of up to twenty-five pages of fiction or creative nonfiction or fifteen poems
  • Copies of GRE scores (OPTIONAL)
  • International students must submit TOEFL scores as reqired by the Graduate School

Applying FAQ

Q: If I want to skip Round 1, or if I missed the deadline, may I still apply for Round 2?
A: Applicants who wish to skip Round 1 may apply directly to Round 2 and pay the $60 application fee.

Q: What is the advantage of applying to Round 1?
A: All applications will receive equal consideration. Submitting an application to Round 1 allows an applicant to learn whether their work would rank among admitted and waitlisted students without the financial outlay and effort of the full application.