Frequently Asked Questions

Prerequisites
What is your acceptance rate?
How much is tuition?
Do I need an MA to apply for your PhD program?
I have a degree in a field other than English. Can I still apply to your program?
If I am already an MA student at UIC, do I need to reapply for admission to the PhD program?
Is it possible to take your PhD program part-time or at night?
Do I need to make an appointment with an advisor before I apply?
Do you accept transfer credits?

Application
How strict are your application deadlines?
Can I check online to see if my materials have been received?
What does the admissions committee look for in a application?
Which elements of the GRE test do you require?
How can I find out when/where the GRE will be offered?
What is the minimum GRE score required for admission to your department?
Can my letters of recommendation be emailed?
How soon can I expect a decision on my application?

Non-Degree Options
What non-degree options for admissions do you provide?
If I apply as a non-degree student, do I still need to take the GRE?

Financial Aid
What percentage of incoming students receive aid?
Can you explain your program's teaching assistantships?
How do I apply for fellowships?
Is funding available for MA students?

Student Life
What is the average course load per semester in your program?
Does UIC provide childcare? Housing? Insurance?

How do I find details regarding program requirements?
Where can I find information regarding health insurace?
What percentage of your graduates move on to success as faculty in the field?
Can you list some recent dissertations completed by your graduates?



What is your acceptance rate?
Annually, there are an average of 300 applicants to the PhD program and 175 to the MA program. The acceptance rate is slightly above three percent.

How much is tuition?
The price of classes varies from year to year, but tuition and fees can be accessed on the Office of Admissions and Records website.

Do I need an MA to apply for your PhD program?
No. As of 2009, the Department of English will consider direct admission to the PhD program from an undergraduate track for those who are interested.

I have a degree in a field other than English. Can I still apply to your program?
Yes. We do accept applications from prospective students who have degrees in other fields, but we do place all applications in equal competition, and students with English degrees are often better aligned with our program goals than those who have degrees in other fields. Those students who do have degrees in other fields should consider taking non-degree courses in English through an accredited college or university in order to better position themselves to apply; current undergraduates completing a degree in a field other than English should explore options for taking English electives through their current school.

If I am already an MA student at UIC, do I need to reapply for admission to the PhD program?
PhD candidates currently enrolled at UIC in the Master's program do not need to apply to the Graduate College for admission. (If admitted, those students need to petition for a change of program.) We do require current UIC MA students to submit new supplemental application materials to the English department, however. The application should represent the student's best work to date, and should account for recent progress in the graduate program.

Is it possible to take your PhD program part-time or at night?
There is no "night school" option for graduate studies at UIC. Due to the fact that our classes are offered throughout the day, studying exclusively at night is not possible. Additionally, due to the intensity of study, a part-time approach to the PhD is strongly advised against. Part-time study would also made an applicant ineligible for a teaching assistantship.

Do I need to make an appointment with an advisor before I apply?
No. In fact, due to the high number of applications we receive every year, we would prefer to offer office appointments only to those students who have questions that we cannot answer by phone or through email. Anyone who wishes to make an appointment with the Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Coordinator should call or email for arrangements. Current contact information is available on the English Graduate Studies web page.

Do you accept transfer credits?
While technically there is no such thing as "transfering credits," UIC will consider work done at other accredited institutions. Applicants need to apply to program as new students, then after the start of the semester, can petition to have prior work applied to their degree. These courses cannot have been used toward another advanced degree and must have yielded a grade of B or better. There is a 12-credit maximum, which typically equals three courses.

How strict are your application deadlines?
Due to the high number of applications every year, the deadlines are very strict. The admission review committee needs time to examine each application carefully to make the most thorough evaluation possible. For example, if the PhD application deadline is January 1, then materials must have already been received by the Office of Graduate Studies. The Graduate College may have later deadlines for the paperwork it requires, but that does not change the deadlines for English Department materials. Applications that remain incomplete after the deadline are subject to cancellation.

Can I check online to see if my materials have been received?
Yes. When applicants login to Web for Admissions to check the status of their application, they will see the "Departmental Checklist" information under "Additional Program Requirements" which appears after the OAR checklist information. Applicants can check that both university requirements and departmental materials have been received.

What does the admissions committee look for in a application?
While all parts of the application are crucial, the strength of an application to our graduate program is determined by an applicant's writing sample and statement of purpose. These parts of the application are scrutinized by the entire admissions review committee. The writing sample should represent your very best work; the statement of purpose should be as clear as possible, describing your writing vividly, while also discussing your intellectual interests and career goals.

Which elements of the GRE test do you require?
We require only the GRE general test for all of our degrees in the English Department. The subject test is not required for any English graduate degree. We also require that GRE test scores be no more than five years old. If you are applying for admission in Fall 2010, you must have taken the test(s) in 2005 or more recently. The Institution Code for reporting official scores is 1851.

How can I find out when/where the GRE will be offered?
Visit the ETS homepage and click on GRE. There you will find information on how to register for the GRE.

What is the minimum GRE score required for admission to your department?
We do not have a minimum required GRE score for admission.

Can my letters of recommendation be emailed?
Letters of recommendation are uploaded directly to the university. Once you have completed your application, you will be prompted to provide email addresses for your recommenders. They will receive an email with a link to upload their recommendation.

How soon can I expect a decision on my application?
While there is no official decision date, students applying for the PhD program can expect a decision by the first week of March. Students applying for the MA program can expect a decision by the end of March.

What non-degree options for admissions do you provide?
Please visit our Non-degree Options page to see what options are available for students under non-degree status.

If I apply as a non-degree student, do I still need to take the GRE?
If you are applying as Non-degree English, then yes. Applicants to the PhD and MA, as well as Non-degree English students must have GRE scores no more than five years old. Please visit our Non-degree Options page for more information about non-degree requirements.

What percentage of incoming students receive financial aid?
All PhD students receive funding in the form of a teaching assistantship. There are no teaching assistantships available for MA students.

Can you explain your program's teaching assistantships?
Our program offers Teaching Assistantships to all accepted PhD applicants. We support our PhD students through six years of funding, contingent upon sufficient progress through the program. Many students finish the degree in a shorter length of time; however, it's generally best to anticipate spending at least four years on the degree. The length of time is inseparable from specific terms of support. Our standard package for PhD students is about $14,000 per year stipend, plus tuition remission, and a teaching load of three classes a year (2-1) after the first year (in which you take a teaching practicum and then teach two classes). Due to increased demand, as of 2009 we no longer offer teaching assistantships for incoming MA students.

For more information, please visit our funding page.

Is departmental funding available for MA students?
Due to the increased demand for assistantships and fellowships, there is no departmental funding available for MA students. For more information, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

How do I apply for fellowships/awards?
If you would like to be considered for a university fellowship or other award from the Graduate College, simply complete an Application for Graduate Appointment and submit it with your application. Note: it is required for PhD applicants. Nominations are handled by the English Department and all eligible accepted applicants will automatically be considered for university awards.

What is the average course load per semester in your program?
A graduate course is generally weighted for four credit hours. The average course load per semester is twelve hours for students fulfilling core requirements without Teaching Assistantships and eight for those who do hold Teaching Assistantships; a load of eight hours is typical for PhD students doing dissertation work.

Does UIC provide childcare? Housing? Insurance?
The university's programs are detailed in the "Living" and "Working" sections of the UIC website.

How do I find details regarding program requirements?
The appropriate program page, Undergraduate, Master's or PhD, will have all the pertinent information, including program requirements and degree timelines.

Where can I find information regarding health insurace?
Please visit the Campus Care website for health coverage information and details.

What percentage of your graduates move on to success as faculty in the field?
Our department grants, on average, twelve doctoral degrees in a year, though that number may vary significantly from year to year. In an average graduating cohort of twelve, six may move immediately into full-time academic employment. Two of those may achieve tenure-track positions right away, while another two may take positions which transition quickly to tenure-track positions. Other graduates may move into post-doctoral work, fellowships, or non-tenure-track teaching positions. Many focus on their careers as creative writers. Recent MA and PhD graduates have taken positions at such institutions as Arizona State University, Boston College, Notre Dame, Temple University, and the University of Iowa. If you want more information on English Department placement, please visit our placement pages.

Can you list some recent dissertations completed by your graduates?
Rone Shavers: The Codeswitchers: A Novel
Mathias Nilges: Nostalgia for the Future: Post-Fordist U.S. Literature and Culture
Jennifer Jane Rupert: Oscillating Wildly: Surrealist Women and the Ethics of Literary Modernism
James Baskin: Rhetorical Questions: An Analysis of Persuasion in Trial and Appellate Law
Jeffrey Gore: Repairing the Ruins: John Milton's Of Education and the Early Modern Culture of Obedience
Steve Benton: Ichabod's Children: Anti-Intellectualism and the Pedagogical Imagination
Bridget Tsemo Harris: Confronting an "Unwashed" Democracy: African-American Literature at the Turn of the Century (Winner of the Outstanding Thesis Award, Graduate College, University of Illinois at Chicago).