Click here for a complete list of application requirements.
*See the instructions for your program(s) of interest for details about the required writing sample.
The writing sample is intended to demonstrate your ability to engage in critical academic writing. Ideally it should involve interacting with both primary and secondary sources. It does not need to be specifically about any desired future research topic, but it should fall within your proposed program’s field of study. Most applicants use a course paper from previous study (modified as necessary to meet the length requirements), though some submit new works if they do not feel they have a suitable paper. Other applicants submit an excerpt from a longer work, such as an undergraduate or master’s thesis. If you do submit an excerpt you should include a one-page summary of the whole to provide some context.
Statement of Purpose
*Applicants to Visual Arts, see the Special Instructions.
For most programs, we recommend that the statement of purpose be 1-3 pages long, single-spaced. The Department of Philosophy asks that you limit the Statement of Purpose to one page. Some departments have additional guidelines for statements of purpose, so be sure to check the website for your program of interest.
Three Letters of Recommendation
All applicants are required to provide the names and contact information for at least three recommenders. More than three recommendations may be provided if you wish. Please give your recommenders adequate time to write supporting letters in order to ensure that your application is complete by the deadline. While we will continue to accept letters of recommendation whenever they arrive, we cannot guarantee that letters received more than one week after your application deadline will be taken into consideration. It is recommended that your letters be written by a professor from the institution where you got your degree, who knows you well or at least has evaluated you academically in some capacity. Someone with an advanced degree who has supervised you at a job or internship in your prospective field of study could also be appropriate. It is best if all three letters are from people who fit these descriptions, but if you are unable to find three such recommenders, it is acceptable to seek letters from other people.
A transcript should be submitted for each post-secondary institution you have attended, showing details of all coursework and grades. If one of your previous institutions does not use a grading system it is not necessary that your transcript or marksheet contain grades or GPA. If your school does not provide grades or an overall GPA, you should also ask your references to comment in more detail on your academic performance in their courses and, if relevant, grades you received on papers or presentations. If you are still completing your degree, you need only submit your transcript showing your coursework to date.
If you attended an institution through an exchange program and the coursework is listed on the transcript for your degree-granting institution, you do not need to submit an additional transcript from the exchange institution. Please email us in this case so that we can waive the transcript requirement for that institution.
For the application you are not required to submit official copies of your transcripts. Scans of official transcripts or downloaded transcripts, whether official or unofficial, should be uploaded to the online application. If you receive and accept an offer of admission you will be required to provide official, final transcripts for your previous degrees.
Credentials written in a language other than English must be accompanied by an official translation. This should be prepared or verified by someone whose position requires knowledge of both English and the other language (e.g., a professor of English at a French university). Translations must bear the signature and stamp of the translator. Please include the original transcript along with the translations.
GRE general test scores
For programs that require GRE general test scores (see this table), only scores on the GRE general test are required. GRE subject test scores are not required by any programs in the Division of the Humanities. General test scores must be from within the preceding 5 years. There is no minimum GRE score required for admission. An official score report should be sent to us at institution code 1832, and we do not use department codes so applicants may enter any department code they wish.
TOEFL or IELTS test scores
If you are an applicant who needs to meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement, your TOEFL or IELTS scores must be no more than two years old on the day you submit your application. The ETS institution code for submitting TOEFL scores is 1832. We do not use department codes so you may enter any department code you wish.