You must first apply and be approved to Ball State’s Graduate School or International Admissions.
Be sure to note that not all documents are sent to the same place.

Graduate English Degrees
Request information to learn more about graduate school and the English graduate programs.

Prepare and submit these materials directly to the Department of English:

  1. A statement of purpose (750-1000 words) detailing your academic and intellectual biography and your purpose in seeking a graduate degree at Ball State University. 

  2. A sample of your scholarly or critical writing, preferably a paper written for a class. The writing sample should exemplify your best work. The writing sample can be a revised class paper or a section from an undergraduate or master’s thesis. It should reflect your ability to write well, analyze, and engage with scholarly debates and research. If you do not have a sample of academic work, write a new paper on a subject related to the previous or proposed field of study.

    MA creative writing applicants should submit a creative writing sample in either fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or some combination of genres (8-15 pp double-spaced; poetry can be single-spaced, of course). 

    Page length requirements: 8–15 pp double-spaced for all MA applicants; 10-20 pp double-spaced for the English PhD application in Literature and 15-25 pp double-spaced either Rhetoric and Composition or Applied Linguistics.

You can submit these documents via email or via the post.  If you would prefer to send these documents via email, please attach PDF or Word copies to an email addressed to  You can also send hard copies of these documents to the following address:

English Department Graduate Programs Office
Robert Bell Room 297
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Submit these materials to either the Graduate School or International Admissions:

  1. Official transcript(s) from all universities and colleges attended are to be submitted directly to the Graduate School (universities or colleges in the United States). International transcripts must be submitted to International Admissions through WES (World Education Services).  The WES review process does take time (7-10 business days once the required documentation is received), so plan ahead to meet all of the application deadlines. To be considered for admission, the English master's programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, while the English doctoral programs require a minimum GPA of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale from a master's program (or equivalent).

  2. Records of your standardized test scores. 

    Master's Programs:
    Native speakers of English must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Non-native speakers of English must submit either Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores (minimum score of 79 or equivalent). If a non-native speaker of English has completed a minimum of 24 credit hours from an English speaking university or college, the TOEFL requirement is waived and the applicant must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. 

    Doctoral Programs:
    The doctoral programs in English require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for ALL applicants.  Non-native speakers of English must ALSO submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores of at least 81 or equivalent (unless the applicant has earned a minimum of 24 credit hours from an approved English speaking university or college, in which case the TOEFL can be waived).
  • For information about standardized tests, contact the Educational Testing Service: Graduate Record Examination (GRE), 609-771-7670 or TOEFL, 215-750-8050
  • For applicants sending GRE scores electronically, the score must be submitted directly to Ball State University from Educational Testing Service (ETS), Ball State University's code is 1051.
  • The Rinker Center for International Programs lists these testing/score requirements on their Admissions page: Official TOEFL scores must be sent directly to Ball State University from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Ball State University's code is 1051.

    3. Three letters of recommendation from sources familiar with your scholarly work (such as your former professors). This letters should focus on your academic strengths and weaknesses as well as your potential for graduate study. The electronic application will allow you to enter your recommenders’ names and email addresses. Once you do this, the system will send an email to your recommenders with instructions on uploading their letters of recommendation.

Assistantships deadline: If you wish to be considered for an assistantship, complete your application by January 15.

  • If you are a new applicant and wish to be considered for an assistantship, be sure to indicate this on the Graduate School application; there is no separate assistantship application for new applicants.
  • Decisions about assistantships are generally made in March and announced in April.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When can I expect to get news of an admission decision?

    We notify applicants about admission decisions as quickly as possible. Those taking advantage of rolling admission can reasonably expect to get news within 4-6 weeks after the application is complete; similarly, those applying by the January 15 deadline can expect to get a decision mid- to late March.

  2. How can I make sure my application is complete?

    For all programs, departmental approval for admission is based upon evaluation of these criteria.  No incomplete files are considered; you are responsible for ensuring that your admission file is complete.  Apply early; transcripts and test scores take weeks, often months, to arrive.

    While we cannot routinely contact you about missing items, you may:
    Visit the English graduate office (Robert Bell 2115) or e-mail Megumi Hamada.
    Call us at 765-285-8415 to check on the status of your file.
    International applicants, contact the Rinker Center for International Programs at 765-285-5422 or by e-mail ( 

  3. Does the Department of English offer conditional admission for non-native speakers of English?

    No, the Department of English requires non-native speakers of English to submit program-appropriate TOEFL scores (minimum 79 PBT or equivalent for MA applicants and minimum 81 PBT for doctoral applicants).

  4. Before I formally submit my materials, can the Director of Graduate Studies in English review my application materials and let me know how to improve my chances for admission?

    No. Applications are reviewed by discipline-specific faculty committees and the Director of Graduate Studies does not serve on these individual committees.

Please contact us if you have any questions.