Carnegie Mellon University

Application Requirements

Applications for graduate programs are accepted online. Applicants will create a User ID and password allowing them access the application as often as needed to complete the process.  The application website includes detailed instructions for entering data and uploading documents. Along with basic information entered directly into the system, graduate program applicants will need the following:

If you are applying to the M.A. in Global Communication & Applied Translation, you can view the application requirements here


The statement of Interest should include 1000 words that describe the applicant's reasons for pursuing graduate studies, educational and professional objectives, and any other information that may aid the CMU English admission decision. Applicants are asked to please include full name on each page of the statement.

For those applying for a Masters or Ph.D. in Literary and Cultural Studies:

  • Please identify the proposed field(s) of study and any subfield(s) that would enhance study.  For example, the statement could address interests in Early Modern British literature and culture, with subfields in gender and sexuality studies.

  • Please narrate preparation for the proposed field(s) and subfield(s) of study.  This narrative might include coursework, seminar papers, theses, conference experiences, etc.

  • Describe how the program supports the proposed course of study; what strengths speak to these interests? With which faculty does the applicant envision working?

For those applying for a Masters in Professional Writing:
  • Please provide a narrative of your academic background and preparation for study in Professional Writing, including coursework, thesis work, internships, research experience, extracurricular activities, and professional experience.
  • Please outline your general career interests, and describe how the MAPW program can support you in achieving your professional goals.

Applicants are asked to provide a current outline of education, research experience, work experience, publications, scholarships awarded, prizes and honors received, society memberships, and extracurricular activities. 

Telling your story is an essential component in working toward a fulfilling career path. Your story will be conveyed in many ways, both written and verbal, and is a great way to form a positive first impression to potential recruiters, graduate schools and other connections.

Resume Resources from the CMU Career & Professional Development Center

Applicants are asked to provide three (3) letters, at least two of which should be from faculty or recent employers who can attest to the quality of your academic and professional abilities. Letters are requested by you from within the online system; recommenders receive an email with detailed instructions for uploading a letter directly to the system. 

All letters are due by the application deadline. Please give faculty advance notice (3-4 weeks) for recommendation letters and provide all application deadlines at once. The more organized everyone is the better.

Applicants are asked to provide unofficial transcripts from any undergraduate or graduate institution attended. These documents should be uploaded with the application. If the department recommends an applicant be admitted, said applicant will then be asked to submit official transcripts. Only upon receipt of official transcripts will the admission be official.

Mail official transcripts to:
Carnegie Mellon University
Dept. of English, Graduate Programs
5000 Forbes Ave, Baker Hall 259
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Official electronic transcripts can be emailed to: 
Jen Loughran, Assistant Director of Graduate Programs

  • Ph.D. and M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies: 1 sample, no page limit, and double spaced
  • Ph.D. and M.A. in Rhetoric: 1 sample, 10 pages or less, and double spaced

  • M.A. in Professional Writing: 3-4 writing samples, no page limit, and double spaced

What do we look for in writing samples? 

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Make sure the writing sample matches your expressed field or subfield of interest. 
  • LCS and Rhetoric: Chose a writing sample that demonstrates your engagement with current academic discourse and scholarly research.
GRE scores are not required.

IELTS: CMU's Department of English requires a minimum score of 7.5 on each of the 4 subtests.


TOEFL: CMU's Department of English requires a minimum score of 27 on each of the 4 subtests, for an overall minimum score of 108, within two years of the date of application. Applicants will be asked to enter test dates and unofficial scores on the application, but they must also request direct mailing of official scores to Carnegie Mellon: Institution Code 2074. 

If applicants were educated in any country other than the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, or New Zealand, they must submit current TOEFL iBT or IELTS scores.  

In addition, any Ph.D. applicant who is a non-native English speaker must submit current TOEFL IBT or IELTS scores, where non-native English speakers are international or domestic students whose native language (first language/mother tongue) is not English. This can include:

  • Newly arrived international students
  • Students who attended all or part of high school or college in the U.S.
  • Students who attended an English speaking high school in another country
  • Students who are speakers of another variety of English (e.g. from India, Singapore, Hong Kong)


    We do not waive IELTS or TOEFL scores for applicants who have previous academic work in the U.S. or at an English speaking institution.