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:

Statement of Interest

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?

Resume or Curriculum Vita

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. 

Letters of Recommendation

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.


Applicants are asked to provide 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:

Writing Samples

  • 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 Global Communication & Applied Translation: 2 academic writing samples, 2-3 pages in length, one in English and one in your other language of highest proficiency from which or into which you intend to translate.

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

GRE Standardized Test Requirements

Applicants applying to the Ph.D. or M.A. for fall 2023 do not have to submit GRE scores.

IELTS/ TOEFL Standardized Test Requirements

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)

For students applying to the M.A. in Global Communication & Applied Translation Program:

Students must have advanced high level proficiency in the target language/s they wish to translate into their native language.  This proficiency level is determined in accordance with the guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, here.

Applicants will be required to submit TOEFL scores for nonnative speakers of English (minimum 25 on all subscores, for an overall minimum score of 100).

The Department of English does not waive IELTS or TOEFL scores for applicants who have previous academic work in the U.S. or at an English speaking institution.