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With more than one hundred M.A. and Ph.D students and about 500 undergraduates, we are one of the largest and most diverse departments on the Columbia campus. We offer a wide range of courses in British and American Literature and Creative Writing, as well as special emphases in African Diaspora Studies, Critical Theory, English Language and Linguistics, Folklore and Oral Tradition, and Rhetoric and Composition.

Degrees Offered

Master of Arts in English

On Campus

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: January 1

  • Minimum GRE score: not set
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 overall, higher in courses in major
  • Majored in English as an undergraduate, with at least 18 hours in upper division courses in literature or linguistics. Students with other undergraduate majors may be admitted provided their background in English studies is suitable and provided they complete an appropriate course of preliminary study. Promising students who do not meet one or more of these criteria may at the discretion of the director of graduate studies be encouraged to enroll as non-degree graduate students.

Minimum English Proficiency Requirements

Test TypeTotal ScoreReadingListeningSpeakingWriting
TOEFL Internet -based8017171717
TOEFL Paper-based5505252N/A52
IELTS Academic6.56666

Required Application Materials

For the Office of Graduate Studies

  • Completed Graduate Studies online application
  • Unofficial Transcripts- As part of the application submission process, all applicants are required to upload unofficial copies of all post-secondary transcripts to the online application. Official transcripts are only required if accepted by the academic program.
  • Official Results of English Proficiency Exams (International applicants only)

For the English Program (go to website for details)

  • GRE scores. The general test is required.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be academic.
  • One transcript from all colleges or universities you have attended.
  • CV
  • Statement of purpose (approximately 500 words): The admissions committee is interested in your past academic interests, including specific papers and projects you have worked on, and what you wish to accomplish as a graduate student. Please explain why you wish to pursue a particular emphasis (poetry, Romanticism, etc.), in this department. The Statement of Purpose serves as your request to be considered for a Graduate School fellowship.
  • Writing Sample: One 15-20 page scholarly paper for students applying for Literature Studies or for English Language and Linguistics. Creative Writing applicants should submit one critical/scholarly paper and one of the following: a sample of your fiction (15-30 pages), creative non-fiction (15-20 pages), or poetry (15-20 pages).

Doctorate in English

On Campus

Admission criteria

Fall deadline: January 1

  • Minimum GRE score: not set
  • MA in English or its equivalent

Minimum English Proficiency Requirements

Test TypeTotal ScoreReadingListeningSpeakingWriting
TOEFL Internet -based8017171717
TOEFL Paper-based5505252N/A52
IELTS Academic6.56666

Required Application Materials

For the Office of Graduate Studies

  • Completed Graduate Studies online application
  • Unofficial Transcripts- As part of the application submission process, all applicants are required to upload unofficial copies of all post-secondary transcripts to the online application. Official transcripts are only required if accepted by the academic program.
  • Official Results of English Proficiency Exams (International applicants only)

For the English Program (go to website for details)

  • GRE scores. The general test is required.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be academic.
  • One transcript from all colleges or universities you have attended.
  • CV
  • List of any previous graduate classes taken
  • Statement of purpose (approximately 500 words): The admissions committee is interested in your past academic interests, including specific papers and projects you have worked on, and what you wish to accomplish as a graduate student. Please explain why you wish to pursue a particular emphasis (poetry, Romanticism, etc.), in this department. The Statement of Purpose serves as your request to be considered for a Graduate School fellowship.
  • Writing Sample: One 15-20 page scholarly paper for students applying for Literature Studies or for English Language and Linguistics. Creative Writing applicants should submit one critical/scholarly paper and one of the following: a sample of your fiction (15-30 pages), creative non-fiction (15-20 pages), or poetry (15-20 pages).

 

Linguistics Minor

On Campus

Linguistics is the study of human language. It seeks to understand and explain the social, psychological, and structural properties of human language in a clear and formal manner. Although specialists often know more than one language, such knowledge is complementary rather than essential.

Graduate degrees are not offered, but a Graduate Minor in Linguistics can be taken. MA and PhD degree programs with emphasis in linguistics and language are available in some cooperating departments.

The linguistics area program is staffed by faculty from various departments. Supporting course work may include foreign language, literature, psychology, philosophy, English, education, speech, anthropology or South Asian studies.

Financial aid, when available, is arranged through the participating departments.

Linguistics Website