Apply to the M.A. English Program

Applications are accepted twice per year: in the Spring semester, for admission the following Fall; and in the Fall semester, for admission the following Spring.

Steps to Apply

Applying for admission to the Master of Arts Program in English (Literature option OR Rhetoric & Writing Studies option) requires two steps: University admission and the program admission. We also strongly recommend applying for financial aid and scholarships.

STEP 1 — University Admission

Those seeking admission to the M.A. English program should submit completed application forms - available online at Cal State Apply - to the University Admissions Office. The university will require transcripts and a $70 application fee.

International students may also need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. Please contact the International Office for current requirements for international students. 

STEP 2  — Program Admission

Admission to the M.A. English program assumes preparation equivalent to an undergraduate major in English or a related field in the liberal arts.

Students who do not already have a bachelor's degree in English will need to take 16 units of upper-division undergraduate preparation in order to attain classified standing and before being allowed to enroll in English graduate seminars.

These courses are prerequisites and will not count toward the 30 units of the M.A. Such students must successfully complete the following prerequisite courses:

  1. ENGL 105, Introduction to Literary Analysis
  2. British Literature: One of ENGL 146147150151152, or 156
  3. American Literature: One of ENGL 153154, or 155
  4. World Literature: One of ENGL 112113114, or 167

STEP 3  — Financial Aid and Scholarship Applications

In addition, students are strongly encouraged to fill out a general Scholarship Application for California State University, Fresno, as well as a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)Please note that the deadline for these applications is different (read: earlier) than the program application.

See our English Department scholarships page for more details and support.

Program Admission Requirements

Please contact Dr. John C. Beynon, graduate coordinator for the M.A. English Program, with any questions about course prerequisites, the admission writing sample, or other program admission requirements.

Course Prerequisites and the GRE

In lieu of meeting the above undergraduate course requirements for classified standing, students may take the Subject Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and submit a score above the 50th percentile.

A GRE score in literature is not required for admissions into the program, but is recommended for students intending to pursue a doctorate.

Classified Standing and the Admission Writing Sample

To achieve classified standing, both English and non-English majors must have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better in their major. International students must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

In addition, all candidates must submit a writing sample to the department's graduate committee, whose approval is necessary for admission to the program. This writing sample is due to the department by April 1 for admission the following fall semester, or by October 15 for admission the following spring.

Admission Writing Sample Guidelines

The admission writing sample should be devoted to a sustained analysis (8-12 pages in length) of a text or related texts; it should demonstrate comprehensibility in exposition, clear and logical organization and presentation of ideas, and should establish a sound scholarly argument with thorough and complete documentation. The critical analysis should be modeled on MLA style guidelines and will reflect a knowledge and awareness of contemporary analytical theory in literary studies.

The writing sample will be submitted via Cal State Apply.

Admission Writing Sample Evaluation

The admission writing sample will be evaluated by members of the English Department to determine whether the applicant is denied entry into the M.A. program or admitted under either Classified or Conditionally Classified standing.

After completing suggested coursework and obtaining no less than a B in such course(s), those admitted under Conditionally Classified Standing will be given one opportunity to submit one additional revised or new writing sample for review. If the second writing sample is not approved, the candidate will not be admitted into the program.

Statement of Purpose and Letters of Recommendation

Candidates must also submit three (3) letters of recommendation and a Statement of Purpose. These will be submitted via Cal State Apply.

The Statement of Purpose should include information about who the candidate is, why they are applying, why they are a good candidate for this program, and what they plan to do with their M.A. in English.