Application Checklist for Master of Arts in English

Truman’s Master of Arts in English program prepares a community of exceptional students, scholars, teachers, and creative writers for a lifetime of engagement with writing and literature.


In addition to fulfilling Truman’s general Graduate Programs: Admission Requirements, applicants to the Master’s program in English generally meet the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Hold an undergraduate degree in English or a related field AND/OR have completed a minimum of 20 semester credits in literature, writing, film, and/or other courses typically taught in English or related fields AND
  • Earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 on 4.0- scale or equivalent
  • Non-native English speaking graduate international applicants must demonstrate English language competency at or above IELTS 6.5 or an equivalent score on another acceptable test of English proficiency

Successful applicants demonstrate:

  • Clear written communication skills
  • Aptitude for close reading, critical textual analysis, and self-reflection
  • Attention to audience and nuances of expression
  • Ability to articulate personal, creative, scholarly, and professional goals related to the graduate degree they wish to pursue
  • Ability to articulate how Truman’s program will help them meet their goals
  • Ability to identify literary topics, creative projects, critical approaches, genres, forms, and/or cultural or historical contexts of interest to them

Individuals interested in applying for admission as a Non-Degree Seeking Graduate student will find the necessary information here.

Application Materials

An application will be reviewed  once all required materials are submitted as part of the online application. International students can find additional information here.

  1. Online application and $40 fee.
  2. A writing sample of approximately 20-25 pages, as described below:
      • contains examples of  sustained, thoughtful, and clear analytical writing of a literary or cultural text if your focus in the program will be on literary/textual study (sample may include one or two pieces) OR
      • contains examples of strong creative writing in your planned form(s) or genre(s), if you intend to pursue a creative thesis (sample may include one or multiple pieces) OR
      • contains shorter samples of both literary/textual criticism and creative writing not to exceed 25 pages total if you have interest in both literary/textual criticism and creative writing.
  3. A professional statement, sometimes referred to as a personal statement, (750 – 1000 words) that describes:
      • the scholarly, creative, and/or professional goals that you plan to pursue in Truman’s MA program in English
      • examples of research and/or creative projects that you have pursued in the past and/or hope to pursue in the future
      • the literary topics, critical approaches, genres, forms, and cultural or historical contexts that interest you
      • why Truman’s program is a good fit for your needs and interests. If you’re looking for ideas for your professional statement, check out these suggestions from Petersons for tips on how to write an effective statement.
  4. A resume or curriculum vita. If you’re not sure about the difference between these, you might want to consult this resource from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University for an overview and examples. If you have already crafted a resume that includes the kinds of preparation and experience graduate programs look for, it is fine to use that for your application. Otherwise, a CV emphasizing your academic qualifications and experiences is recommended.
  5. Two letters of recommendation from faculty or others acquainted with your scholarly work and qualified to comment upon your preparation for graduate study. When you create your profile for the online application, you will be asked to submit the contact information of your recommenders. They will then automatically receive a link with information on how to upload their letters to the system.
    • If you are applying to both the English MA and the MAE Secondary English programs: you may request letters from the same recommenders for both programs. Make sure to let your recommenders know what sorts of qualifications each program is looking for when evaluating applications. Alternatively, you may ask different individuals to write letters in support of your applications to each program.
    • If you plan to apply for Graduate Administrative Assistantships and/or Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantships: provide your recommenders with the job descriptions of the positions for which you are applying and ask them to address your qualifications. 
    • If you feel your application will be best supported by having a third recommendation letter, that is absolutely fine though not expected.
  6. Transcripts from all colleges and universities from which you earned college credit, including high school dual credit. If you are a currently enrolled Truman student, you do not need to upload your Truman transcript,  but please list Truman in the “Academic History” portion of your application.
  7. If you are interested in applying for a funded position as a Graduate Administrative Assistant (GAA) and/or a Graduate Teaching Research Assistant (GTRA), follow instructions at the link below to submit the appropriate materials along with your application for admission.


Sarah Mohler
Director of English Graduate Studies