Graduate FAQ

Admissions/Application Information

How do I apply to the PhD program?

Please see our Graduate Admissions page.

Are the GRE and GRE subject tests required to apply?

Yes, both test scores are mandatory for all applications.

What is a competitive GRE score?

We do not seek a certain GRE or GRE subject test score for any application. Rather, we focus more heavily on the statement of purpose, writing sample, and letters of recommendation during our admissions decisions.

What if I cannot take the GRE subject test before the application deadline?

You may submit your application without these scores, however you must produce the test scores before an offer of admission is made.

What is the application review process?

Once the application deadline has passed, faculty begin reviewing applicants. Rather than having a small subset of faculty to serve as our Admissions Committee, we are unique in that all faculty review the applications. Faculty then arrange a time to all meet together to discuss the applications and determine which applicants move forward in the process. Acceptance letters are typically sent out some time in mid-February.

May I come for an interview?

Interviews are offered after one is accepted to the program. It is possible to come visit the English department and talk to the graduate coordinator and spend some time with a current graduate student. If the Director of Graduate Studies is available, a short meeting may be possible.

Program Information

What fields of study are available?

Because we are a small program we encourage a range of interdisciplinary work. Our faculty have a wide scope of interests, which can be viewed on our faculty page. You may also review current research interests of our graduate students on our graduate student page.

Who will my adviser be?

The Director of Graduate Studies is the adviser for the first three years. During the third year, students will decide on a field and an adviser who becomes their dissertation director. The choice of a director grows out of conversations with faculty, and there’s usually no single right choice, even in a small department like ours.

Do you offer graduate housing?

No, most graduate students live in apartments in the surrounding neighborhoods, such as Charles Village and Hampden. Please see the Off-Campus Housing Office website for assistance.

What does fully funded mean?

It means that a graduate student currently receives five years of tuition remission and an annual stipend for living expenses as long as the student is in good standing within the department.

Is funding available beyond the fifth year?

In January of the fifth year, students may apply for funding and teaching for the sixth year; in January of the sixth year, students may apply for funding and teaching for the seventh year. This funding is not guaranteed.

Are there opportunities to teach during the PhD program?

Yes, three of the five years are teaching years. The second year is a teaching assistant year, and the third and fifth years are Expository Writing Program years. One also has the opportunity to propose one’s own English courses in the later years of one’s program.

What is the Expository Writing Program?

This is the freshman academic writing program. Many of the sections are staffed by English graduate students who design their own topic-based courses in the third and fifth years of the program. Visit the EWP website.

What sort of assistance will there be with finding a job? How have Hopkins graduates fared on the job market in recent years?

We offer guidance for placement in university-level teaching positions and a dossier service. Job materials (application letter, CV, abstract, letters of recommendation) are reviewed by the placement officer before being mailed out. Mock interviews are offered. Please see our Job Placement page for more information.

I have only studied one foreign language. Would I have to study another?

We require that you pass one or two translation exams before you take your orals. Graduate students must pass at least one translation exam at the level of fluency, or two at the level of competency. It is possible to take language courses here at Hopkins or, with permission, during the summer at other institutions.

What kinds of evaluations are there during the PhD program?

Twice a year the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) writes a letter of evaluation to each student in years 1-3. The DGS writes once a year to each student in the fourth year and beyond, highlighting the adviser’s annual evaluation of the progress on the dissertation.

When does a graduate student take oral exams?

They are normally scheduled in the middle of the third year. All graduate seminars and both language exams must be completed before orals can be taken. Reading lists are set for each field and each grad student meets with the chair of the examining committee (composed of three faculty members) to go over the list. Each student will be examined in two fields.

Still have questions? Please contact:

Tracy Glink, Senior Academic Program Coordinator