M.A. English – Apply

How do I apply to the MA program?

Applicants must fill out an application via the Cal State Apply interface, available here: https://www.calstate.edu/apply

NOTE: In addition to the materials that the Cal State Apply system requires, you must also submit the following required materials:

  • Personal statement: In your personal statement, we encourage you to reflect on what has led you to considering the Master of Arts in English at Cal Poly, as well as where you imagine the Master's will lead you. Applicants should describe their particular interest within the field of English studies and what they hope to achieve within and beyond the program. Personal statements should run approximately 500 words in length.
  • Scholarly writing sample: Applicants are encouraged to submit a schoarly essay from their undergraduate English coursework. Applicants who did not major in English are welcome to submit an example of their scholarly writing from another, promixate discipline. The graduate committee reviews these writing samples in order to determine your ability to meet the demands of graduate-level coursework, which often consists of conducting research and writing high-quality seminar papers that can range anywhere from ten to twenty pages in length.
  • At least two (2) letters of recommendation: Applicants typically submit letters from professors with whom they have had a close working relationship. However, we have also received and accepted applications containing letters from other kinds of mentors (e.g. coaches, supervisors, etc). Like the writing sample, the graduate committee uses the letters to determine your ability to meet the requirements of graduate-level study, which range from regular classroom attendance and active participation in seminar discussions to the ability to work independently and manage deadlines.

Applicants who do not include these materials cannot be considered for admission to the program.

Do I need to submit GRE scores?

No. Neither Cal State Apply nor the department requires that you submit GRE scores for admission to the English MA program.

I did not earn an undergraduate degree in English. Can I still apply to your program? 

Yes. While most applicants to our program have a BA in English, we have accepted applicants with a degree in a closely related field. In such cases it is crucial that applicants utilize their personal statements, letters of recommendation, and writing samples to showcase their ability to succeed in an English Studies MA program. 

I earned my BA from Cal Poly. Do I need to request official transcripts?

A: No. The Admissions Office will pull your transcript from PolyProfile. If you have attended another program after graduating from Cal Poly, then you will likely need to submit those transcripts. 

When is the application deadline?

There are multiple deadlines throughout the academic year. When you wish to start in the program will determine when you must submit your application. 

  • Applications are due on April 1 to begin in the Fall quarter.
  • Applications are due on November 1 to begin in the Winter quarter.
  • Applications are due on February 1 to begin in the Spring quarter.

Typically, most students apply to begin the MA program in the Fall quarter (April 1 deadline). 

I am an international applicant. Are these deadlines the same for me?

Yes. Currently, the deadlines are the same for international applicants as they are for domestic applicants. However, the process for acquiring a VISA once you have been accepted often takes longer than one might expect. In addition, applicants should keep in mind that the English department does NOT offer graduate courses over the summer, which could adversely affect international students depending on what quarter they begin in the program. For those reasons, we strongly encourage international applicants to apply for Fall admission, as this will allow the most time to secure the necessary VISA.  

International applicants should contact the international center for more information regarding VISA requirements: https://international.calpoly.edu/international-students-and-scholars/

How does the department make its admission decisions? 

The decision-making process begins with the English department graduate committee, which consists of the graduate coordinator plus 4-6 faculty members who teach regularly in the graduate program. After the application deadline closes each quarter, committee members review only complete applications, paying close attention to the personal statement, writing sample, and letters of recommendation. After this review, each member of the committee passes on their recommendation to the graduate coordinator. Based on this feedback the graduate coordinator determines which applications to accept and which to decline. After taking all those factors into account, the graduate coordinator forwards the decisions on to the Graduate Education Office and the Admissions Office. Final determinations and official notification of admission to the program will come from Cal Poly’s Admissions Office.

Additional Questions

If you have additional questions, then please reach out to the graduate coordinator: rahatch@calpoly.edu


Related Content