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School of Humanities

English Graduate Application

Thank you for your interest in the graduate program in English at The University of Southern Mississippi.  

Application Details

Please review our application deadlines, standards for admission, and an application checklist which will explain the materials you will need to submit along with your online application.

For questions about the graduate program in literature, please contact Dr.%20Joshua%20Bernstein, Director of Graduate Studies.

For questions about our creative writing program, please contact Dr.%20Adam%20Clay, Director of the Center for Writers.


Application Deadlines

If you want to be considered for funding (in other words, for a graduate assistantship), you should apply by the priority deadline. Please note that we no longer require the GRE for applications to the English graduate program. The English program offers competitive assistantships of $17,000 at the PhD level and $13,000 at the MA level.

Priority deadlines

February 1st for Fall admission

October 15th for Spring admission

Final deadlines

May 1st for Fall admission

November 30th for Spring admission

Note: the English graduate program does not accept applications for summer admission.



A limited number of assistantships are available for entering graduate students. As well as a full tuition waiver for the fall and spring semesters, assistantships also carry a stipend for the academic year. Teaching assistant assignments are twenty hours per week, and may include teaching freshman composition, tutoring in the Writing Center, assisting professors with their research, grading for World Literature classes or providing administrative support in the school office. Duties are assigned by the director of the school and are non-negotiable. Assistantships are awarded for one year, and are renewable (pending successful performance of duties both academic and assignment-related) for one additional year for masters candidates and two additional years for doctoral candidates. 

To apply for an assistantship please indicate on graduate school application. Funding decisions are made separately from admissions decisions, so you may well receive a letter of acceptance before you receive notification about funding. Additionally, the English program makes every effort to fund as many incoming graduate students as possible, and if alternate sources of funding become available after the initial round of funding offers has been made, we will contact students on the waiting list with revised offers. If you are not offered funding your first year, and are in good academic standing, you are welcome to apply for second-year funding.


Application Checklist

Only complete applications will be reviewed by the admissions committee. Please ensure that all of the following materials are uploaded to the Graduate School application server.

To download a printable .pdf detailing what is required to apply to the English graduate program, please click here.


Your official application must be submitted electronically. (Please note that applicants to the combined MA/PhD program in literature should apply to the doctoral program.) All applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee, which can be paid electronically by credit card when you submit your application, or which you can mail directly to the Office of Graduate admissions at the address below.


Have transcripts sent to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive #5024
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001

Please note that all transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended are required, not just the most recent transcripts. Please also inform the Graduate School if you have changed your name since you attended college, as transcripts which arrive under a maiden or other name may not be filed correctly and may significantly delay processing of your application. If you have further questions, please contact Graduate Admissions at 601-266-5137.

Applicants to the literature program should send 15-20 pages of substantial scholarly writing. Applicants to the creative writing program should send 15-20 pages of fiction or poetry. 
Please write a 350-750 word statement of purpose indicating your scholarly or creative goals for graduate study. Your statement should highlight your particular academic or creative interests and accomplishments and/or other relevant preparation. 
Your application must include three letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your ability to perform in an English graduate program. Preferably, these letters should come from university faculty who have significant knowledge of your ability and performance in the areas of English literature and/or creative writing (depending on which program you are applying to). When you fill out your online application, you will provide the names and email addresses of your three recommenders; they will be sent an email directing them how to submit their letters. Remember to tell your recommenders the date by which they need to submit their letters. Your application will not be complete and cannot be reviewed by the admissions committee until letters have been submitted by all three of your recommenders. 
If you have questions about the application process, please contact the Graduate School via its online contact form (follow the link on your online application under additional info.)
If you have specific questions about the English department graduate programs, please contact Dr. Joshua Bernstein ( for the literature program, or Dr. Adam Clay ( for the creative writing program.

International and Part-time Students

If you are an international student, please apply through International Student and Scholar Services.

If you are a secondary school teacher interested in taking a graduate course without joining our program, please view this information on Non-Degree Graduate Enrollment.

If you are interested in taking a graduate course in English but have not been admitted into the graduate program, you may take up to six hours (2 classes) as a non-degree seeking student. All non-degree classes require prior approval from the graduate coordinator, must be at the 500- or 600- level, and are subject to availability.

1. Meet with the English Coordinator of Graduate Studies to discuss your request and to review approved course options. (E-mail Dr. Joshua Bernstein or call 601-266-6524 for an appointment).

2. Submit proof of undergraduate degree and a $60 application fee to the Office of Graduate Studies, McCain Library 211. The Graduate School will register you for the approved course when registration opens for the next semester.


*Note that you must apply for re-admission if you return to the University after one or more semesters’ absence.
*We do not offer any graduate courses online at this time. 

Contact Us

School of Humanities

347 Liberal Arts Building (LAB)
118 College Dr. #5037
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

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