Graduate Programs

Graduate School Admissions

Information about the graduate school application process for nondegree, certificate, MA, and PhD students can be found on the ECU Graduate School website.  All applications must be submitted through the Graduate School's website.

For more information about the application process, read the FAQs, send an e-mail to, or call (252) 328-6660.

Applicants seeking admission to a certificate program must hold a BA, BS, or an equivalent degree from an accredited college or university.

To apply for the Certificate in Professional Communication, Multicultural and Transnational Literatures, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), or Teaching English in the Two-Year College, you must apply through the Graduate School website as a certificate student.  To apply as a certificate student, you need to submit an online application form, the $75 application fee, a statement of purpose, and all transcripts.  (If you are applying for the TESOL Certificate and are a non-native speaker of English, you are also required to submit a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 or higher.)

The dates below are deadlines for receipt of the application materials by the Graduate School.  Early application is encouraged.

Session Deadline
Fall Rolling until July 31st
Spring Rolling until November 30th
Session Deadline
Summer Session I Rolling until May 5th
Summer Session II Rolling until June 15th

If you originally apply as a non-degree student, you must reapply as a certificate student before you have completed 9 s.h. of coursework.  Only 9 s.h. hours of coursework taken as a non-degree student can be transferred to a certificate or MA program.

While the graduate certificate can be a pathway to a Master's Degree at ECU, completion of the certificate does not guarantee admission into a graduate degree program.  Application to the MA program must be made separately.  Credit earned as part of a graduate certificate program may be transferred into a degree program with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.  A maximum of 9 non-degree s.h. can be applied toward a graduate degree.

Please follow up on your application if you haven't heard anything within a month or so after submitting it.  For more information, check out the MA degree admissions procedures and the FAQs.  If you have question, please contact the graduate office at 252-328-6660 or

Applications for the MA in English degree program include a completed application form, official transcripts of all prior academic work, letters of recommendation, appropriate standardized test scores (the English Department accepts either the GRE or MAT), statement of purpose, a portfolio (Creative Writing concentration only), and a $75 application fee.

GRE/MAT Waivers:
We will waive the GRE/MAT requirement in the following circumstances, but you must request the waiver from and specify which condition applies to you:

  • Applicants who have graduated or will graduate from the ECU Honors College.
  • Applicants who have earned a 3.3 or better overall undergraduate GPA with a 3.5 or better GPA in English coursework (minimum 15 hours) at any accredited university.
  • Applicants who have earned a 3.5 or better GPA in ENGL graduate coursework (minimum 9 hours) at East Carolina University.
  • Applicants who have earned a previous master’s degree from an accredited university (based on transcripts submitted to the ECU Graduate School with your application).

Creative Writing Portfolio:
Students seeking a concentration in Creative Writing MUST SUBMIT a portfolio of original creative writing in one genre.  Depending on which genre you plan to study, your portfolio should be ten poems, 20–30 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction (preferably two different pieces), or 20–30 pages from a play or screenplay.  Please provide your portfolio in one document including your full name, mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number, and specify the genre for which you are applying.  Include a brief letter of application with your portfolio.  Please e-mail your portfolio to Timothy Putnam, Graduate Studies Assistant,

How To Apply:
Applications must be submitted through the Graduate School web site.

The dates below are deadlines for receipt of the application materials by the Graduate School.  These deadlines apply only to our department's graduate certificate and MA admissions, not our PhD or other departments.  Early application is encouraged, particularly if students are interested in applying for a graduate assistantship.

Session Deadline
Fall Rolling until July 31st
Spring Rolling until November 30th
Session Deadline
Summer Session I Rolling until May 5th
Summer Session II Rolling until June 15th

Students seeking admission beginning Fall semester and requesting an assistantship are encouraged to apply by April 1st to ensure that you are considered for funding.  Students seeking admission beginning Spring semester and requesting an assistantship should apply by October 1st.

Also, see the list of FAQs for more information about applying to the MA in English program.

See the PhD Program website for information about the application process. Applications received by January 15 will be considered for tuition remission, assistantship funding, and health insurance coverage. Applications received after January 15 and by May 1 will be considered for admission with or without funding (depending on the budget).

The non-degree student classification is a temporary graduate classification.  It may be used by those who need course credit for a post baccalaureate certificate or teacher licensure, who have expectations of enrolling in a degree or certificate of advanced study program, or by those who desire professional or personal enrichment.

The online course offerings are primarily for our certificate and degree students.  If you would like to register for online courses, then consider applying for one of the certificates programs.  Our online course offerings fill up very quickly.

If you apply as a nondegree student and decide you want to earn a certificate or MA degree, then you must reapply through the Graduate School to the appropriate program; please note that you must apply for admission to your desired program before you have completed 9 semester hours of coursework.  Only 9 s.h. taken as a nondegree student can be applied toward a degree program.

Those wishing to be admitted as a nondegree student should submit a nondegree application online with the application fee and an official transcript showing a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.