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Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Department of English

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Graduate School Admissions

Information about the graduate school application process for nondegree, certificate, and degree-seeking MA & PhD students can be found on the ECU Graduate School website. You may begin your graduate application here.

For more information about the application process, read the FAQs, send an e-mail to or call (252) 328-6660. For specific categories of admissions, use the links below.

Certificate Programs

MA in English Program

PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication

Nondegree Status

Certificate Admission

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, TESOL, or Teaching English in the Two-Year College, you must apply through the Graduate School as a certificate student. 

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.

To apply as a certificate student, you need to submit an online application form, the 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.) 

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. 

While the graduate certificate can be a pathway to a Masters 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. If all certificate credits are to count towards a graduate degree at ECU, application to the degree program must be made before half of the certificate hours (6 s.h.) have been completed. 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


MA Degree Application Process

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 dept accepts either the GRE or MAT), statement of purpose, and an application fee.

Students seeking a concentration in Creative Writing must submit a portfolio of poems, short stories, or essays to the Creative Writing faculty prior to admission to the concentration.  Applicants should select from one of the following genres: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or playwriting.  Writing samples should be 15 pages for poetry and about 25 pages for the other genres. Portfolios may be submitted electronically to Amber Flora Thomas ( and to the English Graduate Studies Office at

Applications are submitted at the Graduate School web site. Further information is available by telephoning the Graduate School at 252-328-6012.

The dates below are deadlines for receipt of the application form by the Graduate School. Early application is encouraged, particularly if students are interested in applying for a graduate assistantship. Students are encouraged to inquire about individual programs as early as possible since some programs have earlier deadlines and review applications only at fixed times during the year.






May 1

First Summer

March 1


October 15

Second Summer

April 1

Students seeking admission beginning fall semester and requesting an assistantship should apply by March 15th.  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.


PhD Application Process

See the PhD Program website for information about the application process. The deadline for Fall admission is January 15.


Nondegree Admission

The nondegree 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, 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.