About the Admissions Process

Please note that the Department of English’s Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature program (post code 1087) has a different set of requirements and admissions process.

The following instructions apply to the Ph.D. in Literature program (post code 382).

  • The online application portal will begin accepting applications for admission in September. Applications are due December 1 for entrance in the fall. Applicants who wish to compete for university-wide Provost’s fellowships (including diversity fellowships) or College fellowships must have their applications fully complete by December 1.

    For more information on Provost’s and Provost’s Diversity Fellowships, see http://graduateschool.usc.edu/fellowships/.

  • One online application is sufficient to be considered at both the university and departmental levels for admissions and fellowships. Please upload all application materials electronically onto the USC system through the USC Graduate Admission application at https://gradadm.usc.edu/apply/.

    If you have any questions regarding the program, deadline, or supplemental materials, visit the Ph.D. in Literature program’s Frequently Asked Questions page under “Admissions.”

    If you don’t find the answer to your question, please contact the graduate coordinator at the Department of English:

    Jeanne Weiss, Graduate Coordinator
    Department of English, University of Southern California
    3501 Trousdale Parkway, Taper Hall 404
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354
    Phone: (213) 740-3728
    Fax: (213) 741-0377
    Email: jeannew@usc.edu


    If you have specific questions about the online application process, please visit the Office of Graduate Admission’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

  • The following items should be included in the application you submit online to USC’s Graduate Admissions; the English department’s admissions committee will access them online. Please upload them as individual PDF documents under “Program materials.”

    • Unofficial transcript copies of all undergraduate and graduate work, both completed and attempted
    • Your personal statement (statement of purpose) that is no longer than three pages in length
    • One or two writing samples totaling no more than 20 pages
    • CV
    • Optional: statement about diversity, inclusion, and access (no longer than one page)*
    • Three letters of recommendation**

    The GRE is not required.

    *Optional statement about diversity, inclusion, and access: Diversity presents itself in many different forms, and it is our goal to cultivate an environment that values diverse backgrounds, approaches, and perspectives. Feel free to provide a statement (no more than one page) about how your perspective may contribute to the synergy of a diverse learning community.

    **Letters of Recommendation: Upon submitting your online application, an email is sent directly to each individual you have listed to write a letter of recommendation. Specific instructions are given in the email about how to upload each letter of recommendation.

  • Evidence of rigorous and original work as an undergraduate or master’s student and a considered personal statement (statement of purpose) are as important for admission to USC’s Ph.D. program in English as high grades. You are encouraged to make yourself familiar with the program and faculty resources in the Department of English at USC (https://dornsife.usc.edu/engl) and to mention briefly in your personal statement how the program fits your interests.

    The writing sample(s) should give a sense of your range of interests and critical strategies. Your letters of recommendation should include at least two from professors who have taught you in English courses or courses in closely related fields. If you decide to provide the optional statement about diversity, inclusion, and access, focus on how your personal perspective may contribute to the synergy of a diverse learning community.

Contact Details

USC Department of English

3501 Trousdale Parkway
Taper Hall of Humanities 404
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354

Office Hours

Stay Up-to-Date