Advice on Applying to the Joint MA Program

Applicants to our program apply through either The Citadel Graduate College or the the University of Charleston, South Carolina and are admitted to the program through the school to which they apply, and this institution is known as their “home institution.” Admissions requirements can be found here.

Those who are applying for admission as degree-seeking students, among other things, will submitt letters of recommendation, a statement of intent or purpose for graduate study in English, and a writing sample.

Letters of Recommendation

Recommenders should speak with clarity and specificity about the candidate’s preparation for graduate study in English, both in terms of academic training and skills in analysis, research, and writing, but also in terms of character. While letters from recent employers may be useful in our decision, letters from prior college teachers, especially teachers in upper-division English classes, are preferred. Very good advice for how to ask for and help your recommenders produce the most effective letters can be found in Leonard Cassuto’s column for theĀ Chronicle of Higher Education.

Statement of Educational Goals and Interest

Also known as a statement of intent or purpose, this document is key in our decision making. The best statements of intent demonstrate the candidate’s awareness of the nature of graduate study in English in general and of our program in particular. We like to see compelling reasons for the candidate’s desire to pursue a graduate program in English and an articulation between the candidate’s personal goals and what our program can offer. Please see “Strategies and Structures for the Graduate School Statement of Intent” by our own Professor Anton Vander Zee for guidance on how to prepare your statement.

Writing Sample

As with your letters of recommendation and statement of intent, your writing sample, above all, must demonstrate your preparation and readiness for graduate study in English. In our catalogs, we indicate that writing samples typically are “a research paper prepared for an advanced undergraduate English course.” In many cases, these are effective samples, but please ensure that whatever you submit, it demonstrates not only a facility with literary or textual analysis but also with the intergration of secondary research. Please revise, edit, and proofread any potential writing sample to make sure that you submit the best possible work as testimony to your preparedness for the work ahead.

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