Admission Guidelines

All applications to the graduate program should be submitted online; supplemental materials should be sent directly to the English Department. The application includes:

  1. Application form (completed online)

  2. Application fee (can be paid online or by cheque; must be paid to complete application)

  3. Official transcript(s) (ELECTRONIC ONLY - all transcripts MUST be emailed directly to English Department for Fall 2022 admission consideration) 

    Official transcripts will be required upon possible admission.

  4. Two letters of recommendation with confidential reference form attached.  When you apply online, you have the option of having references submitted electronically. Signed hard copy reference letters can also be mailed directly to the Department by the referee directly. Emailed reference letters cannot be accepted.can be emailed directly to English Department for Fall 2022 consideration) 

  5. Prospective MA students: A 500-word Statement of Intent describing specific interests in the program to be pursued (mail or e-mail directly to the Department

    Prospective PhD students:
      A 500-word Statement of Intent describing the proposed area of thesis work (mail or e-mail directly to the Department


MA English Applicants

  • SSHRC CGS - M Online Application
    • this is the SSHRC application on the SSHRC website
  • Harmonized Scholarship Process (OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY ENCOURAGED)
  • SSHRC Applicants - Opt in - applicants can choose to use their CGS-M application in the Harmonized Scholarship Process by opting in through our FGS Scholarship Management Platform
  • Intended for newly-entering masters students who wish to be considered for other entrance-level awards

PhD English Applicants

MA and PhD applicants not applying to SSHRC but want to be considered for the Harmonized Scholarship Process:

Applicants currently enrolled in, or with an intent to apply for a thesis-based program of study: 

Monday, January 10, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. (AST).

Apply Now

Writing Samples: 

Please note that a formal writing sample (as distinct from the 500-word Statement of Intent) is NOT required of applicants to our MA or PhD programs. However, we reserve the right to ask for a sample of scholarly writing (normally a recent essay) when we receive an application from someone whose first language is not English, or who comes from a university whose grading system is unfamiliar to us.
Application files should be completed by January 31 to be considered for Fall admission. However, in order to be considered for all possible funding opportunities scholarships, we urge that your file be complete (all supporting documents listed above) by January 15.

Admission Requirements


For entry into a Master’s program with a thesis requirement, candidates must hold a four-year Bachelor’s degree with an honours, or the equivalent of honours standing, in the area in which graduate work is to be done or an area that is relevant to the graduate work. A four-year Bachelor’s degree may be considered equivalent to honours, if there is evidence of independent research capacity (such as a research project as part of a course) or if the degree is officially approved as an honours equivalent. Exceptional students who did not major in English may still be considered, but may have to do extra work beyond the BA, to ensure they are prepared for the discipline-specific rigours of English. Fourth-year seminar classes in English are good preparation for English graduate courses.

In reviewing applications, the Graduate Committee looks for a strong undergraduate record with an average of A- (3.7 GPA on the 4.3 scale) or higher in courses of the last two years, for a strong statement of scholarly interests and aims (the 500-word Statement of Intent), and for detailed letters from two academic referees who know the applicant’s work well.

To be eligible for admission to graduate work at Dalhousie, applicants who have English as a second language must show proof of proficiency as per the Faculty of Graduate Studies admission requirements; to make a successful application to the MA in English, fluency is required, and scores on English language proficiency tests should reflect this. Applicants from abroad whose first degrees are from a non-English-language university will need a first MA to apply to our MA program. Hence, applicants from abroad with an MA from a non-English-language university should apply to our MA rather than our PhD program. Applicants whose first language is not English should submit a writing sample in addition to the usual supporting documents. See the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) website for details.

The SSHRC CGS M deadline is DECEMBER 1 each year for funding for the following year. Please note that all SSHRC appliants MUST also apply using the online scholarship platform by DECEMBER 1, 2021.


Applicants must have an MA in English. Given that we admit a small number of PhD students each year, competition is stiff, and excellent candidates may not be admitted, particularly those for whom we cannot offer appropriate supervision. Applicants for the PhD program are thus advised to be especially careful to describe their areas of planned research.

Applicants for the MA and PhD are urged to apply for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) fellowship (Canadian Graduate Scholarships for the MA, SSHRC Doctoral Awards for the PhD) during the fall preceding admission and must do so to be considered for other external awards.

The SSHRC CGS D deadline is in October 1 each year for funding for the following year. Please note that all SSHRC appliants MUST also apply using the online scholsarship platform by October 1, 2021.

See the SSHRC website for details.