Writing Sample

A writing sample is required for all programs. Some programs may have specific requirements when submitting a sample; please check the department’s website for further information.

The writing sample is not a paper written specifically for your application but a written work submitted for either a grade or publication. The preferred paper to submit is one closely related to the field of study you wish to pursue in the Division. Departments prefer single-author papers, and should you submit an item with a collaborative work, all writers’ names should be included with your name highlighted, along with a memo explaining your contribution to the work.

PhD programs strongly prefer a singular writing sample. MA programs also prefer a singular, cohesive work; however, they will accept two shorter argumentative papers.

The writing sample must be in English. Multiple writing samples must be combined into a single pdf before upload.

The writing sample should be 20 to 30 pages for PhD programs, or 15 to 20 pages for MA programs, excluding bibliography or appendices. Writing samples longer than 30 pages are read only at the discretion of the departmental review committee. Applicants who would like to submit longer samples such as an M.A. thesis are strongly encouraged to provide an excerpt shorter than 30 pages, and which includes a one-page coversheet contextualizing the excerpt within the larger body of work.

We do not set a requirement for formatting or font; however, applicants are encouraged to use one of the common academic formatting styles in their field (APA, Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, etc.).