Components of the Application:

  • A personal statement. (A form is included in our application packet.)  Please let us know about your teaching experience, editing experience, writing experience, approach to writing, and/or anything else you think relevant.
  • A recent resumé or CV showcasing relevant teaching experience.
  • A 10-page sample of your own writing (and cover sheet, included in application packet).  If you have only longer articles, please cut them.  If you are submitting an excerpted sample, please include your introduction and a coherent section. Attach to your sample our cover sheet, which asks you to reflect on and evaluate your own work (form included in the application packet).  To preserve the anonymity of this portion of your application, please remove your name from both the sample and the cover sheet.
  • comment on a student paper. The student paper is included in our application packet (see top of page). Please take no more than one hour to write your comments.
  • A letter of recommendation from someone familiar with your teaching or your potential as a teacher. We ask letter writers to send recommendations by email to writing-program@uchicago.edu.

All interviews will be handled remotely via Zoom.


What we look for

In general: We’re not interested in technical knowledge about language or composition. It’s no great advantage to have taken any of our courses. We’re more interested in how you approach the task of teaching academic writing.

With regard to the paper comment: We’ll ask you to pretend you’re writing to the author of the paper, NOT to us. We’re interested in how you engage with the writer, and the way you use the paper comment as an opportunity to teach the writer something about writing. We are NOT asking you to copy-edit the paper.

With regard to the writing sample: We’d like to see a ten-page (double spaced) sample of expository prose directed toward an academic or professional audience. If your available writing samples are longer than ten pages, please select a section that includes the introduction.

With regard to the letter of recommendation: It’s less important to get a letter from someone who can speak to the quality of your scholarly work than it is to get a letter evaluating the way you interact in a classroom. If you have no previous teaching experience, ask someone who has seen you participate in a class, seminar, or workshop. The letter does not have to be from a member of the University of Chicago faculty, so if you have teaching experience at another institution, a letter from a faculty member there may be best. You may optionally submit a second letter of recommendation if you wish to supplement your application (for example, if the person best qualified to speak to your teaching is from a non-academic job); however, it is NOT necessary and will not necessarily help your chances.