English Department

Handbook for Graduate Students in English


Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Grants

Every year Graduate Assistantships are awarded to outstanding students engaged in full-time study toward a Master's Degree in English. These awards take the form of a semester stipend (currently $3,480) and a nine-credit-hour tuition waiver for each semester in which an assistantship is held. Students granted assistantships at the beginning of their program are eligible to apply for a second year of support. In accordance with the regulations of the Graduate College, Graduate Assistants must be enrolled in at least nine hours of course work during each semester of the assistantship.

The duties of a Teaching Assistant in the English Department normally involve work in the Writing Center, a tutorial program designed to provide individual instruction in composition to students. Teaching Assistants will take ENG 506, Composition Theory, during the Fall semester of their first year, and ENG 507, Workshop in Teaching, during both their first and second years. Students awarded second-year assistantships may also be appointed to the Composition Staff where they will teach sections of ENG 090, 101, or 102. Sometimes Graduate Assistantships are awarded for other duties, such as editorial or research assistance.

Students may also receive Tuition Grants, renewable semester by semester or for the full academic year. In return for four or eight hours of tuition waiver, Tuition Grant recipients must give, respectively, six or ten hours per week of departmental service, as assigned by the department Chair in conjunction with the Graduate Director. Grant recipients may work as research and/or administrative assistants, or as assistants in the Writing Center or in sections of Freshman English taught by full-time faculty. Although ENG 506 and 507 are not required, they are strongly recommended for those assisting in expanded sections of Freshman English.

Those interested in applying for an Assistantship should write to the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English announcing their desire to be considered for an Assistantship and explaining their reasons for applying. The application deadline is February 1.

The minimum criteria for students applying for Assistantships and Tuition Grants include the following:

  1. Students who have taken graduate courses should have a gpa of 3.3 or higher.
  2. Students who have not taken graduate courses must have an undergraduate gpa of at least 3.0.
  3. Superior writing and speaking skills in English (fluent and idiomatic) are expected.
  4. Preference will be given to students with teaching or tutoring experience.
  5. Awards are made only to applicants admitted as regular students by the time the awards become effective.

The deadline for submission of a letter of intent or the application form indicating a desire to be considered for an assistantship is February 1. Application files must be completed by March 1.

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Andrews Foundation Research Awards

Each year, the English Department gives one or more cash awards of $1000.00 to students in the Masters Program (other than those in the creative writing concentration) to support the completion of their thesis. Students who wish to be considered for an award must submit to the Director of Graduate Studies a prospectus for their thesis projects with a cover letter announcing their intention to compete for an award. The prospectus should be no longer than five pages and should describe the thesis, offer a rationale for its undertaking, explain how the study or creative project relates to current activities in the relevant field, and specify any distinctive features of the project or resources it will utilize. Students should also submit one letter of recommendation from one of the three readers of their thesis. The prospectus will be read by the Graduate Subcommittee, which will also review each applicant's graduate record. Awards will be made on the basis of the probable quality of the completed thesis and on the likelihood of its being completed within a year of the receipt of the Award.

The annual deadline for submission of prospectuses is March 1. Awards will be announced a few weeks later.

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Scholarships for Creative Writers

Several tuition scholarships are currently available for creative writers. Samples of poems, fiction, or drama should be sent to Neal Chandler, Program Coordinator for Creative Writing. Additional tuition support is given to winners of the Creative Writing Contests (held in the fall and spring). Contests are open to all students, even those who receive graduate assistantships. Samples of poems, fiction or drama for this contest should be sent to the CSU Poetry Center at times announced during the year. The Leonard Trawick Creative Writing Fellowship is also available; contact the Graduate Director for further information.

Plain Dealer Awards for Excellence in Writing

Each year, in conjunction with The Plain Dealer, the department awards several cash prizes of $200.00 for Excellence in Writing. Essays or research papers nominated by instructors of graduate classes are eligible. For details, consult Professor Barbato.

Employment Possibilities

The department regularly receives announcements of full- or part-time jobs and internships, involving editing, tutoring or teaching, research, and so on, that may be of interest to graduate students. If you might be interested in such opportunities, leave your name with the Director of Graduate Studies.