Frequently Asked Questions (Graduate Program)


English Graduate Program

Can you tell me about your program?

We offer two degrees; the MA in English and the MFA in Creative Writing.  Both programs are two-years, 32 credit hours, including 6 hours of thesis writing.  All graduate candidates are required to take English 600, Introduction to Graduate Studies, and a graduate-level theory course: English 630 for MA candidates, English 613 for MA Rhetoric candidates, and English 617 for MFA candidates.  All other courses are decided upon in consultation with a graduate advisor.  MA candidates may include two graduate courses outside of the department offerings, and MFA candidates may include one.  MFA candidates are required to complete two literature courses as part of their programs of study.

Our program is one of the most affordable in the nation.  All accepted applicants are automatically awarded three semesters of a small tuition benefit with the fourth semester added if the prospectus is filed on time.  Additionally, upon admission candidates’ names are given to University Writing who will offer the opportunity to apply/interview to teach Freshman Composition.  The salary for these courses is about $3400 and graduate students may teach one course their first semester and two each following semester.  And finally, throughout the academic year faculty propose opportunities for teaching and research mentorships.  These are awarded on a competitive basis and are generally for 12 hours per week with a stipend of $4000.

What are the prerequisites for the English MA/MFA programs?

An undergraduate degree in English or its equivalent is preferred.  Applicants should have completed a course each in Early (pre 1660) and Late British Literature, a course in American Literature, and a course in Advanced Critical Theory (English 451 or 452.)  These courses may be taken from any accredited program.

Can I apply if I lack the prerequisites?

You may apply if you lack prerequisites. The lack of prerequisites may impact the admission committee’s decisions.

What is the formal writing sample?

This sample should show the admissions committee that you are capable of graduate-level research, primary and secondary sources, citations, bibliography, end/footnotes, etc.  The subject of the paper does not necessarily need to be related to an English topic.

What are the parameters of the creative portfolio?

The creative portfolio must be a single genre with the genre named; 20 pages double-spaced creative nonfiction or prose OR 10 pages of poetry. Candidates must not exceed the stated limits.

How many letters of recommendation are required and must they be academic?

The application requires three letters of recommendation.  Academic recommendations are preferred; however, if that is not possible be sure that recommenders speak to those skills which would qualify the candidate for graduate study; i.e. self-starter, takes criticism well, completes projects, creative thinker, etc.

Should I take the general GRE or a subject exam?

Candidates should take the general GRE.  The Department of English does not look at the composite score, the quantitative score, or the writing sample score.  We only record the verbal score.

Can I work full time and still pursue a graduate degree?

You may certainly work full time and pursue a degree; however, it may take longer than the usual two years and you may have to take courses which do not necessarily fit your program of study.  The department strives to offer evening seminars throughout the year to help employed candidates complete their degrees, but such offerings are of necessity limited.