Academic Policies


Graduate students need to maintain a 3.0 average, and Graduate School fellowship students need to maintain a 3.5 average. If a student falls below a 3.0 average, the student is put on probation for a semester until the 3.0 GPA is reestablished.


It may be tempting at certain times in an academic career to take the grade of "I" for courses when rushed for time or otherwise over committed. Resist this temptation whenever possible. After one year, changing a grade of "I" to another grade requires a letter of justification from the faculty member. Students with more than two grades of "I" on their record will lose "good standing" within the department and be placed on academic probation.

Good Standing and Probation

Students who take a regular schedule of courses, maintain a 3.0 average, meet the deadlines set by the department and the Graduate School for completion of requirements, and do not have other disciplinary proceedings against them will be considered in "good standing." Students must take their qualifying examination by the end of the second year and take their comprehensive examinations within four years to remain in good standing. In addition students must participate in the annual review by maintaining an accurate profile in the Online Assessment System and provide teaching and research narratives as well as up-to-date information on forms and examinations filed and completed by spring break in each year to remain in good standing. Students whose work consistently fails to meet the standards set by their advisers may lose good standing. In this case, the DGS will schedule a meeting with the student and her or his adviser to discuss the situation prior to placing the student on probation.

Students who are not in good standing at any point in the program will be considered on probation. These students will work with the DGS and with their advisers (if they have already chosen advisers) to rectify the situations that have led to probation.

Dismissal from Program

Graduate School policy states that a student will be dismissed from the PhD program after two semesters of a GPA under 3.0. Furthermore, a student in the English Department will be subject to dismissal after two years of failure to remain in "good standing." In extraordinary circumstances--when the presence of the student threatens the working of the department or the success of other students--a student on probation may be dismissed after 30 days, in which the student can try to work with the DGS and Graduate School to resolve problems. Appeals go first to the Director of Graduate Studies, who will meet with the student to determine if there is a mutually acceptable way for the student to continue in the program. If this is unsuccessful, the student may appeal to the Chair of the English Department. If this is unsuccessful the student should contact the Dean of the Graduate School. In all cases, dismissal from a graduate program in English can be ultimately appealed to the Graduate Faculty Senate.

Please see the Graduate School website for further details.

Time to Degree

The Graduate School allows five years from initial enrollment for students to take comprehensive examinations and five years after comprehensive examinations to complete the dissertation. See the Graduate School website for details. The department adheres to this policy. (See above for probation for students who do not take the comprehensive examinations by the end of their fourth year.)

The DGS (following Graduate Studies Committee policy) will only endorse a request for a one-year extension of time to degree.

English 8010

English 8010 (Theory and Practice of Composition) is a required course for all entering MA/PhD and PhD students who plan to teach English 1000 at Missouri and have not taken an equivalent course at another institution. The design of 8010 also reflects the understanding that students on the job market will need to show an informed background in current pedagogy to potential employers. As a seminar, 8010 enables students with a wide range of disciplinary interests and experience to participate in critical discussion not only of the best current practices in writing instruction but of the local features and traditions of writing instruction at MU. The course will help to prepare students to design both their own versions of English 1000 and courses in their chosen professional fields.

English 8095

Catalog description: English 8095 (Problems): Individual work not leading to preparation of dissertation.

All English 8095 courses require prior approval by the Director of Graduate Studies and thus require advanced planning on the part of students. Early in the semester before the course is to be taken, the student should discuss the course with the faculty member who will supervise it. The student should then compose a description and justification of the course. The supervising faculty member should indicate approval of the course description and willingness to supervise the work in a written memo to the Director of Graduate Studies. This written material must be submitted by the tenth week of the semester preceding the semester in which the course will be taken.

English 8095 does not count toward the 15-hour (MA) or 18-hour (PhD) 8000-level requirement for graduate degrees in English. Students should also note that only one 8095 will count for credit toward their degree.

The Director will verify that the proposed course does not duplicate existing courses and that the kind and amount of work involved is appropriate for the 8000-level and for the amount of credit indicated. Therefore, in composing the course description, the student should 1.) explain why the course is necessary and 2.) indicate the course goals, the work to be done (including a list of readings and written assignments), and a schedule for completing that work. The faculty supervisor will be the best source of help in preparing the description.

In order for to receive consent for English 8095, students must submit an approved copy of the course proposal to Victoria Thorp. Further questions may be addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies.