Assistantships, Fellowships, and Benefits
Most students offered admission to any of our programs – MA, MA/PhD, or PhD – will be offered an assistantship package that provides tuition benefits plus a stipend for teaching in the English Department. In addition to departmental support, the Graduate School offers a resource on the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of Graduate Assistants that should be consulted.
Incoming MA students in the English Department who are not self-funded can expect two years of support. Incoming PhD students can expect 5 years of support. Incoming MA/PhD students can expect 7 years of support (2 in the MA program and 5 in the PhD program).
The Writing Center Fellowship is a 10-hour per week .25 year-long position that takes the place of one course in English each semester. Duties include serving as a TA for General Honors/English 2015HW, “The Theory and Practice of Tutoring Writing,” a course which prepares undergraduates for a writing tutor position if they do well in the class; serving as a mentor to new graduate and undergraduate tutors; refining, presenting, and evaluating workshops on plagiarism, personal statements, argumentation, and research strategies for a variety of audiences; handling other administrative duties, including Fall Graduate Tutor Orientation and observations of current tutors; and helping liaison with the multiple departments that work closely with the Writing Center.
Most graduate students in the English Department will serve as a teaching assistant for part, or all, of their graduate careers. Teaching in the department provides a measure of colleagueship with other faculty and serves as crucial professional preparation for a career in the academy. MA students are thoroughly prepared for the teaching of English 1000 during their first year in the program. In their first semester, they shadow an experienced instructor of English 1000 for five hours/week and tutor in the Writing Center for five hours/week. In the second semester, MA student instructors are responsible for their own section of English 1000. MA students in Creative Writing sometimes have the opportunity to teach introductory poetry, creative non-fiction and fiction writing courses in their second year. PhD students typically teach two sections of English 1000 each semester of their first year. In addition to English 1000, PhD students teach introductory courses in literature, creative writing, folklore and film. Students may also be assigned teaching assistantships in partnership with faculty members for courses such as the surveys in British and American literature and large sections of the Topics in Literature courses. The standard schedule for graduate students in the program is two courses per semester.
Undergraduate workshops in Creative Writing are assigned to qualified students by the Creative Writing Program. Literature courses are assigned to advanced graduate students on the basis of applications made to a committee consisting of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Departmental Adviser, and the Director of Composition, who acts in an advisory capacity. Eligibility to teach literature classes is determined by good standing in the department as recorded by the DGS.
Comp Staff is a 10-hour per week .25 year-long position which includes working closely with the Director and Assistant Director of Composition and the Composition Committee. Comp Staff members support the curricular, professional development, evaluation, and administrative functions of the Composition Program. Duties include attending bi-weekly staff meetings and monthly Composition Committee meetings, mentoring new instructors one-on-one and in peer mentor groups, observing ENG 1000 instructors, planning and facilitating pedagogical workshops, developing and contributing to program curricular and promotional materials, and contributing to program research, assessment, and evaluation.
Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies
The Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies (ADGS) is a 10-hour per week .25 year-long position (1 course release each semester), which includes working closely with the Director of Graduate Studies and the Gradute Studies Committee (GSC). Duties include taking minutes for the GSC, doing research for GSC initiatives, assisting in the planning and hosting of Welcome Day for prospective students, and helping to keep the DGS informed about graduate student concerns. The ADGS is also responsible for maintaining and updating the graduate student handbook and the department website, including the department calendar.
Assistant to the Director of Creative Writing
The Assistant to the Director of Creative Writing is a 10 hour a week .25 year-long position, which includes working closely with the Director of Creative Writing and the Creative Writing Committee. One of the primary responsibilities is assisting with the planning and coordination of the creative writing reading series. Other responsibilities include assisting with the coordination of the department creative writing contests and the AWP conference, and managing Creative Writing's presence on social media.
Benefits for All Recipients of Assistantships
All teaching assistantships and Graduate School fellowship awards include a waiver of both resident and nonresident educational fees, but not incidental fees (health, computing or student health, or departmental supplemental fees), and eligibility for a graduate student insurance subsidy. For information on fee waivers, taxes and fellowships, and student health insurance, please see the following: Graduate Student Support Program; Taxes and Fellowships; Medical Insurance.
As stated in Missouri law and university policy, every non-native speaker of English must have sufficient oral-English proficiency before taking on a teaching position. It is recommended that departments schedule assessments for candidates as soon as possible so appointment decisions can be made in a timely fashion. The International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) offers many services to assess and develop communication and provide cultural development as a basis for a rewarding and enriching experience in the classroom. For more information, please consult the ITAP website.
English Department Fellowships
These are awarded annually by the DGS, in consultation with the PhD admissions committee:
- Up to four PhD fellowships equivalent to the standard PhD assistantship to teach three, instead of the usual four, sections per year for four years. One course release is given during course work and three additional course releases after coursework. The timing of course releases will be determined in consultation with the DGS. Students on these fellowships may choose to take two of their course releases in their 5th year; they are not eligible for dissertation fellowships.
These are awarded annually by the DGS, in consultation with faculty from the appropriate areas of study:
- Mary-Joe Purcell Fellowship for an incoming PhD student pursuing a degree in seventeenth- or eighteenth-century literary studies, a one-time grant of $5,000
- Donald E. and Mary Frances Hayden English Fellowship Award in 19th-Century British Literature for an incoming PhD student, a one-time grant of $1,000
- John and Cynthia Shaw Fellowship in American Literature for an incoming PhD student, a one-time grant of $1,000
- Winifred Bryan Horner Fellowship for an incoming graduate student in Rhetoric and Composition, a one-time grant of $1,000
These are awarded annually by the DGS, in consultation with the department chair:
- Three Dissertation Fellowships which provide a 1-1 teaching load to students for the year in which they are completing their dissertations
- The John Richard and Ellen Ryan Dubinski Scholarship for a graduate student in the department, with "Preference . . . given to parents returning to college for an advanced degree”
- The Elizabeth T. Barnes Memorial Graduate Fellowship goes to a graduate student who has had an essay accepted or who has presented at a prestigious academic conference during the preceding calendar year
This is awarded annually by Richard A Hocks, the department chair and the DGS:
- Harry J and Richard A Hocks Dissertation Fellowship to support a doctoral student in American or English Literature at the dissertation-writing stage. Preference is given to students with dependents, especially young children
University and College Fellowships
For a complete listing, see the Graduate School's descriptions. Nominations for University and College Fellowships are made by the DGS in consultation with the Graduate Admissions Committee to especially promising applicants to the department. Prospective students cannot apply on their own. These fellowships include:
Five-Year Doctoral-Level Fellowship and Scholarship Programs
The Graduate School provides $8,000 for each of five years in addition to the department assistantship:
- William Gregory Fellowships: Awards can be made to doctoral students in any discipline
- Adeline Hoffman Fellowships: For newly admitted doctoral students, who have and maintain a 3.3 GPA
- G. Ellsworth Huggins Scholarships: Awards can be made to doctoral students in any field, who must have and maintain a 3.5 GPA
- Ronald E. McNair Fellowships: The program is designed to support newly admitted doctoral degree graduate students in any field who have successfully completed a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at a university other than MU, who have and maintained a 3.5 GPA
- Gus T. Ridgel Fellowships: This fellowship program assists qualified underrepresented minority graduate students in any field at the University of Missouri-Columbia
Masters or Doctoral-Level Fellowship/Scholarship Programs
- David R. Francis Fellowships: Awards are for graduate students newly admitted into master's or doctoral degree programs in either public affairs or creative literature. The nomination materials for this fellowship program from creative literature applicants must include an original composition. At the master's level, the stipend is $5,000 from the Graduate School with an equal amount of matching support required from the department, either concurrently or for a second year of support, which may consist of a teaching or research assistantship or other support. At the doctoral level, the support is equal to other doctoral programs as described in the above section.
- Thurgood Marshall Academic Scholarships: This program is designed to assist departments in recruiting and retaining graduate students from underrepresented ethnic minority populations (African American, Native American or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Mexican American). The stipend is $5,000 for one year from the Graduate School with an equal amount of matching support required from the department.
Benefits for All Recipients of Assistantships
All teaching assistantships and Graduate School fellowship awards include a waiver of both resident and nonresident educational fees, but not incidental fees (health, computing or student health, or departmental supplemental fees), and eligibility for a graduate student insurance subsidy. For information on fee waivers, taxes and fellowships, and student health insurance, please see the following: Graduate Student Support Program; Taxes and Fellowships; Health Insurance.
English Department Graduate Student Travel Awards provide up to $700 of support for graduate students giving papers at professional conferences either in the US or abroad. Three awards are available per deadline of October 1 and March 1. Applications are competitive since only three awards are available per deadline. Please see attachment for application instructions.
If students are awarded a grant (including travel grants) from an external entity, the MU English department will aim to match those funds. This is limited to $1000 per graduate student per fiscal year.
Awards for conference travel are also available from other organizations on campus:
English Graduate Student Association (EGSA)
EGSA Professional Fund
MU Graduate Student Association (GSA)
Travel Grants Application
MU Graduate Professional Council (GPC)
MU Graduate Studies
(note only 1 travel or dissertation research grant during each grad student’s career at MU)
Pace Writing Award
First, second and third place awards are given each year to the best graduate paper completed for a graduate course. Winners are chosen by a panel of judges.
Each year one graduate student in good standing who has made substantial progress towards their degree is chosen to receive this scholarship.
Creative Writing Awards
Through private and university sponsorships, the Program in Creative Writing is able to award a number of yearly writing prizes. All awards are judged in open competition by outside writers of national reputation.
Donald K. Anderson Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
The English department may nominate one graduate student for the Donald K. Anderson Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Nominees must have held a teaching assistansthip during the previous calendar year (either spring or fall, or both semesters). The Anderson award will consist of an honorarium ($500-$1000) and an appropriately inscribed memento. A deadline for self-nominations to the department is announced each fall semester.