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UMD Master of Arts in English

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
  • What do graduates do with a MA degree in English from UMD?
  • How long does it take to complete the M.A. in English at UMD?
  • What kinds of financial aid are available to graduate students?
  • What do teaching assistants do?
  • What training and assistance do TAs receive?
  • Does UMD's Graduate Program in English offer a creative writing emphasis?
  • Do you offer on-campus housing for graduate students?
  • Is human life possible in Duluth during the winter?
  • WHAT DO GRADUATES DO WITH A M.A. DEGREE IN ENGLISH AT UMD?

    Our graduates use their degree in a variety of ways, depending on their own interests and goals.

    Some continue on in academic life, proceeding to Ph.D. programs–often in English, but sometimes in other fields (e.g., recent grads have studied linguistics, law, art, business, American culture, and theology).

    Others, immediately upon completing their M.A., accept teaching positions, usually in two-year colleges or college preparatory schools such as Marshall in Duluth. (While some of our graduates teach composition in four-year colleges and universities, these schools generally require a Ph.D. for tenure-track positions.)

    Still others find employment in publishing, editing, public relations, and a wide variety of businesses.

    For specifics on individual graduates of our program, see the Recent Graduates page.

    HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE M.A. IN ENGLISH AT UMD?

    Students usually complete the program in two years (four semesters). It is designed to accommodate people who work part-time in teaching assistantships or other employment. These students can graduate in two years by taking two courses each semester.

    WHAT KINDS OF FINANCIAL AID ARE AVAILABLE TO GRADUATE STUDENTS?

    (1) Tuition fellowships (partial or full) are grants that cover up to 100% of tuition. They are awarded competitively on the basis of merit.

    (2) Teaching assistantships are appointments that allow students to earn money and gain experience as they complete the M.A. program. TAs enjoy a reduction in tuition (up to 90%), receive stipends, and receive health insurance.

    (3) Block Grant Fellowships are monetary awards that can be used however the recipient wishes–e.g., for tuition, fees, school supplies, and living expenses. One fellowship is awarded annually to the second-year student who demonstrates the most professional promise in a field of English. Other Block Grant fellowships are awarded at the discretion of the Graduate Committee to deserving students (e.g., well qualified international students who need assistance with travel).

    WHAT DO TEACHING ASSISTANTS DO?

    TAs teach their own section of first-year college writing (enrolling about 28 students), which involves conducting three class hours per week (one of which is in a computer classroom),evaluating papers, assigning grades, and holding conferences with students during regular office hours. TAs also spend at least seven hours each week tutoring composition students. (Because of the demands of graduate academic work and the teaching assistantship, additional employment is discouraged.) The training and experience our TAs receive make them attractive to potential Ph.D. programs and employers.

    WHAT TRAINING AND ASSISTANCE DO TA'S RECEIVE?

    TAs participate in a week-long orientation program just before their first semester. One of the first courses they take is Comp 8902: Teaching College Composition. During their first semester, they "shadow" an experienced Composition instructor who serves as a model and mentor. In addition, TAs are welcome (and encouraged) to participate in teaching workshops offered each term by the Instructional Development Service and Information Technology Systems and Services.

    DOES UMD'S GRADUATE PROGRAM IN ENGLISH OFFER A CREATIVE WRITING EMPHASIS?

    No. While our graduate students can take courses in Advanced Writing of Fiction and Advanced Writing of Poetry, we do not have a complete track devoted to creative writing. People interested in such a program might look for schools that offer the MFA degree.

    DO YOU OFFER ON-CAMPUS HOUSING FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS?

    Not yet. A committee of the Graduate Council is working to develop such housing, but it does not yet exist. In the meantime, students can contact Mary Jo Bowman (218) 726-7170, mbowman@d.umn.edu) for help in locating suitable off-campus accommodations.

    IS HUMAN LIFE POSSIBLE IN DULUTH DURING THE WINTER

    It's not only possible but most Duluthians (including temporary Duluthians such as our graduate students) find it quite enjoyable. While it does get cold up here, winter outdoor activities abound. Our area offers downhill and cross-country skiing, skating, hockey, snowshoeing, sledding, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, and more.

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