Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty

Preface

The 2014-2015 Handbook for Graduate Students in English describes the current graduate programs and offerings, defines the procedures and requirements of each of those programs, and publishes other information that will assist graduate students to meet their obligations as students and, in many cases, teachers in the department and University community. The Handbook is a supplement to The Graduate School’s A Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty.

Students are urged to read carefully both handbooks, but they are also invited to discuss problems or concerns about the program with the Director of Graduate Studies. Once a doctoral student’s advisory committee has been established, the student should consult with the chair of that committee for guidance. 

Our master’s and doctoral students select from a range of courses in English and American literature, creative writing and writers, composition and rhetoric, professional communication, and literary and cultural theory.  Options combining course work in these fields have put our graduates in a good position to compete in today’s job market.

Masters' and doctoral students prepare works related to their own areas of interest with a faculty of active researchers, some with very distinguished national reputations.  The doctoral program Course of Study enables students to integrate their course work in literature or in composition and rhetoric with their individual plans for the comprehensive examination, dissertation research, and teaching interests.  Seminars offered by the graduate faculty embody a variety of perspectives and research and writing interests.

Section 1 Application and Admission

Application Requirements

Applications for admission to degree programs are available from the Dean of the Graduate School, 102 Roudebush Hall, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056 or via the Graduate School website. Applicants to all programs must submit an application form and fee, and transcripts of all previous academic work to The Graduate School.  GRE scores are not required, but may be useful for applicants being considered by the Graduate School for the Graduate School Scholar Assistantship (GSSA).

English Department degree programs also require additional materials, as described below, for a complete application file.  All required M.A. and Ph.D. application materials must be received by January 2 in order for the applicant to be given full consideration for a teaching assistantship.  Late applications for these programs will not be accepted.  Applications for the low residency MFA are considered on a rolling basis. Applications for the combined BA/MA degree must be received by March 1.

1.1a Master of Arts in English:  Students with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university who meet the requirements described in the current Graduate Bulletin may be admitted to a degree program with the approval of the departmental Admissions and Awards Committee.  Applicants for the M.A. must submit a  2-3 page personal statement of aims in relation to graduate studies, three letters of recommendation from faculty with recommendation forms, a writing sample appropriate to their chosen area of concentration, and copies of all transcripts.

Composition and Rhetoric or Literature Concentrations: Applicants should submit a 15-20 page analytical paper, such as a major paper written for an upper-level English seminar.

Creative Writing Concentrations:  Applicants should submit a writing sample that best demonstrates their skills as a writer in their chosen genre of specialization (fiction, creative non-fiction, or poetry):  25 to 40 pages of prose or 10-15 poems.  Manuscripts will be read by the creative writing faculty and will heavily influence their decision on admission.

Visit the Department of English Graduate Admissions pages for detailed information about application requirements and guidelines for submission. 

1.1b Master of Arts in Teaching: Ohio public school certification is a prerequisite for admission. Application procedures and materials required are listed on the Ohio Writing Project MAT pages

1.1c Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree: Full-time Miami undergraduate students in their junior year who have completed 80 hours and half of the departmental hours required for their major may apply to the BA/MA in English.  To be eligible, students must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.25 and a 3.5 major GPA.

Application should be made to the English department and the Graduate School. See the Graduate School website

Also see the Department of English Graduate Admissions pages for general information about graduate programs.  Application materials for the Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Program do not need to meet the Jan. 2 deadline.  We will begin reviewing application materials for the BA/MA after March 1.

1.1d Low Residency Master of Fine Arts: Students with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university who meet the requirements described in the current Graduate Bulletin may be admitted to the low residency MFA program with the approval of the departmental Admissions Committee.  Applications to the low residency MFA program are considered on a rolling basis. Applicants for the Low Residency MFA must submit a 2-3 page personal statement of aims, three letters of recommendation from faculty with recommendation forms, a writing sample (for Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Screenwriting, or Mixed-Genre/Hybrid - 15-20 pages; for Poetry - 10-15 pages), and copies of all transcripts.

More detailed information about application requirements and guidelines for submission are available on the Department of English Graduate Admissions pages.

1.1e Doctor of Philosophy in English

Students who have met the requirements for the Master of Arts in English, in either a thesis or non-thesis plan, may apply for admission into the doctoral program.  Students whose master’s degree is in another field are also welcome to apply for admission.  Generally, only those applicants who can be funded with a graduate teaching appointment or other forms of funding--governmental sponsorship, Fulbright fellowship, etc.) will be eligible for admission.  The departmental Graduate Admissions Committee takes into consideration courses, grades, foreign language preparation, the applicant’s 2-3 page personal statement, the three letters of recommendation with recommendation forms from faculty, and a writing sample.  The writing sample should be a 15-20 page analytical paper appropriate to the concentration area in which the applicant plans to specialize that demonstrates the applicant’s scholarly abilities and orientation to the field.

1.2 Admissions and Financial Aid: Departmental Policy and Procedures

The Graduate Committee has approved the following policies and procedures on admissions and financial assistance: 

(1) The Graduate Admissions Committee will be a representative group, with members drawn from the programs in literature, composition and rhetoric, and creative writing.

(2) Applications for graduate study will initially be read by members according to fieldi.e., members in literature will read literature applications, those in composition and rhetoric will read the applications from their field, and creative writing members will read applications to the creative writing program.  Members may, if they wish, caucus with others in their fields to arrive at the recommendations they will make to the full committee as to which applicants should receive Graduate Assistantships.

(3) No field within the department will be allocated in advance a set number of graduate awards.  Rather, committee members representing the three fields – creative writing, composition and rhetoric, and literature – will forward to the full Graduate Admissions Committee the 10 highest-ranked applications in each field. The Director of Graduate studies in consultation with the Graduate Admissions Committee will balance the needs of individual programs and the relative strength of these applications, in awarding the available Graduate Assistantships.

(4) As soon as possible after the application deadline of January 2 the Graduate Admissions Committee and Director of Graduate Studies will decide on its offers of Graduate Assistantships.  No offers will be made, and no decisions reached, until all on-time applications have been evaluated. Applications for admission with funding (TAship or GAship) received after January 2 will not be considered. 

(5) Regarding admission without financial aid, the subcommittee may admit highly qualified, but unfunded M.A. students.  However, it will be made clear to these students that an English Department assistantship probably will not be awarded at a later date—i.e., that their M.A. study will remain unfunded throughout. 

For Ph.D. applicants, the subcommittee will admit only those whom it can support with a departmental teaching appointment or who are funded by fellowships or organizational sponsorships (e.g. international governmental sponsorships, Fulbright fellowships, etc.).  In exceptional cases, it may consider for admission an applicant who will obtain acceptable teaching experience and training on another campus while in the Ph.D. program at Miami.

(6) Competitive dissertation Fellowships are be awarded annually by a Dissertation Fellowship Committee appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies. The DF Committee shall be composed of the Director of Graduate Studies, and a representative selection of faculty approved by the Graduate Committee.  The Graduate School provides one full-year fellowship for an eligible fourth-year doctoral student.  The department’s Academic Challenge and Sinclair Dissertation Fellowships may be awarded as one-semester or full-year fellowships for eligible doctoral students in their fifth year or beyond.

Section 2 Master of Arts in English Programs and Requirements

2.1 Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree  

Full-time Miami undergraduate students in their junior year who have completed 80 hours and half of the departmental hours required for their major may apply to the BA/MA in English.  To be eligible, students must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.25 and a 3.5 major GPA.

Students accepted to the English BA/MA program take graduate courses while completing their undergraduate degree.  A maximum of 8 credit hours hours can be double counted for the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, but the full number of hours required for the Master’s degree must be taken. A minimum of 150 credit hours 120 undergraduate + 30 graduate) are required for the BA/MA.  Students remain classified as undergraduates until they have completed 128 hours.  At the time, the Graduate School will reclassify them as graduate students, if they have maintained a GPA of 3.25 in undergraduate and at least a 3.0 in graduate work. Students in the combined program are eligible to apply for a non-teaching graduate assistantship or graduate grant-in-aid upon being classified as graduate students.

See particular MA programs for course requirements.

2.2 M.A. with Graduate Assistantship    

In addition to the requirements listed for the Master of Arts degree concentrations offered by the English Department, ENG 731 (The Theory and Practice of Teaching College Composition), ENG 606 and 607 (Teaching Practicum I and II) are required for all Graduate Assistants and Teaching Associates teaching in the College Composition program. For the M.A. with concentration in Composition and Rhetoric and with concentration in literature, these courses count toward total credit hours but not toward core requirements.

2.3 M.A. with Concentration in Composition and Rhetoric    

36 hours, including: 

  • 16 hours of core coursework in composition and rhetoric (excluding ENG 731, ENG 606, ENG 607).
  • Courses may include 601, 720, 730, 732, 733, 734, 735, 736, 737, 751, 760, 770.
  • Students MUST take at least two of the following four courses: 732, 733, 735, 737.
  • 3 elective graduate courses in English, that comprise a defined area of study to be selected in consultation with faculty advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.  With permission of advisor and Director of Graduate Studies, one elective may be in a department other than English.
  • ENG 605: Issues of the Profession (2 hrs.)
  • ENG 700: Research for Master’s Thesis (6 hrs.)

Additional degree requirements:

A reading proficiency in a language other than English, demonstrated by (a) completion of two years of undergraduate study of a foreign language or ASL; (b) completion of 6l7/6l8 in a language department at Miami; (c) taking a language examination given by a foreign language department at Miami University; or (d) presenting a language, other than English, which is the candidate’s native language. 

M.A. students in composition and rhetoric serving as Graduate Assistants must enroll in ENG 731, ENG 606, and ENG 607. Some portion of this teaching requirement may be waived for students with high school or junior high school teaching experience.

A final oral examination of two hours on the thesis and the approved reading list.

Thesis and Oral Examination Committee

Students working toward the M.A. with thesis and oral examination for the degree may take their examinations during the semester in which they are completing classroom requirements, or thereafter.  The student forms an M.A. thesis committee of three faculty members by the beginning of the second year in the master’s program. 

Two members of the thesis committee will be faculty working in composition and rhetoric; the third member may come from outside that field.   The chair must have Level A graduate faculty standing; other committee members must hold Level A or Level B graduate faculty standing.

Thesis Prospectus: Rationale and Reading List

The Master’s Thesis in Composition and Rhetoric requires the student to undertake a sustained intellectual engagement with an issue related to the student’s self-defined area of study.  The thesis project should be research-based and culminate in a final product, but it is purposely flexible to offer a range of options.  Theses projects may take many forms, including but not limited to, traditional research and critical study of an issue, theory, practice; classroom or community-based research with problem, description, results and discussion; a presentation of innovative pedagogy in the form of a detailed teaching portfolio with research and reflection; a workplace based internship and researched report; research and design of web pages for the Internet.

M.A. students in composition and rhetoric will work with their thesis committee to produce a reading list of 20 to 25 works, including secondary material, in the field in which the subject of the thesis is embedded as a specialized interest.  [A “work” is defined as a book-length production or its equivalent. Three short works (e.g., critical essays) count as the equivalent of a work. ]

Reading List format and submission procedure

The field of the thesis should be clearly identified by name, and the list itself supported by a persuasive rationale.  Works on the list should be cited in standard bibliographical style. The student should also name the faculty members serving on the committee, and secure their signatures on the cover-sheet form submitted along with the list.

Along with the signed cover-sheet form, the list will be submitted to the Graduate Committee for review and must be approved by the Graduate Committee at least three months before the final examination for the M.A. degree.  The Graduate Committee may require alterations in the reading list. The chair of the student’s examination committee, but not the student, will be present for the meeting with the Graduate Committee.

Examination procedure

Examinations may be scheduled at the convenience of the student and the examination committee.  Two hours will be allowed for the examination.  The final examination will be an oral examination consisting of (a) questions on the thesis itself and (b) questions on the approved reading list.  No materials other than the approved reading list and the thesis may be consulted during the M.A. exam.

Two of the three committee members must approve for the examination to be passed.  Students who fail the final examination may be given a second examination to be taken no earlier than the next semester or summer session.  No third attempt is permitted.

Depositing the thesis

In the early stages of preparing the final copy of the thesis, the student must obtain the Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations from The Graduate School or online. The student must prepare the thesis in accordance with the instructions in this guide.  Students should make an appointment with a member of the Graduate School for a preliminary format check of a sample chapter before proceeding with the final version of the thesis.

All students will submit their work electronically. A corrected, final pdf version of the thesis must be approved by the Graduate School and deposited electronically at least 10 business days before graduation. Requests may be made to the Graduate School for Delay of Publication of one to five years. Commencement dates and the deadlines for application for commencement are published each year on the Commencement Office website.                                   

2.4 M.A. with Concentration in Creative Writing: Fiction or Poetry    

40 hours of credit, including:

  • Four courses from ENG 650 (Graduate Fiction Workshop) or

ENG 651 (Graduate Poetry Workshop) (16 hrs.)

  • ENG 652: Issues in Creative Writing  (4 hrs.) or

ENG 652 Graduate Creative Nonfiction Workshop (4) when offered

  • ENG 605: Issues of the Profession (2 hrs.)
  • Three literature seminars numbered above 600, which may include ENG 603; ENG 652 (Graduate Creative Nonfiction Workshop) may substitute for one literature seminar with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies (12 hrs.)
  • ENG 700: Research/reading hours for Master’s Thesis (6 hrs.)  The thesis will ordinarily be a novella, a novel, or a collection of stories or poems.

Additional degree requirements:

            A reading proficiency in a language other than English, demonstrated by (a) completion of two years of undergraduate study of a foreign language or ASL; (b) completion of 6l7/6l8 in a language department at Miami; (c) taking a language examination given by a foreign language department at Miami University; or (d) presenting a language, other than English, which is the candidate’s native language.

For poetry, a one-hour oral qualifying exam on the standard list in poetry, to be taken after the end of the second semester and before submitting the reading list. The exam should take place no later than the midterm of the third semester.

Poetry Qualifying Examination

Students must pass a qualifying examination on the standard list in poetry which can be found on the English Graduate Programs Blackboard site.

The qualifying examination must be passed before the student’s own reading list may be submitted for approval to the graduate committee. The qualifying exam is a 1-hour oral examination on the standard M.A. reading list in poetry, to be taken after the end of the student’s second semester and no later than Thanksgiving break of the third semester.  A second attempt must be completed by February 1 of the fourth semester. No third attempt is permitted.  Any two available poetry M.A. faculty can serve as examiners for the exam.

A final two-hour oral exam on the thesis and the approved reading list. 

Examination Committee

Students working toward the M.A. with thesis and oral examination for the degree may take their examinations during the semester in which they are completing classroom requirements, or thereafter.  The student forms an M.A. thesis committee of three faculty members by the beginning of his/her second year in the master’s program.

Two members of the thesis committee will be faculty working in the student’s primary genre. The third member of the committee will be faculty working in another genre or area, from any of the English Department’s programs, or from another department. The chair must have Level A graduate faculty standing; the other committee members must hold Level A or Level B standing, unless he/she is from another department; in that case, the faculty member must hold Level A standing.

Reading list

An M.A. student in fiction will work with her/his thesis committee to construct a reading list of 25 works that are deemed useful in the writing of the thesis; the student and committee may chose books from the list posted on the English Graduate Programs Niihka site, but they are not limited to this list.

An M.A. student in creative nonfiction will work with her/his thesis committee to construct a reading list of 25 works that are deemed useful in the writing of the thesis; the student and committee may choose books from the list posted on the English Graduate Programs Niihka site, but they are not limited to this list. 

An M.A. student in poetry will work with her/his thesis committee to construct a reading list of 25 works that are deemed useful in the writing of the thesis. The student will also be responsible for the standing list in poetry. The student’s examination will take place in two parts: Part 1 is a 1-hour oral examination on the standard poetry list, to be taken before the end of Summer III after the student’s first year. Part 2 is a 1.5-hour oral examination on the student’s creative MA thesis and reading list.  (See Examination Procedure below.) The poetry reading list can be found on the English Graduate Programs Blackboard site.

[A “work” is defined as a book-length production or its equivalent; thus a group of plays or a collection of poems or essays might be counted as a single work in a literary field, while three critical essays will count as the equivalent of a work.]

Reading list format and submission procedure

The list should clearly identify the area and title of the thesis by name, with the list itself supported by a persuasive rationale.  Works on the list should be cited in standard bibliographical style.  The student should also name the faculty members serving on the committee, and secure their signatures on the cover-sheet form submitted along with the list. 

Along with the signed cover-sheet form, the list will be submitted to the Graduate Committee for review and must be approved by the Graduate Committee at least three months before the final examination for the M.A. degree.  The Graduate Committee may require alterations in the reading list.  The chair of the student’s examination committee, but not the student, will be present for the meeting with the Graduate Committee.

Examination procedure

For the M.A. in poetry, the examination will occur in two parts.  Part 1 is a 1-hour oral examination on the standard M.A. reading list in poetry, to be taken at the beginning of the student’s second year.  Any two available poetry M.A. faculty can serve as examiners.   Part 2 is a 1.5-hour oral examination on the student’s creative M.A. thesis and reading list, to be taken during or after the student’s second year.

Examinations may be scheduled at the convenience of the student and the examination committee. However, students who hope to take the exam during a summer term are responsible for ensuring in advance that all committee members will be available.

The final examination for fiction and creative non-fiction will be an oral examination of two hours consisting of questions on (a) the thesis itself and (b) the approved reading list.  No materials other than the approved reading list and the thesis may be consulted during the M.A. exam.

Two of the three committee members must approve for the examination to be passed.  Students who fail the final examination may be given a second examination to be taken no earlier than the next semester or summer session.  No third attempt is permitted.

Depositing the thesis

In the early stages of preparing the final copy of the thesis, the student must obtain the Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations from The Graduate School or online. The student must prepare the thesis in accordance with the instructions in this guide.  Students should make an appointment with a member of the Graduate School for a preliminary format check of a sample chapter before proceeding with the final version of the thesis.

All students will submit their work electronically. A corrected, final pdf version of the thesis must be approved by the Graduate School and deposited electronically at least 10 business days before graduation. Requests may be made to the Graduate School for Delay of Publication of one to five years.  Commencement dates and the deadlines for application for commencement are published each year on the Commencement Office website.

2.5 M.A. with Concentration in English and American Literature, with thesis  

36 hours of credit, including:

  • ENG 603: Theories and Their Histories (4 hrs.)
  • ENG 605: Issues of the Profession (2 hrs.)
  • Four 4-hour seminars satisfying the distribution requirement (16 hrs.)
One course each from two of these fields (8 hrs.)

English Literature to 1500

Renaissance English Literature

Restoration and Eighteenth-Century English Literature

Nineteenth-Century English Literature

Early American Literature

One course each from two of these fields (8 hrs.)

English, Irish, and Anglophone Literature from 1900 to the present

American Literature from 1900 to the present

  • Two elective literature seminars
  • Research/reading hours (6 hrs.) *may be waived for BA/MA students

Additional degree requirements:

     A reading proficiency in a language other than English, demonstrated by (a) completion of two years of undergraduate study of a foreign language or ASL; (b) completion of 6l7/6l8 in a language department at Miami; (c) taking a language examination given by a foreign language department at Miami University; or (d) presenting a language, other than English, which is the candidate’s native language.

  • Thesis and oral examination, as described below.

Thesis Committee

Students working toward the M.A. with thesis and oral examination for the degree may take their examinations during the semester in which they are completing classroom requirements or thereafter.  The student forms an M.A. thesis committee of three faculty members by the beginning of his/her second year in the master’s program.

Two members of the thesis committee will be faculty working in the specific area or literary field of the thesis; it is recommended that the third member work in another literary field or another degree concentration.  The chair must have Level A graduate faculty standing; other committee members must hold Level A or Level B graduate faculty standing.

Reading list

The M.A. student in literature who chooses to write a thesis will work with her/his thesis committee to produce a reading list of 20 to 25 works, including secondary material, in a literary period, genre, or other field in which the subject of the thesis is embedded as a specialized interest.  [A “work” is defined as a book-length production or its equivalent; thus a group of plays or a collection of poems or essays might be counted as a single work in a literary field, while three critical essays will count as the equivalent of a work.] 

Reading list format and submission procedure

The field of the thesis should be clearly identified by name, and the list itself supported by a persuasive rationale.  Works on the list should be listed in standard bibliographical style. The student should also name the faculty members serving on the committee, and secure their signatures on the cover-sheet form submitted along with the list. 

Along with the signed cover-sheet form, the list will be submitted to the Graduate Committee for review and must be approved by the Graduate Committee at least three months before the final examination for the M.A. degree.  The Graduate Committee may require alterations in the reading list. The chair of the student’s examination committee, but not the student, will be present for the meeting with the Graduate Committee.

Examination procedure

Examinations may be scheduled at the convenience of the student and the examination committee.  The final examination will be an oral examination of two hours consisting of questions on (a) the thesis itself and (b) the approved reading list.   No materials other than the approved reading list and the thesis may be consulted during the M.A. exam.

Two of the three committee members must approve for the examination to be passed.  Students who fail the final examination may be given a second examination to be taken no earlier than the next semester or summer session.  No third attempt is permitted.

Depositing the thesis

In the early stages of preparing the final copy of the thesis, the student must obtain the Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations from The Graduate School or online. The student must prepare the thesis in accordance with the instructions in this guide.  Students should make an appointment with a member of the Graduate School for a preliminary format check of a sample chapter before proceeding with the final version of the thesis.

All students will submit their work electronically. A corrected, final pdf version of the thesis must be approved by the Graduate School and deposited electronically at least 10 business days before graduation. Requests may be made to the Graduate School for Delay of Publication of one to five years.  Commencement dates and the deadlines for application for commencement are published each year on the Commencement Office website.

2.6 M.A. with Concentration in English and American Literature, with written examination

36 hours of credit, including:

  • ENG 603: Theories and Their Histories (4 hrs.)
  • ENG 605: Issues of the Profession (2 hrs.)
  • Four 4-hour seminars satisfying the distribution requirement (16 hrs.)

 One course each from two of these fields (8 hrs.)

  • English Literature to 1500
  • Renaissance English Literature
  • Restoration and Eighteenth-Century English Literature
  • Nineteenth-Century English Literature
  • Early American Literature

 One course each from two of these fields (8 hrs.)

  • English, Irish, and Anglophone Literature from 1900 to the present
  • Nineteenth Century American Literature
  • American Literature from 1900 to the present
  • Two elective literature seminars (8 hours)
  • Research/reading hours (6 hrs.) *may be waived for BA/MA students

Additional degree requirements:

A reading proficiency in a language other than English, demonstrated by (a) completion of two years of undergraduate study of a foreign language or ASL; (b) completion of 6l7/6l8 in a language department at Miami; (c) taking a language examination given by a foreign language department at Miami University; or (d) presenting a language, other than English, which is the candidate’s native language. 

  • A final written and oral examination on the approved reading list.

Examination Committee 

Students working toward the M.A. in literature with written and oral examination may take the examination for the degree during the semester in which they are completing classroom requirements, or thereafter. The exam writer forms an M.A. examination committee of three faculty members by the beginning of the student’s second year in the master’s program.

The M.A. student in literature chooses two literary periods on which to be examined, and selects one faculty member to represent each of those periods on the examination committee; it is recommended that the third member work in another literary field or another degree concentration. One faculty member will be designated as chair of the M.A. examination committee, to be responsible for coordinating meetings, preparing the written exam, and convening and chairing the oral examination. The chair must have Level A graduate faculty standing; other committee members must hold Level A or Level B graduate faculty standing.

Reading List

The M.A. written examination should encourage students to think about the relationships between literature and the larger cultural context. Toward this end, students work with their M.A. examination committees to generate reading lists in the areas they have chosen to prepare for the examination. The two lists, one for each area, should be broad enough to accommodate both the student’s specialized interests and the committee’s sense of the period in which those interests are embedded. To achieve that breadth, students should form lists of 20 to 25 works each, including criticism currently of significance. [A “work” is defined as a book-length production or its equivalent; thus a group of plays or a collection of poems or essays might be counted as a single work in a literary field, while three critical essays will count as the equivalent of a work.] Students should be prepared to answer questions about the relationships among works and about the periods they represent.

For each list, students will work with their committee members to choose a topically and temporally coherent field that is a. legible to literary scholars as a field, b. broad enough to encompass a historical time period of at least fifty years, and c. varied in form and/or genre. The student shall provide a rationale describing the field and making relevant connections between current intellectual concerns in the field and the works on the reading list.  Texts on the reading list should promise a solid breadth of knowledge in the field and a range of forms and genres representative of the field.  Since every field must include both historical range (as described above) and formal diversity (even within a genre), students should make sure that the rationale specifically addresses the ways in which a proposed field fulfills this requirement.

Reading list format and submission procedure

Each field represented on a list should be clearly identified, and the list itself supported by a persuasive rationale.  Works should be cited in standard bibliographic style.  The student should also name the faculty members serving on the committee, and secure their signatures on the cover-sheet form submitted along with the list.  Along with the signed cover-sheet form, the list will be submitted to the Graduate Committee for review and must be approved by the Graduate Committee at least three months before the final examination for the M.A. degree.  The Graduate Committee may require alterations in the reading list. The chair of the student’s examination committee, but not the student, will be present for the meeting with the Graduate Committee. 

Examination procedure

For the written examination, the student will answer one question from each of the two fields represented on the approved reading lists.  For each field, the student will have a choice of at least two questions.  The questions for the written portion of the examination will be given to the student two weeks before the date of the oral examination.  The student will return her/his completed essays to the committee chair no more than 72 hours after she/he has received the questions.  The maximum acceptable length of the examination will be approximately 3,600 words, divided as evenly as possible between the two essays.

In the examination essays, students should employ conventional MLA citation format: i.e., parenthetical references by author’s last name and page number.  A bibliography is not required, but if the student uses a text not on the reading lists, the full citation should be provided parenthetically.  While students are permitted to consult relevant print resources, they may not share a draft of the essay with others for review, editorial suggestions, or proofreading. If they incorporate ideas from conversation with others, these must be fully documented in the essay itself, just as references to print sources would be.  An examination essay, whatever its critical or theoretical orientation, will be expected to respond directly to the question asked and to show detailed and accurate command of the pertinent reading.

­

In the days before the oral examination, the M.A. examination committee will read and evaluate the written portion of the examination. No decision to pass or fail will be rendered until both the written and oral examinations have been completed and the student’s total performance can be taken into account.  Should a student fail the examination in one field, the committee may at its discretion allow the student to retake a portion of the exam.

The oral examination will be conducted over a period of 90 minutes, with the time divided equally between a discussion of the examination essays and follow-up questions about them, and a discussion of other works on the reading lists.  Students should be prepared to answer specific questions about the works on the lists, about relationships among them, and about the fields they represent.  Students should expect that each examiner will not be restricted to questions in a single field, but may well ask questions about either of the student’s prepared areas. No materials other than the approved reading list and the written examination essay may be consulted during the M.A. exam.

Two of the three committee members must approve for the examination to be passed.  Students who fail the final examination may be given a second examination to be taken no earlier than the next semester or summer session.  No third attempt is permitted.

Section 3 Other Master’s Degrees

3.1 Master of Arts in Teaching  

The Master of Arts in Teaching requires 32 hours of credit.  Certification for teaching in the public schools is a prerequisite for admission.

Designed for K-12 working teachers, the M.A.T. is overseen by the Ohio Writing Project, a site of the prestigious National Writing Project and the Ohio Board of Regents’ Early English Composition Assessment program. 

The curriculum includes a writing core and a literature core, offered as summer workshops and classes on the Miami campus.  M.A.T. students may also fulfill requirements with graduate seminars in literature or composition and rhetoric.  A final classroom-based research project will be conducted under the direction of faculty advisors and OWP teacher mentors.

More information about the M.A.T. program and application requirements is available from the Ohio Writing Project office, 513-529-5245.

3.2 Low Residency Master of Fine Arts  

Each student will work out an individualized course of study involving writing and revising original works in their field, while also creating and writing responses to a 25-book reading list of contemporary and canonical writers. 

During the third semester of study, each student will participate in an online seminar in contemporary literature in their genre, culminating in a critical paper. The low-residency MFA concludes with a fifth and final residency during which each student leads a workshop and gives a reading from their final project.

Students participate in four week-long residencies, held in January and August each year. The residency begins on a Saturday morning and ends eight days later on the following Saturday. Students may enter the program by attending either residency.

Required courses (42 credit hours total)

ENG 631 Writing in the Genres: Residential Workshop, 4 times (16)

ENG 632 First non-residential semester (5)

ENG 633 Second non-residential semester (5)

ENG 634 Third non-residential semester (5)

ENG 636 Final Project nonresidential semester (5)

ENG 635 Reading for Writing: Literary Forms (4)

ENG 700 Final project hours (2)

Section 4 Doctor of Philosophy in English

The program requires 60 semester hours of study with an M.A.  All Ph.D. students must earn at least 60 graduate credit hours (including Dissertation Research) beyond the master’s degree or its equivalent, at least 48 of which must be earned on the Oxford campus.  The required credit hours must be earned at the 600 level and above.  A minimum of 30 credit hours in courses must be earned on the Oxford campus before the comprehensive examination and admission to candidacy.  The student will register for Dissertation Research (ENG 850) for a minimum total of 16 credit hours of the 60 required.

4.1 Recommended Timeline for Ph.D. Students

  • Submission of a preliminary Course of Study to the Graduate Committee for initial review by the end of the second semester
  • Submission of a Course of Study to the Graduate Committee for approval by the end of the third semester
  • Completion of all course and foreign language/cognate requirements by Summer IV of the second year
  • Submission of an area of concentration, a reading list, and special topic to the Graduate Committee by the end of Summer IV of the second year
  • Comprehensive exam taken by the end of the fifth semester
  • Dissertation prospectus submitted to the dissertation committee by the end of the sixth semester
  • Dissertation defense in the fourth year

4.2 First-Year Advisor

Every beginning doctoral student intending to write a dissertation in literature or in composition and rhetoric will be assigned a First-Year Advisor.  This advisor will supervise the student’s selection of seminars for the first three semesters of doctoral study as part of the evolving process of determining a Course of Study.  The First-Year Advisor will be invited to attend both of the permission-to-proceed meetings (see below) in the semester at which the student’s progress will be discussed.

4.3 Course of Study

A Ph.D. student who intends to write a dissertation in literature or in composition and rhetoric must define a course of study in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, the First-Year Advisor, and the student’s Ph.D. Advisory Committee, which replaces the First-Year Advisor by the beginning of the fourth semester. In no more than two pages, the Course of Study statement must integrate doctoral coursework with plans for the comprehensive examination, the dissertation research, and teaching interests. A preliminary Course of Study should be submitted to the Graduate Committee for initial review no later than the end of the second semester. The Course of Study must be approved by the Graduate Committee by the end of the third semester. 

4.4 Permission to Proceed

1.  All first-year doctoral students will be asked to keep copies of all written work produced for their seminars in English.  Faculty teaching graduate seminars should retain copies of all written work produced by first-year students whose capacity to complete the doctoral program is, in their view, questionable, as well as any written comments on that work.

2.  During the first week of the Spring term, all faculty who taught graduate courses that included first-year doctoral students during the preceding semester and each student’s First-Year Advisor will meet with the Director of Graduate Studies.  They will discuss whether or not any of these students has produced written work that seems to call into question the student’s capacity to complete the doctoral program.  Whatever is said at this meeting will be strictly confidential.  If faculty agree that a student may have difficulty completing the program, the Director of Graduate Studies will notify the student of that assessment in writing, providing specific information about problems identified by faculty.  If deemed necessary, he/she will assist the student in obtaining additional guidance from his/her First-Year Adviser concerning his/her current coursework.

3. After the end of the Spring Semester, the Director of Graduate Studies, each student’s First-Year Advisor, and all faculty who taught first-year doctoral students during the Spring Semester will meet to discuss the progress of first-year Ph.D. students.  Whatever is said at this meeting will be strictly confidential. Unless explicitly informed to the contrary by the Director of Graduate Studies within 5 working days after this meeting, a student in automatically granted permission to proceed.  If faculty agree that a student may have difficulty completing the program, the Director of Graduate Studies will notify the student in writing that he/she is under review, providing specific information about problems identified by faculty.

4. Any student designated for review will be invited to submit written work and/or address faculty concerns in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies within five working days of being informed that he/she is under review. 

5.  The Director of Graduate Studies will convene a meeting of available members of the graduate faculty and the Permission to Proceed committee, who will then meet for discussion as soon as possible after the student under review has submitted his/her work.  This meeting must take place no later than 10 working days after final grades for the spring term are due.  At this time, the Graduate Committee will render a decision either to permit the student to proceed, to deny such permission, or to defer permission for no longer than one academic year.  It will render its decision as a whole based solely on careful reading and discussion of the student’s work. The Director of Graduate Studies will provide specific information in writing about problems identified by faculty to students to whom permission to proceed is deferred or denied. 

6.  If permission to proceed is deferred, the Director of Graduate Studies will discuss the student’s status at the following semester’s Permission to Proceed meeting.

7.  If permission to proceed program is denied, the student has the right of reconsideration. To be reconsidered, the student will submit to the Director of Graduate Studies, the available graduate faculty, and the department chair a written statement and/or other materials within five working days of being informed that permission to proceed has not been granted.

8.  If reconsideration is unsuccessful, the student may appeal by filing a grievance in accordance with the Graduate School Grievance Procedure. 

4.5 Residence

To fulfill the residence requirement the student must, during the period of doctoral studies, be registered for a full academic load in at least two consecutive semesters during the regular academic year.

4.6 Ph.D. in Literature

For Ph.D. students in literature, the coursework comprised in a Course of Study might observe period distinctions or, where appropriate, cut across those in order to achieve historical range.  It might emphasize study of a single genre or aim to achieve a representative balance of genres in focusing on a particular movement at a particular time.  It might focus entirely on a single national, ethnic, or cultural tradition or traverse such boundaries.  The Course of Study must take into account the historical distribution requirement and other course requirements, and it may include more than one composition and rhetoric course.

     Course requirements for students who will write a dissertation in a literary field:

  • ENG 603: Theories and Their Histories (4 hrs.)
  • ENG 605: Issues in the Profession (2 hrs.)
  • ENG 606: Teaching Practicum I: College Composition (2 hrs.), required for all Teaching Associates
  • ENG 607: Teaching Practicum II: College Composition (2 hrs.), required for all Teaching Associates
  • ENG 731: Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition (4 hrs.), required for all Teaching Associates 
  • Eight 4-hour seminars at the 600-level or above:

Of the eight, six seminars in literature are required, one is required in ENG 750, and one is an open elective in English.

(See Seminar Requirements below for details.)

Historical Distribution Requirements

The Ph.D. in literature presupposes a breadth of literary and cultural knowledge.  Satisfaction of the 16-hour historical distribution requirement for the Miami MA (see the department’s Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty, Section 2), comprising courses in four fields, is presupposed.  Doctoral students admitted from a master’s program other than Miami’s may, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, partially satisfy the historical distribution requirement with transferred courses, within the 12-credit limit established by the Graduate School (see the Graduate School’s Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty).  The historical distribution requirement for Ph.D. students in literature further requires (a) one course in English or American literature before 1700 and (b) one course in English or American literature between 1700 and 1900. Courses used to satisfy the historical distribution requirement for the Miami MA will also fulfill this requirement.

Seminar Requirements

Eight seminars at the 600-level or above in English are required during the first two years for the Ph.D., not counting ENG 605 (Issues in the Profession), courses in foreign language or in a cognate field, or ENG 603 (Literary Theories and Their Histories) or ENG 731 (The Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition) if they had not been completed for the MA.  Of the eight, one is required in ENG 750 (see below) and one is an open elective in English.  Cross-listed graduate courses with an ENG prefix are countable.  Only when circumstances clearly require it, one and only one independent-study course will be permitted to substitute for a seminar during the first two years of Ph.D. work, and only then by petition to the Director of Graduate Studies.

ENG 750 (Histories and Methodologies) will center on a specific area of contemporary theoretical work and critical practice, providing the opportunity for students to integrate its methods with their own areas of interest (for instance, historical, generic).   It is required for Ph.D. students in literature, who may take the course a second time when the topic changes.  (Moreover, it is recommended for MA students who intend to pursue doctoral work or whose interests coincide with the topic of the course.)

Transfer credit is usable only for the satisfaction of historical distribution requirements or ENG 603. It cannot be used to satisfy any part of the eight-seminar requirement.

In consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies a student may have the area of a master’s thesis count toward the distribution requirement for the doctorate.  


4.7 Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric

For Ph.D. students in composition and rhetoric, the coursework comprised in a Course of Study might center on any one of the subfields in the discipline, such as composition theory, composition pedagogy, digital media studies, ethnic rhetoric, historical rhetoric, linguistics, literacy studies, technical and scientific communication, writing center study, women’s rhetoric, or any devised interdisciplinary field. It might focus on a single historical period or cut across them in order to achieve historical range. It might use any of a variety of research methodologies, including qualitative and quantitative research. 

Course requirements for PhD students in composition and rhetoric:

  • ENG 603: Theories and Their Histories (4 hrs.)
  • ENG 605: Issues in the Profession (2 hrs.)
  • ENG 606: Teaching Practicum I: College Composition (2 hrs.), required for all Teaching Associates
  • ENG 607: Teaching Practicum II: College Composition (2 hrs.), required for all Teaching Associates
  • ENG 731: Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition (4 hrs.), required for all Teaching Associates
  • Eight 4-hour seminars at the 600-level or above (See Seminar Requirements below for details.)

Seminar Requirements

Ph.D. students in composition and rhetoric are required to take eight seminars during the first two years for their Course of Study, not counting ENG 605, foreign language or cognate courses, or ENG 731, ENG 606/607. Of those eight seminars, four foundation courses are required and two are open electives in English. They are:

  • Four Foundation Courses (16 hours)
  • ENG 732:  Histories and Theories of Composition
  • ENG 733:  Histories and Theories of Rhetoric
  • ENG 735:  Empirical Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENG 737:  Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric
  • Two additional seminars in composition and rhetoric (8 hours)
  • Two open electives in English (8 hours)

If an incoming student has not taken 603 or its equivalent, and must therefore take it, he/she can either take 603 or petition to take 750 in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and his/her First-Year Advisor. Further, this 603 or 750 may count as one of the two open electives. With the support of his/her advisor, the student may petition the Director of Graduate Studies to substitute a course outside of English for one of the two open electives in English.

Only when circumstances clearly require it, one and only one independent-study course will be permitted to substitute for a seminar during the first two years of Ph.D. work, and only then by petition to the Director of Graduate Studies. 


4.9 Ph.D. Advisory Committee

In consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, the student will form a Ph.D. Advisory Committee by the beginning of the fourth semester.  The committee consists of four members of the department and a representative of the Graduate School.  The chair of the committee and the Graduate School representative must hold Level A graduate faculty standing; other committee members must hold Level A or Level B standing.  The chair should be a faculty member whose research interests coincide with the student’s area of concentration.  The Director of Graduate Studies will review the appropriateness of the chair and committee members before the committee is appointed.  The required functions of the Ph.D. Advisory Committee are to direct the student’s final course work, advise the student in preparing his/her description of an area of concentration, obtain approval of the description including the reading lists, and see that all requirements for taking the comprehensive examination have been completed.  The required functions also include providing timely advice on professional preparation. When the committee feels the student is prepared, it recommends to the Director of Graduate Studies that the student sit for the comprehensive examination, which it offers and evaluates. The five members of the Ph.D. Advisory Committee are then recommended to the Dean of the Graduate School by the Chair of the Department as the Comprehensive Examination Committee.

4.10 The Comprehensive Examination

The student’s application to take the examination must be approved by the English Department Director of Graduate Studies and by the Dean of the Graduate School at least 10 business days prior to the examination.  The four members of the Ph.D. Advisory Committee from the department and one member from outside the department are appointed by the Dean as the Comprehensive Examination Committee on the recommendation of the Chair of the Department.

The student may apply for the examination and schedule it after having met the requirements of the minimum number of course hours for the degree, the specific course requirements, the languages or the language and cognate fields, and residence.  When the student sits for the exam, he/she must have no incompletes and must have a 3.0 graduate point average or better.


4.11 Area of Concentration and Reading List

In consultation with the members of his/her Ph.D. Advisory Committee, the student will draw up a description of an area of concentration, ten pages in length including a list of the 50 works on which he/she will be examined during the oral portion of the comprehensive exam.  This description is not a prospectus for a dissertation. Rather it should delimit a significant and extensive area in which work has been and can be done. 

For Ph.D. students in literature, this document is to address most, if not all, of the following questions: What are the most important literary or cultural arguments in this area of concentration?  What primary materials (genres, national traditions, and media, as well as authors and works) comprise the area in which the student has chosen to demonstrate competence?  Which texts must the student know in order to work in the area?

For Ph.D. students in composition and rhetoric, this document is to address most, if not all, of the following questions: What are the most important rhetorical, cultural, pedagogical, and methodological arguments in this area of concentration?  What primary materials (historical, methodological, theoretical, pedagogical) comprise the area?  Which texts must the student know in order to work in the area?

The student responds to these questions in part by incorporating a reading list of 50 works into the area-of-concentration description. A “work” is defined as a book-length production or its equivalent; thus a group of plays, a collection of poems or essays, or three critical essays might be counted as a single work.  These works must not duplicate the selected bibliography submitted with the Special Topic description (see below).

4.12 Special Topic

In conjunction with the description of the area of concentration but separately from it, the student submits a description of a special topic emerging from within this area, five pages in length including a bibliography of 20 works. This description should take the form of a rationale for the topic.  The special topic represents the student’s specific interests or potential areas of research for the dissertation. 

For a Ph.D. student in literature, the special topic may be historical, generic, or thematic.  A student who defines his/her area of concentration as twentieth-century American literature might create a special topic, for example, in American modernism, or the contemporary African American women’s novel, or in the literature of the Vietnam War, or contemporary American poetry.

For a Ph.D. student in composition and rhetoric, the special topic may be historical, generic, or thematic. A student who defines his/her area of concentration as feminist rhetorical theory might create a special topic, for example, in nineteenth-century women’s public oratory, or girl talk on the Internet, or feminist pedagogy, or gender and technology. In composing questions for the written portion of the comprehensive examination and in assessing the essay the student writes in response to one of these questions, the committee will hold the student responsible for the 20 works included in the bibliography.

4.13 Reading list format and submission procedure

Once the Ph.D. Advisory Committee has approved both the area of concentration and the special topic, both documents mustbe submitted together to the Graduate Committee for its suggestions at least three months before the examination.  The chair of the student’s examination committee, but not the student, is present for this meeting.  Final approval of the area of concentration and the special topic rests with the Ph.D. Advisory Committee.

4.14 Comprehensive Examination Format and Procedure

The Ph.D. comprehensive examination itself will consist of two sections, one written and one oral.  The first section of the examination will be the written portion, in which the student will respond to one question, chosen from among at least four formulated by the Ph.D. Advisory Committee on the special topic designated by the student. 

The student is expected to produce 15 to 25 pages in response, demonstrating a working knowledge of the pertinent texts but going beyond summary.  While perhaps not as original as a published article or conference paper, the essay should nonetheless offer commentary, interpretation, and synthesis of the materials used.  Conventional MLA citation should be employed: i.e., parenthetical references by author’s last name and page number.  No bibliography is required; but if the student uses additional texts, the full citation should be provided parenthetically.

Students may not share a draft of the essay with others for review, editorial suggestions, or proofreading.  If they incorporate ideas from conversation with others, these must be fully documented in the essay itself, just as references to printed sources would be.

The questions will be given to the student two weeks before the date of the oral portion of the examination, and the student’s essay will be returned to the committee chair one week before the date of the oral.  In the week before the oral examination, the Ph.D. Advisory Committee will read and evaluate the written portion of the exam.  The committee will consider the written exam as a single entity, but the decision to pass or fail will not be rendered until the oral section of the examination has been completed, and until the committee has discussed the essay with the student and has taken into account the student’s total performance.

The oral section of the examination will be conducted over a period of two and a half to three hours.  Two hours must be devoted exclusively to the 50 works that were part of the student’s description of his/her area of concentration.  The oral section of the examination is to be followed by a discussion of the essay. The chair of the examination committee, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, may choose to reverse the order.

During the two-hour period, the student should be prepared to answer questions about the relationships among the works on the list and the area of concentration they represent.  After a 10-minute break, the examination committee will meet with the student for another 30 to 50 minutes to discuss the essay on the special topic and to ask the student to elaborate on his/her response.  Subsequently, the student will be excused, and the committee will meet to evaluate the entire examination and to vote a “pass” or “failure” for each section. The committee will share its decision with the student thereafter.

Students who fail either section or both sections of the comprehensive examination may be given a second opportunity to retake that section or both sections, and they may do so no earlier than the next semester or summer session. No third attempt is permitted.

4.15 Ph.D. Advisory Committee Procedures for the Comprehensive Examination

(1) The committee meets to approve the examination questions.

(2) The chair of the committee distributes copies of the written exam and the student’s responses to all members of the committee, including the Graduate School representative, and to the Director of Graduate Studies.

(3) The chair of the committee is responsible for scheduling a room in which the oral portion of the examination can be taken.  The chair of the committee notifies the Director of Graduate Studies of the time and place of the examination.

(4) At the conclusion of the oral examination, the committee votes each section of the examination a “pass” or “failure.”  The Graduate School representative must be present and has a vote.

(5) Graduate School regulations indicate that four out of five votes are necessary for one or both sections of the examination to be passed.  Two dissenting votes by any members of the committee will constitute a failure on the examination.


4.16 Admission to Candidacy

A student may be admitted to candidacy after (1) completing the minimum course hours required for the degree; (2) meeting the language requirements or the primary language and cognate field requirements; (3) passing the comprehensive examination; (4) meeting the residence requirement; and (5) securing recommendation of the Department to the Dean of the Graduate School.


4.17 The Dissertation Committee

The student’s dissertation committee should be formed early in the second semester of the doctoral student’s third year in the program, as soon as possible after the comprehensive exam. It may be, but need not be, substantially the same as the Ph.D. Advisory Committee.  While the Ph.D. Advisory Committee consists of four departmental faculty, plus an outside member, Ph.D. dissertation committees should consist of three English Department faculty, plus the representative of the Graduate School. Ph.D. students do retain the option of having four departmental faculty members on the dissertation committee, although this is not necessary. The chair of the committee and the Graduate School representative must hold Level A graduate faculty standing; other committee members must hold Level A or Level B standing.

Dissertation committee members will be designated as director, first reader, and second reader. The first reader, like the director, is typically responsible for reading and responding to chapters of the dissertation as they are drafted. The second reader’s primary responsibility is reading the completed dissertation in advance of the defense, although if specifically asked he or she might also read and comment on the dissertation in its earlier stages. In special circumstances, a dissertation committee might be co-chaired, in which case the two directors will do the ongoing reading and the third person on the committee will be responsible only for reading the dissertation before its defense.  The Director of Graduate Studies will review the appropriateness of the director(s) and committee members before the appointment of the committee is made.

To ensure that students receive the best possible mentoring, no faculty member should direct more than seven dissertations or theses, be first reader for more than seven, or be part of more than 12 total active graduate student committees.


4.18 The Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus provides evidence of the project’s potential and the candidate’s ability to complete it.  It is meant to ensure that the candidate and the committee know quite clearly the expectations, organization, and limits of the topic and the research and methodology that will be involved in it. 

More particularly, the prospectus should satisfy the following conditions:

(1) It should show consciousness of the approach or the combination of approaches that the candidate is making to the subject.

(2) It should indicate an understanding of the relation of the topic to other associated ones and the relation of the dissertation to previous studies in the subject area (the use of, departure from, and advancement beyond what has already been done).

(3) It should make a full and exact statement of the thesis or purpose of the dissertation.

(4) It should provide a chapter-by-chapter preview (in outline, précis, or other such form) of the content and should demonstrate the way the overall intention will be worked out through the sequence.

(5) It should append a bibliography, virtually complete, of the primary and secondary works concerned with the subject area.

(6) It should be of sufficient length to satisfy the five conditions listed above. The prospectus length should be 12-16 pages, not including bibliography. A committee signature form is required to document the committee’s approval of the student’s prospectus.

Although the prospectus should not be tentative in manner, the project will be open to modifications.  Unless, in the judgment of the committee, these modifications amount to an essential change in the thesis or purpose of the dissertation, revision of the prospectus will not be required, though the committee may ask for explanation of unexpected directions which a dissertation may take. 

A recommended timeline is as follows:

1) The student is encouraged to submit to his/her committee a tentative plan for the dissertation any time before the comprehensive examination. 

2) The student should secure approval of the prospectus for the dissertation by the next semester following the comprehensive examination.

3) After securing approval from his/her dissertation committee members, the student should provide a copy of the prospectus with the signature form to the Director of Graduate Studies.


4.19 Application for Dissertation Fellowship

Ph.D. students who have passed their comprehensive examination are eligible to apply for fourth- and fifth-year dissertation fellowships. The applicant should submit a cover letter, a dissertation prospectus, and a committee signature form documenting its approval (see “The Dissertation Prospectus” above for details). To ensure that dissertation committee members have ample time to read their prospectuses before signing their approval, students applying for fellowships must submit their prospectuses to their dissertation committee members by March 1, or the next business day thereafter. The deadline for submitting dissertation fellowship applications to the Dissertation Fellowship Committee is on April 1, or the next business day thereafter. There will be a call for applications in early spring.  Dissertation fellowship recipients will present their work-in-progress at a departmental symposium during the spring term of their awards

4.20 The Dissertation

The candidate for a doctorate is required to submit a dissertation incorporating original research.  The dissertation should constitute a definite contribution to knowledge of sufficient importance to warrant its publication.


4.21 The Final Examination (Dissertation Defense)

The Final Examination will consist of the candidate’s defense of the dissertation. The student’s application to take the examination must be approved by the English Department Director of Graduate Studies and by the Dean of the Graduate School at least 10 business days prior to the examination.  The examining committee is the student’s dissertation committee, with the dissertation director acting as chair.  Members of the graduate faculty will be invited to attend.

For the candidate to be approved for the degree, three of the four members of the committee must approve the final examination.

4.22 Depositing the Dissertation

The student must obtain the Guide for Writing Theses and Dissertations from The Graduate School or its web site (http://blogs.miamioh.edu/miamipolicies/?p=2756) and format the dissertation in accordance with the instructions in the guide.  Students will deposit their dissertations as pdf files electronically on the OhioLINK ETD Center. 

Corrected, final copies of the dissertation must be approved by a member of the Graduate School and deposited electronically at least 10 business days before the student’s commencement date.  Commencement dates and the dates for application for graduation are published each year on the Graduate School and Commencement Office websites.

Students are advised to allow sufficient time after the defense to make any necessary revisions and to arrange for a format check with a member of the Graduate School before depositing the dissertation.  Requests may be made to the Graduate School for Delay of Publication of one to five years. 

Section 5 Dissertation Fellowships:  Eligibility and Application Requirements 

Doctoral students may apply for dissertation fellowships sponsored by the Graduate School and the Department of English.

One Graduate School-funded dissertation fellowship is available to students entering their third or fourth year of the doctoral program during the term of the award.  This fellowship is for two semesters of support.   The Dissertation Fellowship Committee with the consent of the Dean of the Graduate School and the Graduate Committee may determine how the Graduate School funded dissertation fellowship will be awarded if no applications from those eligible to apply are received.

The departmentally funded Academic Challenge and Sinclair dissertation fellowships are available to Ph.D. students entering their fifth year or beyond.  The Dissertation Fellowship Committee may choose to make the department fellowship awards for either one or two semesters.

To be eligible to apply for a dissertation fellowship, a student must have successfully passed the comprehensive examination and written a prospectus approved by his/her dissertation committee by the announced application deadline (April 1 or the first business day thereafter).

An application consists of a signed prospectus-approval cover sheet, a letter summarizing the project and a timeline for completing the dissertation, and a 12-16 page dissertation prospectus. 

The criteria for awarding the fellowships are:

1) the quality of the project as expressed in the prospectus, and

2) the likelihood that the applicant will complete the dissertation during the term of the award.

Dissertation fellowship recipients will present their work-in-progress at a departmental symposium during the spring term of their awards.

Section 6 Academic Procedures

6.1 Guidelines for Incomplete Grades

Because a student in a graduate course is sometimes unable to complete the work by the end of the semester, he or she may wish to request the grade of Incomplete.  The student should discuss the matter with the professor.  Should the professor agree to grant the Incomplete, they should then jointly fill out the contract for the Incomplete Grade: the student stating clearly the reason for requesting the Incomplete; and the professor stating the exact nature of the work to be completed, the date of completion, and the consequences of not completing the work by this date.  After they have completed the Contract, both sign it and the student submits it to the Director of Graduate Studies, who acknowledges the Contract by signing it, places the original in the student’s file, and sends copies to both the student and the professor.  Contracts are available in the department graduate office. 

Students and faculty should be aware that all graduate students at Miami University are required to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average. A grade of Incomplete calculates as “F” until an actual grade is recorded. Incompletes not removed during the first 12 weeks of the following academic term will be converted to a permanent grade of “F” on the student’s transcript.  If a student’s GPA falls below 3.0, the student will receive a warning letter from the Graduate School, allowing him/her to register for one additional semester to raise his/her GPA to the required 3.0.  A student whose GPA remains below 3.0 after completing an additional semester of coursework is subject to revocation of his/her assistantship, ineligibility for the Graduate Summer Scholarship, and academic dismissal from the Graduate School.

6.2 Credit/No Credit Options;

To receive “credit” in a credit/no credit course taken for graduate credit, a student must earn a grade of A or B.  If a grade of A or B is not earned, a student will receive no credit.

M.A. or Ph.D.

English 605, 606, and 607 are offered as credit/no credit rather than for a letter grade. Students must take all other classroom work offered by the Department of English for letter grades.

M.A. and Ph.D. students may take the courses in foreign language departments, 6l7 and 6l8 (Intensive Study for Graduate Students) on a credit/no credit basis.

Upon the request of a graduate student in English to the Director of Graduate Studies, the Department may request that another department permit an English student to register for credit/no credit. Ph.D. students who elect to take cognate courses may make use of this option.

6.3 Independent Study (“Special Problems”)

An Independent Study or “Special Problems” course is defined as one in which the content must be of a special nature¾one that is outside the subject matter of any other course offered by the department, at least during the academic year in which the special project is proposed.  The course is research-motivated and research-oriented¾the investigation of a particular problem culminating in an essay of the kind found in journals.  The following regulations for students and instructors apply:

(l) A student may register for Special Problems for l-6 credit hours, for no more than a total of 6 toward any one degree and for no more than one such course each semester. For Ph.D. students, only when circumstances clearly require it, one and only one independent-studies course will be permitted to substitute for a seminar, and only by petition to the Director of Graduate Studies.

(2) The student must submit his/her proposal to his/her program director by the last day of the fourteenth week of the preceding semester.

(3) Forms for the proposal are available from the Director of Graduate Studies.  On this form a student will provide the rationale for the course, a bibliography of the readings, and a general description of the proposed writing.

(4) An instructor may sponsor no more than three students during the school year.

6.4 Zero Credit-Hour Registration (English 701.Z)

Students who no longer hold a graduate award but who are actively working toward completing degree requirements may maintain their student status by registering for a zero credit course, ENG 701.z. It is the responsibility of the student who wishes to register for 701.z to contact his/her graduate program director to request such registration. Requests must be made prior to the semester in which the student wants to register.  Notices to students about scheduling advising appointments serve as reminders.  Students who are able to meet with their program directors for advising appointments are encouraged to do so; students who are not on site may submit written requests. A student asking for ENG 701.z registration must provide an electronic copy of a progress report to both his/her dissertation chair and graduate program director when making the request.

Section 7 Graduate Assistants (M.A.) and Teaching Associates (Ph.D.) in the Department of English

7.1 English 731: The Theory and Practice of Teaching College Composition

All new Graduate Assistants and Teaching Associates who teach composition must enroll in English 731, The Theory and Practice of Teaching College Composition (4 hours). 

The course examines and evaluates current methods and strategies for teaching college writing.  It emphasizes the classroom application of composition theory and research.  Major topics include the composing process, invention, argumentation, the sentence and the paragraph, testing and evaluation, recent research in composition, reading and writing, composition and literature, and the psychology of composing.

ENG 731 begins before the academic year gets under way—an intensive experience that is the student’s only academic responsibility during a three-week period.  We thereby equip our apprentice teachers for the task they will take on as teachers, and we are proud to be one of a small number of universities that provide such instruction in composition theory before new teachers enter the classroom. Only students who have passed 731 may teach in our program.

In exceptional circumstances, new students unable to attend the complete the summer course, but already having teaching experience, can petition the department’s Director of Graduate Studies and the Director of Composition for a postponement of the course, to be taken no later than the following summer.

7.2 Teaching Appointments

As the graduate appointee is both a student working toward a degree and a teacher instructing lower-division students, it is important that the conditions under which an appointment is made are clearly delineated so that the department may satisfy, in turn, its responsibilities to undergraduate students in its composition and literature courses and to graduate students who take up the role of college English teachers-in-training.

As a part-time member of the teaching staff of the department, the graduate appointee is subject to all the regulations of the department and the University in her/his teaching function, published in the Miami University Policy and Information Manual.  As a student of the University, the graduate appointee is bound to abide by the Code of Student Conduct, published in The Miami Bulletin: The Student Handbook and administered by the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution.  The Code prescribes disciplinary action (including suspension and dismissal from the University) for a variety of offenses. Students should be aware that such disciplinary action might be the basis for non-renewal of a graduate award.

Moreover, all students should be aware that a student arrested for one of the crimes of violence enumerated by the Ohio Revised Code (Appendix I of The Miami Bulletin: The Student Handbook) is subject to immediate suspension from the University; a student convicted of one of the 33 enumerated violent offenses is subject to automatic dismissal from the University.

All students should recognize that graduate awards are made on a year-by-year basis.  In accordance with Graduate School policy, they are renewed on the recommendation of the Chair, who will consult with the Directors of Graduate Study and College Composition before authorizing reappointments.  Decisions not to reappoint may be appealed to the Graduate Committee, which has approved the following with respect to renewal and withdrawal of graduate teaching appointments (1) Appointees participate in ENG 731 (see above); in the teaching workshops, ENG 606 and 607; mentoring, as described below; and in their teaching function are under the general supervision of the Director of College Composition.  All graduate appointees are, of course, subject to the supervision of the Chair of the department.  The graduate appointee must consistently hold scheduled class meetings, assign at least the minimum number of essays, grade them fairly and with helpful comments, and return them to the students, usually within a week.  All graduate appointees should also post and maintain reasonable office hours and be available for individual conferences. 

(2) Although M.A. students may be supported through the second year of study, and Ph.D. students through their fourth year of study beyond the M.A., all appointments are made for one year only.  Graduate Assistants and Teaching Associates will be denied reappointment, and in unusual circumstances will be subject to termination of a current appointment, for failing to (a) maintain a satisfactory student record; (b) comply with the Code of Student Conduct; (c) observe good teaching practices as outlined in this handbook, the Graduate School’s Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty, and other publications; or (d) meet the basic responsibilities of their teaching function—i.e., meeting classes, assigning an appropriate amount of writing, returning work to students promptly, completing required teaching workshops, and mentoring.

(3) Miami University requires that student evaluations of instructors be administered in all classes. 

7.3 GA/TA Review Procedure

(a) The Directors of Composition and Graduate Studies will review each GA’s or TA’s teaching evaluations and grades as soon as they become available after the conclusion of the fall semester, and the evaluations and grades of the spring semester if the person then held an appointment.

(b) They will then meet to exchange any information relevant to the student’s academic or teaching performance.

(c) The Directors will schedule a meeting with the Chair in the spring, before she/he authorizes any reappointments, to inform her/him of the findings of their review.

(d) In accordance with Graduate School policy, the Chair “will inform the student in writing” if the Directors find “deficiencies in the award holder’s performance.  The award holder will be given a reasonable period of time to demonstrate that the problem or deficiency has been overcome.  Termination will not normally occur without documented efforts to bring about improvement...” (A Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty).

(e) The Directors will meet again to review teaching evaluations, mentoring reports (if any) and grades as soon as they become available after the conclusion of the spring semester.

7.4 Mentoring

The English department graduate programs encourage cooperation and collaboration between faculty and graduate students.  Mentoring occurs in multiple contexts:

All new Graduate Assistants and Teaching Associates are mentored through the first year of teaching by the Director and Assistant Directors of Composition

All graduate students are advised during their two years of course work by the Director of Graduate Studies, as well as by other advisors listed below:

  • Master's students in composition and rhetoric have an assigned advisor, in addition to the DGS
  • Master's students in Creative Writing in their second year may choose to participate in the mentoring program to teach English 226 (see 9.1 below)   
  • Doctoral students, in addition to the DGS, have an assigned First-year Advisor, who will mentor them through the first three semesters and then be replaced by the student's Examination and later Dissertation Committee Chair and members.
          
  • Doctoral students in literature in their third year and beyond may choose to participate in the Literature Mentoring program (see Section 9.2).

In addition to these opportunities for mentoring, a faculty mentor, the Director of Graduate Studies, or a student may request that a student be mentored. Such a request begins by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies, who will match a faculty member with the student, based on their mutual fields of interest.  This is especially recommended for graduate students who do not hold an assistantship or have one outside the department of English; for International students; and for second year graduate students. 

Section 8 Teaching and Professionalization Opportunities

In addition to first-year composition courses, graduate student instructors in good standing are provided with the opportunity to teach other courses within their fields.  Graduate students may also apply for a number of other graduate assistantships (M.A. level) and associateships (Ph.D. level), some administrative or research in nature and some combining such responsibilities with teaching, which are awarded on a competitive basis to students in good standing in the graduate program. 

Graduate students in all programs are encouraged to apply for a variety of supplemental professional positions, including assessment activities and editorial boards of department publications, and to serve on appropriate department committees.

8.1 Additional Teaching Opportunities

Third-year Teaching Associates in the Ph.D. in Literature program may apply to the Literature Apprenticeship Program (see below); after completing it, they may apply to teach a 100-level literature survey as part of their course load. Doctoral students in Composition/Rhetoric may apply to teach writing courses other than first-year composition. Ph.D. students are encouraged to incorporate their teaching interests and plans into their required Course of Study.  Teaching Associates should state their course number preference(s) on the Teaching Schedule Preferences forms distributed each semester.

Graduate student instructors in the Department of English also have had the opportunity to teach or co-teach introductory courses in interdisciplinary programs such as American Studies, Black World Studies, Film Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Second-year Graduate Assistants in the Master of Creative Writing program may apply to teach ENG 226, the introductory undergraduate creative writing course.  A Call for Applications will be distributed to eligible students during second semester of their first year.  During their second years, candidates will train with creative writing faculty mentors in the fall semester to teach their own section of 226 during the spring semester.

8.2 Literature Apprenticeship Program

Doctoral students wishing to teach 100-level literature courses must first complete a required one-semester apprenticeship with a tenure-track or tenured professor before teaching the literature survey course.  The apprenticeship may be completed any time before the apprentice first teaches his or her own section of the course. Apprenticeships are designed to assure the quality of instruction in 100-level courses, to give graduate students practical training in the teaching of literature surveys, and to provide graduate students with a faculty contact who can write a detailed letter in support of their teaching. Potential apprentices are strongly encouraged to apply to teach in the area of their scholarly expertise.  The department expects doctoral candidates to apprentice in the actual course they will teach, except in the case of unusual staffing conflicts. Thus, potential apprentices are encouraged to apply, well in advance of their initial teaching semester, for an apprenticeship with an appropriate member of the graduate faculty in an appropriate class.  Advance planning is ultimately the responsibility of the graduate student. In addition to being an apprentice for the course, the graduate student will also be a grader, marking and assessing up to 50% of the written material for the course. Both faculty members and graduate students who participate in this program will receive a $500 research account. 

The mentor-apprentice relationship will be based on the following expectations.

The student apprentice will:

  • Attend the course throughout the semester.
  • Develop his/her own syllabus in consultation with mentor.
  • Develop a set of course materials and assignments in consultation with mentor.
  • Lead class or a portion of class on several occasions and receive feedback from mentor.
  • Assess and mark up to 50% of student writing in the class.
  • Meet at least bi-monthly with mentor for conversations about teaching strategies, pedagogical philosophy, the course, etc.

The faculty mentor will:

  • Be available for to consult regularly with apprentice.
  • Offer the apprentice opportunities to lead class.
  • Provide guidance for and constructive criticism of the apprentice’s original syllabus and course material.
  • Oversee the assessment of undergraduates and ensure that the apprentice’s assessment is fair, sensitive, and effective. 
  • Make two visits to the apprentice’s class during his or her initial teaching semester.  Evaluate the apprentice’s performance and offer constructive feedback.

8.3 Other Assistantship Opportunities

Most Calls for Applications are posted during second semester for positions beginning the following academic year.

Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies

The assistant’s primary responsibility is to work with the Associate Chair for Under-graduate Studies to provide academic advising for undergraduate English majors and prospective students.  The position is half time, 20 hours per week each semester and open to students in the Ph.D. program.

Assistant Directors of the Howe Writing Initiative 

Three Howe TAs work, alongside the Howe Professor, with faculty in the Richard T. Farmer School of Business Administration to integrate writing instruction throughout the business curriculum.  The Howe Writing Initiative, initiated with the arrival of the Howe Professor in 1996, introduces doctoral students to another disciplinary context for writing instruction.  Each position is half time, 20 hours per week during the semester the TA has no teaching duties, and 10 hours per week during the semester when the TA teaches one course; open to advanced Ph.D. students in composition and rhetoric.

Assistant Directors of College Composition 

The assistant directors co-teach, with the Director of College Composition, ENG 731, 606 and 607. They design and lead workshops for new composition instructors each semester, work with the teacher/mentor program, assist in the ongoing development of first-year composition curricula, and perform other administrative duties related to the composition program; open to advanced Ph.D. students.

Assistant Directors of the Howe Student Center for Writing Excellence

The assistant directors work with faculty in a variety of departments to increase the quantity and quality of writing in their classes and with undergraduate and graduate students who strive to improve their writing.  Through seminars, consultations, and other activities that foster a culture of writing, the Center offers a writing-across-the-curriculum resource for the entire university.  The positions are half-time, 20 hours per week, with administrative and research responsibilities and no teaching duties; open to qualified students in all university graduate programs.

Research Graduate Assistantships

On occasion, English Department faculty engaged in special projects within the department, the college, or the university as a whole may receive support for a graduate student assistant at the GA (M.A.) or TA (Ph.D.) level.  Such positions may be administrative, creative, research, or technical in nature, and are usually appointments for one academic year.  Past RGA opportunities have included organizing the department’s biennial Institute conference, assisting the founder/editor of the online Poetess Archive with coding and website management, and conducting archival research for the Myaamia Project on Miami Tribe language preservation.

Other University Assistantships

Information about assistantships in other departments and university organizations is available from the graduate programs office and from Academic Personnel.  

8.4 Assessment, Editing, Publishing

Graduate students in the English Department are encouraged to participate in a variety of professional activities sponsored by or affiliated with the department.  Many are compensated by salary or by professional expense accounts, and some are volunteer positions; all provide valuable extracurricular experience.

Portfolio Program

The Miami University Portfolio Writing Program enables newly admitted undergraduate students to submit a portfolio of their writing for evaluation for first-year composition course credit.  Graduate students and faculty score the portfolio submissions during rating sessions early each summer.  Graduate students also serve as program assistant and coordinating committee members, working with the Program Director to establish assessment parameters, coordinate the rating sessions, and conduct training for portfolio raters.  Graduate students also serve as editor and co-editors of the annual Best of Miami University’s Portfolios book.

Composition Program Publications

The composition program publishes two books which are required texts in first-year composition classes: College Composition at Miami, an annual collection of original Miami student writing, and the English 111 Reader, a collection of previously published essays and other work appropriate to the composition program theme. Graduate students work with the Director of Composition as Editor, Assistant Editor, and Editorial Board members to select content and manage production of these publications and the accompanying Teacher’s Guide for composition instructors.

Oxford Magazine

Oxford Magazine is a web-based literary magazine edited and published annually by graduate students in the Department of English.  Students serve as managing editor, genre editors, readers, interviewers, and webmaster for each issue.  Fiction, poetry and nonfiction submissions are accepted from published and unpublished writers September through January.  The staff of Oxford Magazine also organize and sponsor readings by creative writing graduate students and faculty.  

Meshworks: Miami University Archive of Writing in Performance 

Meshworks is a website created and edited by several English Department creative writing faculty and graduate students. The site features video and audio files of multi-modal writing and writing in performance. It includes poetry readings and performances and readings of work in other genres by faculty, students, and visiting writers at the university, and it includes a selection of invited performances by Miami faculty and students in other locations. Plans to expand Meshworks include descriptions of readings, commentary concerning writing and performance in a range of modes and genres, and commentary concerning the problems of documenting and archiving writing in and as performance.

8.5 University Policy Regarding G.A.s and T.A.s

(l) As of Spring 2011, Teaching Associates must carry a minimum of 9 hours of academic work per semester and ordinarily teach 9 to 12 [credit] hours per academic year.

(2) Graduate Assistants must carry a minimum of 9 hours of academic work and a maximum of 15 hours per semester and ordinarily perform teaching [or other] duties occupying l8-20 hours per week each semester. Students may petition the Graduate School, with the DGS’s support, to enroll in additional hours.

(3) Satisfactory progress towards the degree must be maintained in order to assure continuance as an assistant or associate.  Satisfactory progress means carrying no fewer than 9 graduate credit hours per semester while a graduate appointee, maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, and fulfilling academic requirements for the degree as determined by the department or program.  Failure to achieve such progress, as well as the failure to perform assigned duties satisfactorily, may result in the revocation of the award.

(4) Graduate appointees must be supervised by senior faculty.

(5) Graduate appointees must be familiar with and comply with University regulations about instruction.

(6) Graduate appointees may not take on additional university employment during the course of their assistantship.  In special instances, graduate assistants may work up to a maximum of 5 additional hours per week in the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, the Howe Writing Initiative, or as studio instructors for the College Composition program. These appointments must be petitioned by the HWI, HCWE, and CC program and are subject to approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.  The petition come from the HWI, HCWE, and CC program to the DGS of English and then up to the Graduate School at the beginning of each semester.

Section 9 Funding for Graduate Student Activities

The Department of English supports its graduate students in good standing by helping to fund professional and scholarly endeavors with the Graduate Education Enrichment Fund, described below.  When appropriate, eligible students are strongly encouraged to seek funds from other Miami University sources designed to support specific activities such as conference participation and thesis/dissertation research.  Information about many such sources is included in this section.  The Office for the Advance of Research and Scholarship (OARS) maintains an extensive list of internal and external funding sources and application dates on its website.

9.1 The Graduate Education Enrichment Fund (GEEF)

Each year the English Department receives an allocation from the Dean of Arts and Science for the enrichment of its graduate programs.  The Graduate Education Enrichment Fund (GEEF) is managed by an administrator appointed by the Graduate Committee; the student representative to the Graduate Committee also serves as liaison to GEEF.  Funds are used, primarily, in three ways: first, to support Ph.D. students who must travel to job interviews; second, to support travel and other expenses directly connected to Ph.D. dissertation research; third, to support graduate students who travel to present papers at professional conferences.  Requests for GEEF support from graduate students whose needs do not conform to the preceding priorities will be considered on the bases of merit and available funds.  The maximum GEEF funding for any graduate student during one academic year has been set in recent years at $500.

Graduate students will be asked to make their interview, research, and conference plans, even if plans are tentative, known to the GEEF administrator by the date indicated on a form sent out each fall semester by the GEEF administrator.  When graduate students apply for travel fund reimbursement from GEEF, requests from students who have provided advance notification (i.e., by the due date) will be favored.

To receive GEEF support, a student must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a graduate student in good standing in the English Department:  in the MA program, enrolled in courses or credit hours leading to the degree; in the Ph.D. program, enrolled in courses or credit hours leading to the degree; have current and active affiliation with the English Department or its affiliates on the Miami campuses as a TA, Dissertation Fellow, or instructor under contract; making significant documented progress toward degree completion.  Ph.D. students who meet none of these criteria, and are more than 7 years beyond matriculation in the program will not be funded.  [Job Searches that meet the GEEF funding criteria (described below) are not subject to this limitation.]
  • Supply relevant budget information about expenses, and a brief rationale to the GEEF administrator, so that he/she can decide whether and to what extent the proposal can be funded.
  • Present required documentation such as original receipts to the GEEF administrator for reimbursement.

The various facets of the program are described on the next page.

Job Searches

Because job placement of Ph.D. students seeking college teaching positions is the first priority of the department’s policies on GEEF support, the GEEF administrator will support travel by job candidates to interviews at individual colleges and universities or at conferences (e.g., MLA). Ph.D. student requests for funds to defray the costs of sending job applications will also be considered.

Research Support

The English Department encourages and through GEEF provides limited support of graduate students’ on- and off-campus research.  As noted below, the Graduate School also provides funds for thesis and dissertation research expenses, and the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, 102 Roudebush Hall, provides information on external and internal grants and research opportunities for specific projects.  Graduate students should optimize their research funding by seeking support for research activities from these venues before, or in addition to, seeking funds from GEEF.

The GEEF administrator will consider requests for funds applicable to theses and dissertations, such as copying original documents, and the purchase of material (such as copied dissertations from University Microfilms) not held by our library (if purchased, these materials will be placed in the library collection after the graduate student has completed the research project).  GEEF will not cover the cost of copying chapters or proposals.  Graduate students may also request funding when study of texts and manuscripts in or outside the U.S. is directly related to the completion of an M.A. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation.

Professional Travel

It is the policy of the English Department to encourage its graduate students to attend and to present papers at professional meetings.  Consequently Graduate Education Enrichment Funds will be used to help defray the cost of travel to professional meetings.  Priority will be given to activities in the following order: (l) presentation of a paper at a national conference; (2) presentation of a paper at a regional conference; (3) participation on a panel as chair or speaker; (4) attendance at a conference.

9.2 English Department Doctoral Program Job Interview Travel Grants

The Department of English will contribute funding for transportation to MLA for job interviews.  Requests for travel funding to other venues for job interviews will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.  The availability of funds and maximum allocation will be announced to Job Placement Committee participants each fall.

  • Applicants must have at least one job interview at MLA.  [Travel Grants will not be provided for those who wish just to attend the conference.] 
  • Applicants must be doctoral program students or doctoral program graduates and have current, active affiliation with the English Department or its affiliates on the Miami campuses as a TA, Dissertation Fellow, or instructor under contract.
  • Funding is specifically for transportation expenses.  (GEEF and other sources may be used for related expenses as allowed by those sources, e.g., lodging, meals.) 
  • Grant recipients must obtain prior approval from the graduate programs office before making their transportation arrangements.  

9.3 Graduate School/Graduate Student Association Travel Fund

The Graduate School Travel Fund will match funding provided by the student’s department up to $250 for paper, poster, or panel presentation at conferences. Applications are considered three times each year and will be simultaneously considered for funding by the Graduate School and the Graduate Student Association. Applicants must show proof of conference participation and of department funding.  Students may make one funding request each allocation period; first requests will be given priority over second and third requests.  Funds provide reimbursement for registration, lodging, and travel expenses.

Guidelines, the application form, and application dates are available online.

9.4 Graduate Student Achievement Awards

The Graduate Council provides awards of up to $300 for “significant achievement in research and creative activity by graduate students.”  The awards are made on a competitive basis to recognize achievement external to the university, such as presentation of a paper at a regional or national conference with a formal review process.  Application deadlines are early November and early March.

Eligibility and submission guidelines and an application form are available from the department graduate office or the Graduate School, 102 Roudebush Hall.

9.5 Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Research Support

The Graduate School funds expenses associated with research for a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation; maximum awards are $300 for M.A. students and $600 for Ph.D. students.  There is no application form, but students should submit a brief description of the project, an explanation of why the funds are necessary, and a tentative budget.  Students must also submit a letter of support from their advisor. Requests should be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School by early November and early April.

Specific deadline dates and more information are available on the Graduate School website. 

9.6 Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET)

CET and the Graduate School provide small grants up to $300 for graduate award-holders to develop individual teaching skills and to supplement departmental support for seminars on teaching.  Grants are intended to fund modest projects designed to increase graduate student teaching effectiveness and their students’ learning.  Examples include travel support for first-time attendance at a teaching conference; purchase of new experimental software for a course or lab; or bringing in an off-campus expert to conduct a pedagogy seminar.  Proposals are due October 15, February 15, and May 15; urgent requests may be submitted any time. More information and the application form is available online at 

9.7 Student-Faculty Discourse Fund

This fund (formerly known as the Popcorn Fund) provides opportunities for instructors and undergraduates to meet informally in out-of-class settings. Reimbursement is at the rate of  $4.00 per student for up to 25 students, or the total cost involved, whichever is less.  Each instructor may be reimbursed up to $200 per fiscal year.

Applications must be submitted prior to the event for consideration.  Contact the Parents Office (9-3436) to obtain a request form prior to the event.

Section 10 Department Graduate Committees and Organizations

10.1 Student Representation on Department Committees

The Department of English has student representation on the Committee on College Composition (one Teaching Associate and one Graduate Assistant) and its various curriculum subcommittees and on the Portfolio Committee.  Two doctoral program students serve as representatives on the Graduate Committee, and two graduate students serve as representatives to department meetings.  Graduate students are elected to the committees by their fellow students at the beginning of the fall semester.  Graduates students may also serve on various departmental ad hoc committees.

10.2 Graduate Committee

The Graduate Committee is composed of members of the graduate faculty of the department appointed by the Chair.  The committee is chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies in the department.  Two doctoral students in English are voting members of the committee, though they do not participate in the considerations of petitions of individual students. 

The function of the committee is to create, evaluate, and legislate the graduate programs in English.  It determines departmental degree requirements and other matters related to the graduate program as a whole; it receives reports concerning the program and progress of individual students; it hears the petitions of individual students, including appeals concerning master’s and doctoral examinations; it reviews applications for readmission; it approves doctoral student Course of Study proposals; and it evaluates Ph.D. students at the end of their first year, allowing or denying permission to proceed in the program. 

The committee reports to the graduate faculty of the department by publication of its agenda and minutes and, when necessary, at departmental meetings.  Meetings are open to all members of the graduate faculty and to graduate students.

Members of the Graduate Committee also make up several subcommittees: the Admissions Committee reviews all graduate applications and awards graduate assistantships, teaching associateships, and dissertation scholarships; the Awards Committee administers the Carolyn Houtchens Award, the Spiro Peterson Award, and departmental awards of teaching excellence, and the Dissertation Fellowship Committee reviews applications for and awards the Dissertation Fellowships.

10.3 Miami English Graduate and Adjunct Association (MEGAA)

The Miami English Graduate and Adjunct Association is an official University organization constituted of all graduate students currently enrolled in M.A., M.A.T., or the Ph.D. programs in the Department of English.  M.E.G.A.A. elects members to serve on departmental committees, organizes special guest lectures, consults on graduate offerings, assists with campus visit arrangements for prospective and newly admitted graduate students, and sponsors an annual Graduate Student Symposium as well as social events.  The organization has no specific charge but rather serves to articulate the intellectual and political views and social concerns of all graduate students to the department.  The organization runs a listserv for discussion and announcements. Listserv subscription instructions.

Section 11 Degree Completion

11.1 Time Limits for M.A. and Ph.D. Degrees

According to A Handbook for Graduate Students and Faculty, Master of Arts or Master of Arts in Teaching students must complete the required coursework and earn the master’s degree within 5 years after their first course registration as a graduate student.

Ph.D. students must pass the comprehensive examination within 7 years after completing their first course in the doctoral program.  Upon passing the comprehensive examination, the student is formally admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.  The student must complete the dissertation and sit for the dissertation defense within 5 years of admission to candidacy.

Time limits apply to both full-time and part-time degree-seeking students. 

11.2 Graduation Procedures

The Graduate School requires that all theses, internship reports, research project reports, dissertations, degree examination results, grade changes, etc., be deposited 10 business days prior to commencement.  Extensions past this date may be granted upon petition to the Graduate Council.

All degree candidates must apply for graduation and pay the fee even if they do not participate in the Commencement ceremony.  Candidates should consult the Commencement Office website for application deadlines.

If graduation requirements are not met, the University will either refund the fee or carry it as a credit to be used whenever the student does graduate.  The student must notify the Commencement Office to update the application and will have to pay a reapplication fee.

11.3 Academic Job Placement

A committee on graduate job placement and other members of the English Department will counsel job seekers on the search process, including preparation of application letters, curriculum vitae, and other materials.  A good source of help will be the student’s thesis or dissertation advisor.  The department and its Graduate Committee will support their efforts in every practicable way. The Department subscribes to the MLA Job Information List and The Chronicle of Higher Education (both on-line and print versions).  Job announcements are posted regularly on department bulletin boards and are sent by e-mail to students on the job market.

The placement coordinators will schedule a series of meetings with job seekers starting in September to discuss preparation of materials, mock interviews, and practice research and/or teaching presentations.  Typically students planning to do an academic job search should prepare a curriculum vitae, application letter, Teaching Portfolio (teaching philosophy, sample syllabi and assignments; evidence of teaching effectiveness), a dissertation abstract, and a writing sample (a polished chapter or two from the dissertation).  Students should also secure three to six letters of recommendation, including one from the dissertation director and from faculty able to testify to teaching effectiveness and otherwise to support candidacy for professional employment.

Students planning to seek a teaching position should establish a credential file.  Effective July 2008, the Office of Career Services has contracted with Interfolio, a secure online service, to maintain confidential credential files for students on the job market.  Students will establish Interfolio accounts for their credential files to include their confidential letters of recommendation and curriculum vitae, as well as optional material such as writing samples, teaching evaluations, and transcripts.  Information and instructions for establishing accounts is available from the Director of Graduate Studies or from the Office of Career Services.

Student should make sure to keep their credential files up to date as necessary.

Assessment Plan for English MA Degree

Program Information
Academic Program (Major, Degree Name): English
Degree: MA in English
Department or Program: English
Division: College of Arts and Science
Academic Year (when the plan will begin, or "already in progress") – Spring 2014
Contact Person
Madelyn Detloff
Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor
English Department
detlofmm@miamioh.edu
513.529.1395
Program Mission Statement

The MA program in English provides the platform for intensive study of literature, composition
and rhetoric, or creative writing in the English language and provides preparation for advanced
study or work in related fields.                                 

Student Learning Outcomes

Expertise: Students will demonstrate a breadth of knowledge about the texts, genres,
theoretical concerns, and historical/cultural contexts of their chosen field of study. 

Communication: Students will demonstrate their ability to compose written and oral
arguments using the research methods, critical texts, and creative work appropriate to their field of study.
Preparation: Students will develop professional experience necessary to continue their
pursuits through a terminal degree in their chosen field of study or work commensurate to
their expertise in English literature, creative writing, or composition and rhetoric.  For
purposes of assessment, a reading or presentation at a regional or local conference (or venue
for creative writing performance) will be considered a measure of professional experience. 
Means of Assessment
Data Collection: 

Data will be collected at three stages:  1.) the MA reading list approval stage;
2.) the comprehensive exam stage; and 3.) the post-graduation exit information stage.  

Direct, Course-Embedded Assessment

Coursework will contribute to students’ preparation for the reading list
submission and comprehensive exam.  However, program-wide assessment
will take place outside of the classroom context via the reading list,
comprehensive MA exam, and exit information collection. 
Scoring

Rubrics for Expertise and Communication are included in appendices C
and D. The graduate committee will fill out the rubric for Expertise upon
reviewing students’ MA exam reading lists.  Students’ MA committees will
fill out the rubric for Communication after students complete the MA exam.

Preparation outcomes will be assessed through a report based on exit
information. Upon graduation or exit from the program students will be
asked for an updated CV and a one sentence description of their future
plans (e.g. “I will be entering a PhD program at ABC,” or “I am teaching high
school at XYZ,” or “I am writing a novel and working at DEF”).  The number
of graduated students’ presentations at conferences (or other presentation
venues for creative writing) will be tabulated and the percentage of
students who have gone on to PhD or MFA programs will be analyzed and
reported. 
Indirect Assessment (Perceptions of Student Learning)

Indirect assessment will take place during the departmental program
review cycle, when recent graduates of the MA program will be asked to list
their current  position and to provide narrative details about how well their
MA from Miami University prepared them for continued success.
Completing the Package
Feedback Loop
Aggregate findings will be shared via a short report every year. The
Graduate Committee will discuss the findings and make suggestions for
programmatic modifications, if necessary, based on aggregate scores. 
Timetable
We will begin assessing the learning outcomes for the MA degree in spring 2014.
Prior Approvals: Pending the November 13 Graduate Committee meeting.
Available Data: No

Communication
RUBRIC for MA 
in Lit and CR

Level 1
Inadequate MA
exam
Level 2
Barely adequate
MA exam
Level 3
Good MA exam
Level 4
Superb MA
exam
Written Argumentation Main claims are not relevant
or insufficiently articulated.
Transitions are missing or
disorganized.  

Main claims are
relevant but
insufficiently
articulated or
supported. 
Transitions 
are weak.

Main claims are relevant
and coherently articulated
and supported with ample,
well synthesized examples. 
Transitions provide coherence
and move the argument forward. 

Main claims are, original,
relevant, eloquently
articulated and
supported with
convincing, well
synthesized examples. 
Transitions provide
coherence and
move the argument forward. 
Analysis of examples 
in written commmunication
Few or irrelevant examples
included in argument, or
examples cited out of context,
or examples dropped into essay without relevant analysis. 
Relevant examples
are cited but not fully analyzed
and synthesized
within the overall argument. 
Some, but not many, dropped quotations. 

Relevant examples are cited and fully analyzed and synthesized within
the overall argument. 

Persuasive examples are cited and fully analyzed and synthesized in a unique and compelling manner within an original argument. 
Demonstrated 
knowledge of field
(overall written and
oral combined)
Knowledge of field
specific information,
contexts, and texts is
shaky and/or inaccurate. 
Knowledge of field
specific information,
contexts, and texts
is adequate. 
Knowledge of field specific information, contexts, and texts is extensive. Knowledge of field specific information, contexts, and texts extensive and insightful. 
Oral Communication Delivery techniques
(posture, gesture, eye
contact, and vocal
expressiveness) detract from the understandability
of the arguments, and
speaker appears uncomfortable.
Delivery techniques
(posture, gesture,
eye contact, and vocal expressiveness)
make the arguments
understandable, and speaker appears tentative.
Delivery techniques (posture, gesture, eye contact, and vocal expressiveness) make the arguments  interesting, and speaker appears comfortable. Delivery techniques (posture, gesture, eye contact, and vocal expressiveness) make the arguments  compelling, and speaker appears polished and confident.
Analysis of examples
in oral
communication
Information is
taken from source(s)
without adequate
interpretation, evaluation,
and contextual detail. 
Information
is taken from source(s) with some interpretation,
evaluation, and contextual
detail, but not enough to develop a coherent analysis or synthesis.
Information from source(s) is woven into critical interpretation, evaluation, and contextual detail in order to develop a coherent analysis or synthesis.

Information from source(s) is woven into critical and original interpretation, evaluation and contextual detail in order to develop a comprehensive analysis or synthesis.  

EXPERTISE
RUBRIC for MA
in ENGLISH Lit
and CR
Level 1
A poor reading 
list and 
rationale
Level 2
An adequate
reading list and
rationale
Level 3
A good reading
list and
rationale

Level 4
A superb 
reading list and
rationale

Contextualization of
Research

Rationale is poorly developed and/or fails to make relevant connections between current intellectual concerns in the field and the works on the reading list. 

Rationale is adequately developed and makes relevant, adequately articulated connections between current intellectual concerns in the field and the works on the reading list.

Rationale is fully developed and makes relevant, clearly articulated connections between current intellectual concerns in the field and the works on the reading list.

Rationale is fully developed and makes relevant, clearly articulated connections between current intellectual concerns in the field and the works on the reading list.

Comprehensiveness Texts are not relevant to field of study or do not promise a breadth of knowledge in the field or range of forms and genres representative of the field.  Texts are relevant to field of study and promise a sufficient breadth of knowledge in the field or range of forms and genres representative of the field. Texts are relevant and important to the field and promise a solid breadth of knowledge in the field or range of forms and genres representative of the field. Texts are relevant and important to the field and promise a solid breadth of knowledge in the field or range of forms and genres representative of the field.
Demonstration of
Knowledge of
intellectual field
Field is difficult to discern based on rationale and list.  Field is clearly communicated but underdeveloped by rationale.  Field is clearly communicated and compellingly described by rationale. Field is eloquently communicated and compellingly re-envisioned by rationale.

EXPERTISE RUBRIC
for MA in ENGLISH
Creative Writing

Level 1
A poor 
reading list 
and rationale
Level 2
An adequate 
reading list and
rationale
Level 3
A good reading 
list and
rationale
Level 4
A superb 
reading list and
rationale
Description of
Thesis
Thesis is difficult to discern based on the rationale. Thesis is clearly communicated but underdeveloped or not compelling. Thesis is clearly communicated and compellingly described, and the project itself seems well developed and compelling. Thesis is eloquently communicated and compellingly re-envisioned by the rationale, and the project itself seems well developed and compelling.
Contextualization Rationale is inadequately developed or fails to make relevant, clearly articulated connections between the thesis project and the works on the reading list Rationale is adequately developed and makes relevant, clearly articulated connections between the thesis project and the works on the reading list.  Rationale is fully developed and makes relevant, clearly articulated connections between the thesis project and the works on the reading list.  Rationale is fully  and eloquently developed and makes relevant, clearly articulated connections between the thesis project and the works on the reading list. 
Demonstration of 
knowledge of works
relevant to thesis
genre.
Does not successfully argue that chosen texts will assist the writer to complete the project to a high quality. Adequately argues that chosen texts will assist the writer to complete the project to a high quality. Successfully argues that chosen texts will assist the writer to complete the project to a high quality. Successfully and eloquently  argues that chosen texts will assist the writer to complete the project to a high quality.

Assessment Plan for English PhD Degree

Program Information
Academic Program (Major, Degree Name): English
Degree: PhD in English
Department or Program: English
Division: College of Arts and Science
Academic Year (when the plan will begin, or "already in progress") – Fall 2013
Contact Person
Madelyn Detloff
Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor
English Department
detlofmm@miamioh.edu
513.529.1395
Program Mission Statement

The PhD program in English provides the opportunity for extensive study of literature in English and composition
and rhetoric, the completion of original scholarly work in an area of English studies, and the development
of pedagogical expertise in the teaching of writing, rhetoric, literature, and/or cultural analysis.                    

Student Learning Outcomes

Expertise: Students will demonstrate expert knowledge about the texts, genres,
theoretical concerns, and historical and cultural contexts of their chosen field of study. 

Communication: Students will demonstrate their ability to compose original scholarly
research that contributes to their chosen field of study. 
Preparation: Students will develop professional experience necessary to participate in the community of scholars,
teachers, and other professionals associated with the fields of literature, cultural studies, writing, and rhetoric.
For purposes of assessment, scholarly publication and/or presentation at national or international scholarly conferences
will constitute measures of professional preparation. 
Means of Assessment
Data Collection: 

Data will be collected at three stages:  1.) the PhD reading list approval stage;
2.) the PhD exam stage; and 3.) the post graduation exit information (CV and employment information) stage.  

Direct, Course-Embedded Assessment

Coursework will contribute to students’ preparation for the reading list
submission and comprehensive exam.  However, program-wide assessment
will take place outside of the classroom context via the reading list,
comprehensive exam, and exit informaiton (cv and employment self-reporting).

Scoring

Rubrics for Expertise and Communication are included in appendices A and B. The graduate committee will fill out the
the rubic for Expertise upon reviewing students' PhD exam reading list. Students' PhD committees will fill out the rubric
for Communication after the student completes the PhD exam.

Preparation outcomes will be assessed through a report based on exit information. Upon graduation or exit from the
program students will be asked for an updated CV and a one sentence description of their future plans (e.g. "I have a
tenure track job at XYZ" or "I have an adjunct position at ABC" or "I am looking for work at publishing firms," etc.). The
number of graduated students' publications and national or international conference presentations will be tabulated
and the percentage of students who have obtained academic employment will be analyzed and reported.

Indirect Assessment (Perceptions of Student Learning)

Indirect assessment will take place during the departmental program
review cycle, when recent graduates of the PhD program will be asked to list
their current academic positions (if any) and to provide narrative details about how well their
PhD from Miami University prepared them for continued success.