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Assistantships and Funding

Teaching Positions

Graduate Assistantships (GAs) in Teaching for Master's Students

The terms of a graduate assistantship in teaching for the master’s student in Composition/Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and Literature are that you would assume, for two semesters, half–time duties teaching first–year writing courses (ENG 111) and enroll in a half–time program of courses leading to the master’s degree.

In addition to the requirements listed for the various degrees offered by the department, ENG 731 (The Theory and Practice of Teaching College Composition) is required for Graduate Assistants and Teaching Associates teaching in the College Composition program.

For the 2023-24 year, the stipend for a GA is $17,481. The teaching load for GAs in their first year is normally two sections in the second semester, unless prior classroom experience enables them to teach one course each semester. Course enrollment is expected to be for nine graduate hours each semester. Graduate Assistantships are ordinarily renewable for a total service period of up to two years; second-year GAs teach three courses during the academic year. Continuation of a teaching appointment is at all times contingent upon maintaining a satisfactory academic record and observing good teaching practices. 

All graduate assistantships carry a stipend as well as a waiver of the instructional and out–of–state fees. A reduced General Fee, however, must be paid at each registration, including summer terms.

Although doctoral students typically have a greater range of teaching opportunities than master’s students, students in each program can request to teach advanced writing courses in their fields. For example, upon completing a creative-writing teaching practicum during their second semester of study, MFA students holding GAs are eligible to teach English 226, the introductory undergraduate creative writing course, in their second year in the program. Similarly, literature and composition & rhetoric MA students may be selected to teach English 225, Advanced Composition, during their second year.

Teaching Associateships (TAs) for Doctoral Students

The terms of a Teaching Associateship for the doctoral student are that for two semesters, you would assume half-time duties teaching the introductory writing course (ENG 111) and enroll in a half–time program of courses leading to the doctoral degree. For the 2023-24 year, the stipend for a TA is $24,205. The teaching load for the TA is normally three sections per year. Your course enrollment is expected to be for nine graduate hours each semester. Academic coursework is typically completed by the third year. All credit hours in subsequent years will be research and writing hours. Teaching Associateships are ordinarily renewable for a total service period of up to five years. Continuation of a teaching appointment is at all times contingent upon maintaining a satisfactory academic record and observing good teaching practices.

Within English, third–year Ph.D. students in Literature routinely teach one section of a 100–level literature survey as part of their three–course load, while doctoral students in Composition/Rhetoric frequently have the chance to teach other courses in their interest areas. In recent years, Ph.D. candidates have also contributed to interdisciplinary programs such as Women’s Studies, Black World Studies, and American Studies, and some have staffed undergraduate courses offered by the Department of Educational Leadership. Since 1993, several English doctoral students have served as the TA for the Women’s Studies Program, teaching sections of the Introduction to Women’s Studies, and also gaining administrative experience in an interdisciplinary setting.

University Policy Regarding TAs and GAs

  1. Teaching Associates must carry 9 hours of academic work per semester and ordinarily teach 9 to 12 [credit] hours per academic year.
  2. Graduate Assistants must carry 9 hours of academic work per semester and ordinarily perform teaching [or other] duties occupying l8–20 hours per week each semester.
  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 faculty and their performance is annually reviewed.
  5. Graduate appointees must be familiar with and comply with University regulations about instruction.

Administrative Positions

A number of other graduate assistantships and associateships, some administrative or research in nature and some which combine such responsibilities with teaching, are awarded on a competitive basis to students in the department. Most Calls for Applications are posted during second semester for assistantship positions beginning the following academic year.

With two positions open to advanced PhD students, Assistant Directors co-teach the teacher training course, English 731, and the spring teaching practicum alongside the Director of Composition; work with the teacher/mentor program; and perform other administrative duties related to the College Composition program. This administrative position bears no additional teaching responsibilities.

Graduate students also play other important roles in writing program administration. A team works together each summer to edit Rhethawks, the in-house publication that is required reading for all first-year writing students. Many participate as well in compiling the Teacher’s Guide on which new graduate teaching assistants rely in teaching first-year composition. And the Portfolio credit program involves doctoral students in every aspect of a process that culminates in a two-day holistic evaluation of writing portfolios submitted by incoming students for advanced placement.

Dissertation Fellowships

Dissertation fellowships are awarded each year by the Department of English. Doctoral students may apply for these fellowships that will be granted for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time. More information is forthcoming so please check back often.

The departmentally funded Sinclair dissertation fellowships are available to Ph.D. students entering their fourth, fifth, or sixth year. The Dissertation Fellowship Committee may choose to make the Sinclair 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 the dissertation committee by the announced application deadline (April 1 or the first business day thereafter).

An application consists of a cover letter summarizing the project and a timeline for completing the dissertation, and a 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.

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 PhD students who must travel to job interviews; second, to support travel and other expenses directly connected to PhD 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 August/ September 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.

GEEF Requirements

  • Be a graduate student in good standing in the English Department.
  • 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 original receipts to the GEEF administrator for reimbursement.

The various facets of the program are described below.

Job Searches

Because job placement of PhD students seeking 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). In addition, the GEEF administrator will consider requests for funds from PhD students to have resumes, letters, or vitae printed.

Research Support

The English Department encourages and through GEEF provides limited support of graduate students' on- and off-campus research. The Graduate School also provides funds for thesis and dissertation research expenses, and the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship 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 entertain requests for funds applicable to theses and dissertations, such as microfilming or copying original literary documents, and the purchase of material 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 MA thesis or PhD 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, GEEF 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.

Other Graduate Funding

Center for Teaching Excellence Grants

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) provides 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. There is a rolling deadline for submitting proposals.

Graduate Students' Achievement Award

Graduate students making satisfactory progress in a degree program and enrolled on a full- or part-time basis at the time of application are eligible to apply. The purpose of the fund is to recognize significant completed achievement in external (to the home department) research or creative activity. The awards will normally not exceed $300. Awards are supported by gifts from Alumni and friends of Miami University in the Miami University Fund.

Learn More

GSA Travel Fund

The GSA Travel Fund reimburses up to $150 in registration fees, or travel and lodging costs for meetings, conventions, conferences, and workshops sponsored by professional organizations. Priority is given to students attending conferences that are farther away and more expensive to attend. Priority is also given to students who do not receive a large reimbursement amount from their department. This fund cannot be used for research-related travel, trips to fulfill course requirements, or attendance at for-profit seminars.

Applicants may only receive one award per fiscal year. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and reviewed once a month, and must be submitted 30 days prior to travel to be considered for funding. If an application is not funded, the applicant may try again later and submit another application for a different conference or event.

Get the GSA Fund Application.

Thesis or Dissertation Research Support

The Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School will entertain requests for unusual expenses associated with a student’s research for the master’s thesis or the doctoral dissertation. There is no application form, but students must briefly describe their research project and explain why these expenses are necessary. A tentative budget must be included, and applications without a budget will not be considered. Students also must have the endorsement of their adviser or department chair. Endorsement should be included with the request for funding.

Awards will not exceed $300 for master’s students or $600 for doctoral students, and will often be less, depending on the demand. The Graduate School is currently accepting submissions.

Send requests to:

Check with the Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship for the latest deadlines and award opportunities