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Financial Support

Fellowships and teaching assistantships include full tuition and living stipend. Some, such as University Fellowships and African American Studies Fellowships, are offered in university-wide competition; others, such as teaching assistantships and five creative writing fellowships, are offered within the department. Five years’ financial support is available to Ph.D. candidates. Consult the Graduate School for further financial information.


Appointments - Eligibility and Responsibility:  M.A. candidates may hold appointments (assistantships) up to four semesters; and M.F.A. candidates (fellowships and/or assistantships) for up to six semesters; doctoral candidates may hold them (fellowships and/or assistantships) up to ten.

Re-appointment to an assistantship or initial appointment for persons who have previously held fellowships requires:

  • an overall graduate grade average of at least B (including incompletes which would count as an F);
  • no more than two incompletes;
  • successful completion of the appropriate exams.

Teaching Assistantships:  The department offers teaching appointments to both new and continuing students. M.F.A./M.A. students typically serve as teaching assistants in the Writing Program, where they are supervised by Writing Program faculty and are subject to Writing Program policies. Ph.D. students typically serve as teaching assistants in the English Department for two years before becoming teaching associates. Funding includes an academic-year award stipend (M.A./M.F.A. $14,825; Ph.D. $15,789) and a full-tuition scholarship for 24 credits for the academic year (9 credit hours in the fall; 9 in the spring; and 6 in the summer). Teaching assistants may receive appointments for a semester or an academic year. Renewal of an assistantship depends on good performance in teaching and other duties and in academic work.

Responsibilities of Teaching Assistants:
M.F.A./M.A. students who receive teaching assistantships are normally assigned to the Writing Program and must enroll in CCR 632: Studies in Writing Pedagogy the first semester of their first year. M.A. students will concurrently work for 10 hours per week as a Writing Consultant in the Writing Center their first semester, and then 20 hours per week in the second semester of the first year. M.F.A. students typically receive other forms of financial aid and do not have Writing Consultant or teaching duties during their first year, but are still required to take CCR 632. In their second year, M.A. and M.F.A. students are assigned to teach as instuctors in the Writing Program, where they have have full responsibility for no more than 60 students per year, in three sections. They are expected to attend regular staff meetings and workshops, to participate in advisory group sessions that meet approximately every two weeks, and to stay on campus through the end of each semester. There will also be ongoing mentorship and review of each teacher's performance.

Ph.D. students serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate lecture courses taught by full-time faculty in the English Department. The department currently offers introductory lecture courses in Shakespeare, British Literature 1789-present, film, popular culture, and new media. Lecture TAs typically run two 20-person discussion sections, write some assignments, do the grading for their discussion sections, and/or present an original lecture in the course. They receive ongoing mentorship and faculty review of their performance. Beginning in the third year, Ph.D. students typically become teaching associates, teaching courses of their own design in their own classrooms. For further details on teaching associates, click here.

Graduate students holding teaching assistantships in the Department of English for the first time are required to attend both the Graduate School All-University TA Orientation and Department of English TA Orientation during the two weeks before classes start. They are also required to meet with lecture course instructors for mentoring throughout the term and to stay on campus through the end of each semester.

Teaching Fellows

Teaching assistants have the option of applying to serve as Teaching Fellows for the Graduate School. Teaching Fellows are employed by the Graduate School's TA Program as staff for the summer All-University TA Orientation Program and other activities sponsored by the School throughout the academic year. More information is available on the Graduate School's TA Program website.


Summer Fellowships and Remitted Tuition:  

Summer Fellowships

The department offers several modest summer fellowships to persons who have held teaching assistantships or associateships during the preceding academic year. The awards are made by The College of Arts & Sciences, on the advice of the Graduate Committee (for M.A./Ph.D. students) or the Creative Writing Committee (for M.F.A. students), which invites applications during the spring semester. The strongest applicants — in terms of seniority, overall academic performance, and proposed summer project — are recommended for awards (currently $750.00). These Summer Fellowships provide support for some students; others may be appointed as teaching assistants or to other responsibilities in the department during the summer. However, it is not possible to provide financial support for all students, and it is usually April before arrangements can begin to be made.

Graduate assistants or associates who have completed a full year of service in the preceding academic year are entitled to 6 hours of remitted tuition in Summer Sessions; assistants who have completed one semester of service are entitled to 3 hours.

Joseph Hughes Memorial Summer Fellowship

The Joseph Hughes Memorial Summer Fellowship will provide financial support to a Ph.D. candidate in English involved in the dissertation process. The first fellowship will be awarded in 2017. For more information and details on how to apply, visit the Hughes Memorial Fellowship page.


University Fellowships:  These are awarded to M.F.A. and Ph.D. candidates. Three M.F.A. University Fellowships are awarded to new applicants of exceptional quality and determined by the Creative Writing Committee. One Ph.D. University Fellowship is awarded to a new applicant of exceptional quality and determined by the Graduate Committee. These awards go to new students in the form of multi-year "packages," in which fellowships and teaching assistantships are held in alternate years. The fellowships consist of an academic-year award stipend (Ph.D. $24,795; M.F.A. $19,580) and a full-tuition scholarship for 30 credits for the academic year. M.F.A. Applications should be filed by December 15, 2016; and Ph.D. Applications are to be filed by January 9, 2017.


Other Fellowships:  

African American Studies Fellowship
See the Syracuse University African American Studies Graduate Fellowships.

Benjamin Fellowship in Judaic Studies
For information about this award, contact Professor Ken Frieden.

Jacob and Valentina Hursky Ukrainian Graduate Fellowship
See the Jacob and Valentina Hursky Ukrainian Graduate Fellowship.

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Fellowship
See the McNair Scholar's Program.


Creative Writing Scholarships:  The department awards six of these: Two Cornelia Carhart Ward Scholarships (Fiction), Two Elise G. Mead Scholarship (Poetry), and three Creative Writing Scholarships. These scholarships include an academic-year award stipend (Cornelia $18,734; Mead $18,734; CWF $14,825) and a full-tuition scholarship for 24 credits for the academic year (12 credit hours per semester). Normally, these are awarded to new students and are not renewable.


Educational Benefits/Remitted Tuition:   Effective beginning with the Fall 2010 semester, an employee's spouse or same-sex domestic partner who qualifies for benefits under the University's Remitted Tuition Policy will receive a tuition waiver of 85 percent. Employees using remitted tuition benefits at Syracuse for themselves will continue to receive a full tuition waiver as long as they satisfy the requirements of the University's Remitted Tuition Policy. Remitted tuition benefits will not be offered to spouses and same-sex domestic partners of graduate assistants and fellows.

Graduate assistants and fellows are encouraged to determine whether they are eligible to claim the federal Lifetime Learning Tax Credit to help offset their share of tuition costs paid for a participating spouse or same-sex domestic partner (if claimed as a dependent on the tax return of the employee, graduate assistant or fellow). Visit the IRS and NAFSAA for information.

For more information, please refer to the Human Resources website at http://humanresources.syr.edu.


Graduate Prizes and Honors:  The English department and the University offer several prizes and honors each year to recognize outstanding accomplishments by graduate students.

English Department Awards
In Creative Writing, annual prizes for outstanding work by graduate students include, for poetry: the Joyce Carol Oates Award in Poetry and the Jeremy Lake Poetry Prize; and for fiction: the Joyce Carol Oates Award in Fiction and the Raymond Carver Memorial Award; and for nonfiction: the Joyce Carol Oates Award for Nonfiction. All are awarded in competitions held each spring.

The James Elson Prize recognizes outstanding teaching by a graduate assistant in a course in the English department.

Graduate School Prizes
The Graduate School makes several awards each year for outstanding doctoral dissertations and for excellence in master's-level work. From a university-wide competition, four awards—including a cash prize and certificate—are made at the doctoral dinner each May for outstanding Ph.D. dissertations. For consideration for this award, approved copy of the dissertation must be submitted by March 1. On the recommendation of the College, up to three Graduate School Master's Prizes may be awarded each year to M.A. and M.F.A. students in Arts and Sciences. This prize honors excellence in scholarship and research.

Outstanding TA Awards
The Outstanding Teaching Award was instituted to recognize TAs who have made a distinguished contribution to Syracuse University by demonstrating excellence as classroom teachers, laboratory or studio instructors, recitation instructors, assistants to senior faculty members for a major course, or in another significant instructional capacity. An awards presentation and reception is held and presided over by the Dean of Graduate School and the Vice President for Undergraduate Studies. Awardees receive a gift and certificate of merit.

The Mary Hatch Marshall Essay Award
The Mary Hatch Marshall Essay Award is given annually to the best essay written by a graduate student in the humanities at the University. Each spring, the Graduate Committee solicits nominations from the department and then chooses one nominee to forward to the Mary Marshall Award Committee. All current M.F.A., M.A. and Ph.D. program students are eligible for nomination. The essay can be written for a course or for publication, and there are no restrictions on subject matter, on length, or on the language in which it was written.


Cornell School of Criticism and Theory Summer Session Fellowship:  The College of Arts & Sciences and the Department of English at Syracuse University will sponsor one graduate student to attend and participate in the summer session of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University (from mid-June through July). In addition to the six-week course, there are several three-week courses that you will be eligible to participate in. Detailed application information and application forms are available on the SCT website. The sponsored graduate student will be selected by the Graduate Committee at the end of February; among the criteria for selection will be an evaluation of the student's proposal, stage of program and progress toward degree. Both M.A. and Ph.D. students are eligible to apply; students who have completed their program of study in the spring are not eligible. The sponsorship will be announced March 1st when the Director of Graduate Studies forwards the materials to Cornell. The sponsorship covers full tuition and includes $1,400 (as available from the Chair’s discretionary fund or other suitable budget line) for travel/living expenses.

"SCT is the quintessential academic experience, challenging and rewarding on both the intellectual and social levels. The connections I made during the 2013 session will stay with me for the rest of my life, and my thinking has become profoundly more complex and nuanced as a result of my encounters with the faculty and my fellow participants." — T.J. West, Ph.D. student

"Having the opportunity to work closely with renowned faculty on the cutting edge of today's theoretical debates has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my graduate career at Syracuse. In addition, SCT also connected me with graduate students from a variety of disciplines around the world who continue to be a source of professional and personal support." — Melissa Welshans, Ph.D. student

Recent Participants

William Marple (MA), 2016
Adam Kozaczka (PhD), 2015
Amy Burnette (PhD), 2014
T.J. West (PhD), 2013
Auritro Majumder (PhD), 2012
Joseph Hughes (PhD), 2011
Melissa Welshans (PhD), 2010
Jessica Kuskey (PhD), 2009
CJ Dosch (PhD), 2008
Rinku Chatterjee (PhD), 2007


Graduate Student Travel Grants:  Graduate students may apply to the graduate committee for partial support to cover travel expenses to attend professional meetings and conferences. For details, please see the Graduate Student Handbook.

Graduate students may also apply for travel grants offered by the Graduate Student Organization. Details are available here.