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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.


1. Appointments: Eligibility and Responsibility

M.A. candidates may hold teaching assistantship appointments for up to four semesters; M.F.A. candidates may hold appointments (fellowships and/or assistantships) for up to 6 semesters; doctoral candidates may hold appointments (fellowships and/or assistantships) up to ten semesters. Re-appointment to an assistantship or initial appointment for persons who have previously held fellowships requires:

  • an overall GPA of at least a B (3.0), including incompletes (which would count as F’s)
  • no more than two incompletes
  • successful completion of the appropriate exams
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2. 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. $14,455; Ph.D. $15,399) 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 WRT 670 Practicum: "Teaching College Writing." As instructors in the Writing Program, teaching assistants 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 a coordinating group that meets every week, and to stay on campus through the end of each semester.

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, please visit the M.A. & Ph.D. Students page).

Graduate students holding teaching assistantships in the Department of English for the first time are required to attend both Graduate School TA Orientations and Department TA Orientations 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.

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3. Summer Fellowships and Remitted Tuition

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 $725.00).  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.  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.

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4. 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. $21,805; M.F.A. $17,220) and a full-tuition scholarship for 30 credits for the academic year. M.F.A. Applications should be filed by January 9; and Ph.D. Applications are to be filed by January 9th.

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5. African American Studies Fellowship

Syracuse University African American Studies Graduate Fellowships

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6. 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 $16,480; Mead $16,480; CWF $13,040) 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.

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7. Benjamin Fellowship in Judaic Studies

The Benjamin Fellowship in Judaic Studies

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8. Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program

McNair Scholars Program

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9. Jacob and Valentina Hursky Ukrainian Graduate Fellowship

Jacob and Valentina Hursky Ukrainian Graduate Fellowship

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10. 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 SU 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 (go to http://www.nasfaa.org/EntrancePDF.aspx?id=4668l) 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).

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

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11. Graduate Prizes and Honors

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

a. 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.

Cornell Sponsored Summer Session (amount: $2,700) The College of A & S and the Department of English, Syracuse University, will sponsor one graduate student to attend and participate in the Summer Session of SCT. In addition to the six-week course, there are several three-week courses for which the award recipient will be eligible. 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. 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 $300 dollars in travel and/or material costs.

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

b. 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.

c. Outstanding TA Awards
The Outstanding Teaching Award was instituted to recognize TA’s 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. (Teaching Fellows are employed by the TA Program as staff for the summer orientation program and other activities sponsored by the Program throughout the academic year).

d. 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 year, 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.

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