The Department of English is strongly committed to providing financial assistance to all of its graduate students with five-year full funding packages. Graduate students typically work as teaching assistants, research assistants, or hold central or extramural fellowships, and they also have the opportunity to teach their own classes in the summer after passing their first qualifying exam. Work as readers or teaching assistants for other departments on campus is also occasionally available.


A teaching assistant position entails working with the faculty instructor who has primary responsibility for the course. Teaching assistantships are the most common means of support for graduate students.

A teaching associate position means the graduate student has full responsibility for a course, including the course design, lectures, and grading. A teaching associate must have completed the MA degree requirements prior to the appointment and meet all other criteria for approval by the Graduate Dean. Qualified graduate students have the opportunity to teach as Associates in the summer for the English Department and Associateship positions are also occassionally available for qualified graduate students during the academic year.

Teaching assistants, associates and reader positions are represented by a labor union and contracts are negotiated determine the salary levels: Current Agreement for Academic Student Employees.

Graduate Student Researcher Appointments (GSR) and Research Assistantships (RA)

Faculty members holding extramural grants may be in a position to hire a GSR with payment of fees, health insurance and a salary. Funding parameters of the GSR position are determined by the grant. This is not a teaching position and thus is not covered by the union contract.

Graduate students also have the opportunity to work as research assistants for some of the Department’s research centers and initiatives. For the ACGCC, the EMC, and the Transcriptions Center, this entails a year-long research assistantship, which is a 50% appointment and offers the same salary and benefits as a TAship. Center RAs hold open office hours in the center and work with the center’s faculty director to plan events and projects. Center RAs also work with the center’s faculty director in co-teaching that year’s center course. RAships are also available for the department’s other centers and initiatives, although these are not 50% appointments and do not offer benefits.

Graduate Student Assistant Positions
Faculty members may hire students to work on research grants on an hourly basis. These positions do not include payment of fees or health insurance. In addition, the Department may have hourly wage positions for various graduate program projects.

Employment in other Departments
TAships and Associateships are often available in other departments, during the year and during the summer (e.g. Writing Program, Comparative Literature, Asian American Studies, Feminist Studies). A wide array of other jobs are also available on campus.

Fellowships and other Support

Central Recruitment and Continuing Student Fellowships:
Some students are supported by the multiyear campus-wide central recruitment fellowships awarded during the recruitment process. Each year the Graduate Committee nominates students for single-year central continuing student fellowships offered by the Graduate Division, which include a stipend, a partial fee reduction, and health insurance.

Graduate students who have advanced to the dissertation stage also have the opportunity to apply each year for a number of continuing student fellowships offered by the university. These fellowships range in duration from one quarer to one academic year, and they relieve the student of teaching responsibilities for the duration of the fellowship. They include a stipend, partial fee reduction, and health insurance. More information about central student fellowships can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Need-based Financial Support:
Need-based loans and work-study awards are available to domestic and permanent residents through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Eligibility is based on filing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each spring.

All students are strongly encouraged to apply for work-student awards, which generates additional departmental funds for student support.

Block Grants:
Each year the Department receives a “block grant” from the Graduate Division, which is essentially a block of money spent on graduate student support at the discretion of the Department. This money can be offered to incoming students in the form of a living expense stipend, payment of tuition and health insurance for the first year.