Orange Alert

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 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. 

Funding and Financial Aid
We try to provide financial aid to all students, but have a limited number of assistantships to offer. Students who are offered financial support receives a full tuition scholarship in addition to an annual stipend of $20,000 - $25,290. Some of these scholarships are configured to include teaching duties. Students have opportunities to teach in The Writing Program (a separate academic unit, specializing in composition) and in the Living Writers course, featuring prominent guest writers from the Raymond Carver Reading Series. Occasionally other classes are available to teach (e.g. ENG 151, Interpretation of Poetry). As well, there may sometimes be an opportunity to intern with BOA Publishing.

We admit students who come from all walks of life and believe they should not be straddled with student-loan payments when they graduate. Talent, not wealth, is the sole prerequisite for admission.

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.

Both your graduate teaching assistantship and your tuition reduction credits are contingent upon your doing all of the following:

  1. maintenance of at least the minimum academic standard (3.0 grade point average) in each term;
  2. maintenance of full-time matriculated status;
  3. satisfactory progress toward fulfillment of degree requirements;
  4. compliance with University policies and procedures;
  5. satisfactory performance of assigned teaching and related duties; and
  6. successfully completing WRT 601. (M.F.A.'s and M.A.'s).

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 Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition 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. $20,000; Ph.D. $23,000) 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: The Chair of the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition will direct your assistantship assignments which will consist of teaching three sections per year of Lower Division Writing, with a total enrollment of no more than 60 students; one section serving as a Writing Consultant in the Writing Center may be substituted for one section of teaching at the department’s discretion. You will be required to take a composition pedagogy course, WRT 601, that runs intermittently from August 17 through November 30. A passing grade for this course is required to teach with the department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition. If assigned a Writing Center consultant position, you will be required to attend a separate orientation, dates to be worked out with Ben Erwin. Early in June you will receive materials for the course. You are invited and encouraged to examine this material and to meet with Jonna (on campus or virtually) before class begins, as the class will move very quickly in the first two weeks.

You will be required to take a ten-day composition pedagogy course, WRT 601 that runs intermittently from August 1 through August 22.

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.

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: 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: 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 was awarded in 2017. For more information and details on how to apply, visit the Hughes Memorial Fellowship page.

Cheryl F. Plawsky Summer Fellowship: Ph.D. candidates wishing to apply for this fellowship should provide a statement outlining how this support will further their academic progress and how the stipend will be used. This statement should be no longer than one page. Please provide us with your current CV and a letter of support from a faculty member. You must have defended, or will have defended your prospectus, by the end of the spring semester in which you are applying.

University Fellowships: University Fellowship: One Ph.D. University Fellowship is awarded to a new applicant of exceptional quality and determined by the Graduate Committee. This award goes to a new Ph.D. student in the form of a multi-year "package," in which fellowships and teaching assistantships are held in alternate years. The fellowships consist of an academic-year award stipend of $25,290.00 and a full-tuition scholarship for 30 credits for the academic year. Ph.D. Applications are to be filed by January 9.

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 page.

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

Creative Writing Fellowships: The department awards twelve of these to M.F.A. creative writers. These fellowships include an academic-year award stipend and a full-tuition scholarship for 24 credits for the academic year (12 credit hours per semester). These are awarded to new students and are not renewable. 

Educational Benefits/Remitted Tuition:  Remitted Tuition provides credit hours for eligible employees/retirees and their spouses/same sex domestic partners for undergraduate and graduate study. Employees using Remitted Tuition benefits for themselves receive a full tuition waiver. Employees may transfer their benefits to a spouses or same sex domestic partner for a tuition waiver of 85 percent. 

To transfer Remitted Tuition credits to an eligible spouse/same sex domestic partner, the employee must complete a Remitted Tuition Credit Transfer Authorization [PDF] form and submit it to Human Resources. A new form is needed only if the employee wishes to make a change in the number of credits assigned, or to transfer the credits back to himself or herself. 

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.

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 Participant

  • Johnathan Sanders (PhD) 2018 
  • Mark Muster (MA) 2017
  • 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

HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory - describes itself as “an interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists that are changing the way we teach and learn.” At its heart is an active online community of individual working at the intersections of technology, teaching, and the humanities. HASTAC also organizes an annual conference (in a different location each year), concerned with this same set of questions. 
HASTAC Scholars Program: During the Spring semester, if funds are available, the graduate committee will solicit applications for HASTAC scholars from graduate students (in any of the three programs) and form a subcommittee from the department at large of faculty with suitable expertise to select them. Based on the recommendation of the subcommittee, the graduate committee will name up to two HASTAC scholars annually. 

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.