English Department - Graduate Brochure

Florida State University

The Florida State University is a senior member of the ten state universities that comprise the State University System of Florida. It has a total enrollment of about 37,000 students and of these, 18% are graduate students. In 1994, Florida State was accorded the status of Research University I by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an elite distinction that recognizes the university's strengths in doctoral programs.

Tallahassee

Tallahassee, Florida's capital, is an expanding metropolitan center with a population of about 200, 000, yet it still holds many of the charms of a smaller university town. With its weekly poetry and fiction readings in local venues and its many cinemas, small theatres, museums, and musical events, it offers a particularly rich environment for those who care about literature and the arts.

The Graduate Program in English

The Graduate Program in English offers a comprehensive and intellectually stimulating program for those who wish to be literary scholars, creative writers or scholars/teachers of rhetoric and composition. Its diverse and accomplished faculty are actively involved in every phase of the graduate student's life, including mentoring and assisting students during the job placement process. There are presently 68 M.A./M.F.A students and 115 Ph.D. students enrolled in the program. Graduate classes, however, are small, with averages of about 15 students.

Areas of Study

The Graduate Program offers the Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Students in the M.A. program focus on one of two majors: (1) Literature, Folklore and Cultural Studies; (2) Rhetoric and Composition. M.F.A. students emphasize Creative Writing. Students in literature, folklore and cultural studies will deliver and defend a capstone essay; students in rhetoric and composition may write a thesis or take a portfolio examination. Creative writing students present a body of creative work for the thesis.

All Ph.D. students satisfy core requirements in literature, language study, and literary theory. Students then take comprehensive examinations and present dissertations in fields such as:

  1. Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies (through 1660)
  2. British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1900
  3. Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish)
  4. American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900
  5. African-American Literary and Cultural Studies
  6. History of Text Technologies
  7. Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  8. Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies
  9. A Literary Genre
  10. Rhetoric and Composition
 

Certificate Programs and Other Interdisciplinary Programs

The English Department offers a Graduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing. This 12-hour certificate involves both theoretical and practical course work. It is designed for students in our graduate-degree programs interested in exploring a career path other than teaching and also for students not in our degree programs who are interested in developing skills in editing and publishing.

Teaching College English: Graduate Teacher Training Program

As well as offering a comprehensive range of academic courses, the Graduate Program in English also provides an excellent teaching apprenticeship program for those who want to teach writing and literature at the college level. Teaching assistants without previous teaching experience participate in a six-week training program during the summer term preceding their appointment, and this program prepares them to teach in the rhetoric and composition classroom, the literature classroom, and the Department's Reading-Writing Center. Graduate students also have the opportunity to be trained in computer-assisted writing instruction. The department also offers pedagogical training for advanced graduate students teaching literature, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition.

 

Departmental Publications and Activities

The department also publishes two literary magazines, The Kudzu Review and The Southeast Review, and faculty members edit such scholarly journals as College Composition and Communication, and The Journal of Beckett Studies. Many students also gain journalistic experience by writing for the independent campus newspaper. The writing program sponsors weekly literary readings and an annual Spring Writer's Festival.

Each fall, the English Colloquium Series gives graduate students the opportunity to interact with visiting scholars who are at the cutting edge of literary and cultural studies. The Writing Program sponsors readings one evening a week in the community, and every year it hosts writers, agents, and editors from all over the country.

 

Placement

The Graduate Program maintains a solid placement record for its Ph.D. graduates, despite the difficult job market. The Graduate Placement committee assists graduates in preparing for the job search by offering practice interviews, job talk rehearsals, and by reviewing application letters and vitae.

 

M.A. and M.F.A. Degree Programs

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Master's degree programs in English, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Degree and Grades. Students are required to have an undergraduate degree in English, or a related field, from an accredited college, with at least a 3.0 GPA average, or its equivalent. This is the minimum requirement. Most successful applicants have GPA averages that are considerably higher.
  2. GRE Scores. All applicants are required to submit GRE scores. Verbal scores in the 86th percentile range are typical among successful candidates, though such scores provide no guarantee of acceptance. We accept the old as well as revised versions of the GRE test. International applicants must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must score at least 550 on the paper-based exam or 80 on the internet-based exam. International students seeking a teaching assistantship in the English department are required to receive a scored of 28 or higher on the speaking secion of the Internet-based TOEFL test.
  3. A completed online application (see Application Information below).

Degree Requirements

To complete the M.A. or M.F.A. in English, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Earn 33 credit hours (45 for M.F.A.) with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better in approved courses as described below for each emphasis.
  2. Satisfy a foreign language requirement (there is not a foreign language requirement for the M.F.A.).
  3. Satisfactorily complete a final requirement as described below for each emphasis.

The M. A. Program in Literature

Students who choose the literature track will need a faculty advisor by the beginning of their second year. Their 33 semester hours of course work must include the following:

General Literature Requirements:

Nine hours in an Area of Concentration selected from the following list:

  1. Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies (through 1660)
  2. British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1900
  3. Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish)
  4. American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900
  5. African-American Literary and Cultural Studies
  6. History of Text Technologies
  7. Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  8. Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies

One literature course whose chief organizing principle is alterity (i.e., a course that focuses on race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity). In this one instance the course fulfilling this requirement may, as well, fulfill another.

As a final requirement, students pursuing an M.A. in Literature must complete the Capstone Course in Professional Research and Writing (ENG 5835). See the Graduate Handbook for description.

The M. A. Program in English with an Emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition

Master's students who choose to emphasize rhetoric will complete thirty-three semester hours of course work, to include:

  1. At least twelve hours of course work in rhetoric, from the following: ENC 5700, ENG 5028, ENC 5720, LAE 5370, LAE 5946; and ENG 6939 when the topic is rhetoric.
  2. Six hours of thesis credit or other course credit.
  3. ENG 5079 (Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies).
  4. 12 additional hours of course work.

As a final requirement, students emphasizing rhetoric and composition must complete and defend a thesis or take a portfolio examination.

 

The M. F. A. Program in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing

Students who wish to obtain the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing must complete forty-five semester hours of coursework, to include:

  1. 21-24 hours of work in writing, of which:

    12-15 will be taken in any combination of the following courses, provided at least two of the courses are taken: Fiction Workshop, Poetry Workshop, Drama Workshop, Article and Essay Workshop (the four workshops in writing may be repeated for credit), or Writing Seminar;

    9-12 hours will be devoted to writing a creative thesis.

  2. 21-24 hours in literature and related courses, including ENG 5079 (Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies).
 

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program in English, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Degree and Grades. Students are required to have a master's degree in English, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university, with a GPA of at least 3.5. This is the minimum requirement. Successful applicants frequently have GPA averages that are higher.
  2. GRE Scores. All applicants are required to submit GRE scores. Verbal scores in the 86th percentile range are typical among successful candidates, though such scores provide no guarantee of acceptance. We accept the old as well as revised versions of the GRE test. International applicants must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must score at least 550.
  3. A completed online application (see Application Information below).

Course Requirements

To earn the Ph.D. degree, students must:

Subdivisions within the general Areas of Concentration, listed below, will be detailed by individual caucuses comprised of faculty specializing in the Area:

  1. Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies (through 1660) - Requirements
  2. British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1900 - Requirements
  3. Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish) - Requirements
  4. American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900 - Requirements
  5. African-American Literary and Cultural Studies - Requirements
  6. History of Text Technologies - Requirements
  7. Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies - Requirements
  8. Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies - Requirements
  9. A Literary Genre
  10. Rhetoric and Composition - Requirements

Take one literature course whose chief organizing principle is alterity (i.e., a course that focuses on race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity). In this one instance the course fulfilling this requirement may, as well, fulfill another.

Pass a major and a minor exam based on reading lists drawn from the Areas of Concentration above.

Individual Areas of Concentration may involve additional requirements. These requirements will be set by the caucus comprised of faculty in the Area of Concentration.

In addition, a student's supervisory committee may determine that additional work in a relevant foreign language is necessary for a student's graduate program and scholarly interests.

TAs teaching literature classes, creative writing technique classes, and other 2000 or 3000 level classes are required to take the appropriate 1 credit advanced pedagogy course.

Residency Requirement

In order to receive the degree, the Ph.D. student must be continuously enrolled in the Florida State University campus for 24 semester hours past the M.A. in 12 consecutive months.

Time Limitation

All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within five years from the time the student passes the preliminary examination.

Preliminary Examination

To be formally admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., the student must pass the preliminary examination at least 6 months before the degree is to be granted. The examination consists of a 12-hour written test given over 3 days (8 hours on the major area, 4 hours on the minor area), and a 1- to 2 hour oral examination by the supervisory committee, normally held within two weeks after the written test.

Dissertation

After filing a prospectus, the candidate will write the dissertation in close consultation with the major professor and the committee. The dissertation may be an extended essay, three or more essays related by subject, or an extended original work in fiction, poetry, or drama. The candidate will defend a draft of the dissertation in a 2-hour oral examination by the supervisory committee.

 

Financial Support: Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships

 

Assistantships

The majority of students in the Graduate English Program receive support in the form of a teaching assistantship. Teaching assistants are provided with a stipend and a waiver for most of their tuition. Experienced TAs are often invited to teach during the summer term for an additional stipend.

Fellowships

The Florida State University Graduate School offers several fellowships and awards each year. The most prestigious and competitive of these is the newly established Adelaide Wilson Fellowship which will be awarded to newly admitted Ph.D. students this year. This fellowship is $30,000 per calendar year, and it provides support for up to 5 continuous years. 15 multi-year Legacy fellowships will also be awarded to incoming doctoral students this year. The Legacy Fellowship is a $10,000 supplement to a 0.5 FTE assistantship (required) per academic year, and it provides an annual health insurance subsidy. Ph.D. students at the dissertation stage are eligible to apply for a very limited number of University Dissertation Fellowships, currently funded at $10,000 plus tuition waivers for three terms. Finally, students may apply for the $10,000 Kingsbury Writing Award. For more detailed information on any of these fellowships and awards, please go to the Graduate School website ( http://gradschool.fsu.edu/Funding-Awards ).

Minority Fellowships

Leslie N. Wilson - Delores Auzenne Assistantship for Minorities: This assistantship is available for all new or currently enrolled minority graduate students. Nomination is through the department or college, but competition for these awards is on a university-wide basis. The stipend is a minimum of $5,000 per academic year plus tuition waivers. Assistants also receive an annual health insurance subsidy. In addition, eligible minority students may qualify for the FAMU Feeder Fellowship. This fellowship is for students that graduated from Florida A&M University and completed the FAMU Feeder program. Awards will be given for a maximum of four years for doctoral degree-seeking students, and two years for master's degree-seeking students. The award will have a non-duty stipend of $5,000 for each of the Fall and Spring semesters. A number of African-American students in the program have also held McKnight Doctoral Fellowships, which provide up to five years of support, with a stipend of $12,000 plus tuition waivers. These fellowships are administered by a state-wide foundation. For further information on any of these fellowships, see the Graduate School website ( http://gradschool.fsu.edu/Funding-Awards ).

The Graduate Faculty

Information regarding the graduate faculty is located at http://english.fsu.edu/faculty/facspecialties.htm.

 

Application Information

Procedures for applying to the M.A., M.F.A., or the Ph.D. Degree Program

The online application opens on August 1, 2014 for admission to the fall semester 2015, and it closes on December 18, 2014. The following items are required to complete an application:

  1. Submit an electronic application at https://admissions.fsu.edu/gradapp/
  2. The following items should be uploaded in the supporting documents portion of the application
    1. Statement of Purpose (250-500 words describing the applicant's academic and professional experience and goals)
    2. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
    3. Writing Sample (applicants to the literature or rhetoric program should submit a critical essay; applicants to the creative writing program should submit 10 poems, a story, or a chapter from a novel)
    4. GRE Scores GRE Scores (Please note: GRE General Test scores are required for all degree applications: the GRE Subject Test is not required for any degree application)
    5. Unofficial Transcripts
  3. Submit letters of recommendation through the electronic application. Note: Our online application system does not support submission of recommendation letters via Interfolio.
  4. Submit the application fee upon completion of the electronic application.
  5. Submit official transcripts (from every university attended) and GRE scores to:
    • Office of Admissions
    • Florida State University
    • 282 Champions Way
    • PO Box 3062400
    • Tallahassee, FL 32306-2400

Important: students applying for the MFA or the PhD in Creative Writing should specify intended genre (poetry, fiction, non-fiction) in the appropriate space in the application.

For more information about the application procedure please see the Graduate Studies homepage at: http://gradschool.fsu.edu/

If you have questions about any of the application materials or procedures please contact:

Janet Atwater
Program Assistant
Department of English
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1580
Telephone: (850) 644-2413
E-mail: jatwater@fsu.edu (preferred)

Deadlines: All new students, which include the PhD, MA, and MFA, will be admitted in the fall semester each year. To be considered for admission and a teaching assistantship in fall, 2015, the online application must be submitted by December 18, 2014. For University Fellowships deadlines - See the Graduate School website