Info For Prospective Students

Click here to begin your application

All applications should be for SUMMER 2021 (even if you do not plan to start coursework until Fall). 

The online application portal for the 2021-2022 academic year opens Aug. 1, 2020 and the deadline for applications is Jan. 15, 2021. 

About this Program
About Tallahassee
Application Information
Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships
Degree Requirements
Contacts

About this Program

The FSU Graduate Program in English is organized into three programs:

We also have a certificate program in Publishing and Editing that provides professional development for both graduate students and non-degree-seeking students.

Our diverse, accomplished faculty are actively involved in mentoring students both during the program itself as well as the job placement process. There are currently 50 MA/MFA students and 125 PhD students enrolled in the program. Graduate classes, though, tend to be small, averaging fewer than 10 students.

Departmental Publications and Activities


Tallahassee...

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... is probably not what you envision when you think about Florida. Picture live oaks, Spanish moss, rolling hills laced with lakes and streams. Not on the gulf, but we’re an easy couple hours or so from the prettiest beaches in the continental U.S.

As Florida’s capital, Tallahassee 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 many cinemas, small theatres, museums, and musical events, it offers a particularly rich environment for those who care about literature and the arts.

Literary life? Our own Tuesday-night fiction and poetry series is held in a groovy bar/restaurant, just off campus, across from the Railroad Square Arts District. It’s augmented by other noteworthy literary events, including those at...

  • Word of South, a weekend-long, city-sponsored festival in beautiful Cascades Park that showcases nationally known writers and musicians
  • Midtown Reader, a cozy but first-rate independent bookstore in the thriving Midtown corridor

Like to run? Bike? Walk? Play tennis? Golf? Pickleball? Tallahassee's award-winning city parks system features an amazing trails system and other excellent facilities.

The area around Tallahassee is also rich in natural beauty, with many state and national parks within an easy drive, including:

A few of Tallahassee’s neighborhoods:

The indie restaurant scene in Tallahassee is thriving; for a glimpse:


Application Information

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Application window: August 1, 2020 through January 15, 2021 (apply for SUMMER 2021 even if you do not plan to start coursework until Fall). 

Required Documents:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Résumé/Curriculum Vita
  • Writing Sample (see specifics below)
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Official Transcripts (from every university attended) and GRE scores to:

Office of Admissions
Florida State University
282 Champions Way
P.O. Box 3062400
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2400

Because the English Department is committed to inclusivity and diversity and recognizes and champions differences in learning styles and educational backgrounds, we do not require the GRE for applicants to our MA or MFA programs. FSU does require the GRE General test for all PhD applicants, but please don't let the lack of a GRE score be the reason you don't apply. If you're someone we choose to admit but were unable to take the GRE because of extenuating circumstances (COVID-19-related or otherwise), the English Department will apply for a GRE waiver on your behalf.

Click here to begin your application. 

PLEASE NOTE: the system requires you to click "Submit Application" and pay the application fee BEFORE you can upload any supporting documents. It'll seem like you're submitting an incomplete application, but rest assured: after you submit the basic application, you will be able to upload your required documents.

Application FAQs

When will admissions decisions be made?

Admissions are NOT rolling. We make our decisions early each spring semester.

Is the GRE required?

We do not require the GRE for MA/MFA applicants. While the university does still ask for the GRE General test for all PhD applicants, this is a technicality. We are able to receive exceptions for the students we wish to admit. (See full statement on our GRE policy above.) For those who choose to submit scores, our school code is 5219.

Is there a separate application for a teaching assistantship?

No, there is not a separate application for a teaching assistantship.

Does the program have a foreign language requirement?

Students must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language. This requirement can be fulfilled in a variety of ways, including 12 hours at the undergraduate level. Should this cause any concern, we’d be happy to discuss more fully. Also, this requirement does NOT have to be completed prior to applying and does NOT apply to MFA students.

Are there additional requirements for international applications?

International applicants must also take the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) and should score at least 26+ on the TOEFL iBT Speaking section. Applicants with a score lower than 26+, or who don’t have TOEFL scores, will be required to take the SPEAK test during their first term of enrollment. Please visit http://admissions.fsu.edu/international/ for further questions; the International Student Coordinator for Incoming Students is Quinn O’Brien (qobrien@fsu.edu)

Required Documents

1. Statement of Purpose

  • 250-500 words describing the applicant’s academic and professional experience and goals
  • Students applying for the MFA or PhD in Creative Writing should specify intended genre (poetry, fiction, non-fiction) within their statement of purpose

2. Résumé/Curriculum Vita

3. Writing Sample

  • Applicants to the Literature, Media, and Culture program or Rhetoric and Composition program should submit a critical essay.
  • Applicants to the Creative Writing program/Poetry should submit up to 10 poems.
  • Applicants to the Creative Writing program/Fiction should submit a short story or two and/or a novel excerpt. No strict page limit—but generally, 20-40 pages will suffice; don’t sweat it if you’re a little under or over.
  • Applicants to the Creative Writing program/Nonfiction should submit one or two pieces and/or an excerpt from a book. No strict page limit—but generally, 20-40 pages will suffice; don’t sweat it if you’re a little under or over.
  • Applicants to the Creative Writing program are NOT required to submit a critical writing sample.

4. Unofficial Transcripts

5. At least three letters of recommendation through the electronic application

  • The online recommendation system connected to our application is the preferred method for recommenders to use.
  • If they will not be using this system, applicants should enter their information and select “offline recommender.”
  • Our application software is not designed to accept submissions from Interfolio.

6. Official transcripts (from every university attended) and GRE scores to the Office of Admissions


Teaching Assistantship & Fellowships

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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, a tuition waiver, and a health-insurance subsidy. TAs are often invited to teach during the summer term for an additional stipend. Typically, MA students receive a two-year assistantship, MFA students receive a three-year assistantship. PhD students receive a four-year assistantship but are eligible to apply for a fifth year contingent on satisfactory progress through the degree program and availability of funds.

The English Department gives out several awards and scholarships, the most significant of which is the Kingsbury Writing Award. The FSU Graduate School also offers fellowships and awards including Legacy Fellowships, McKnight Doctoral Fellowships, and University Dissertation Fellowships. For more information, see below.

Assistantship FAQs 

Do I need to submit a separate application to be considered for an assistantship? 

No, a separate application for assistantships is not required.

Which teaching opportunities are available with an assistantship?

TAs may teach as part of the College Composition Program or courses in the undergraduate English major.

Are there opportunities for non-teaching assistantships?

Opportunities for non-teaching assistantships are plentiful and include:

  • An appointment to be assistant to the Program Directors, College Composition Director, Director of Graduate Studies, or Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • An appointment in the Reading Writing Center or Digital Studio
  • Computer Writing Classroom Coordinator
  • First Year Composition Mentor
  • An appointment as research assistant or a teaching assistant to a professor in the student’s discipline
  • An appointment to be the advisor to our undergrad literary journal

Fellowships & Scholarships

The FSU Graduate School offers several fellowships and awards:

  • Legacy Fellowships provide support for up to five years for newly admitted PhD students, 3 for newly admitted MFAs. The Fellowship is a $10,000 supplement to a 0.5 FTE assistantship (required) per academic year and provides an annual health-insurance subsidy. There is no application process for this highly selective fellowship; admitted students are automatically considered.
  • Wilson-Auzenne Assistantships for Minorities are available to new or currently enrolled minority graduate students. Nomination is through the department but competition is university-wise. Awards are a minimum of $5,000 per year plus tuition waivers and health-insurance subsidy.
  • PhD students at the dissertation stage are eligible to apply for a limited number of University Dissertation Fellowships, currently funded at $10,000 plus tuition waivers for three terms.
  • Many Black students in the program also hold McKnight Doctoral Fellowships, which provide up to five years of support to PhD students, with a stipend of $12,000 plus tuition waivers and health-insurance subsidy. These fellowships are administered by a state-wide foundation.
  • McNair Scholars Fellowships, a federally funded program that prepares first-generation for members underrepresented populations for doctoral studies. Fellowships are $16,000-$20,000 per calendar year (plus tuition waiver and health-insurance subsidy) for up to 5 years for PhD students and 3 for MFAs. Applicants MUST have been McNair Scholars at their previous institution.
  • Henderson Family Fellowships support Florida public school teachers pursuing an MA or MFA, covering the cost of tuition and fees in both the spring and fall semesters.
  • Eligible minority students may qualify for the FAMU Feeder Fellowship. This program, for students who graduated from Florida A&M University and completed the FAMU Feeder program. Awards of $7,250/semester plus health-insurance subsidy will be given for a maximum of four years for doctoral degree-seeking students, and two years for MA/MFA students.

Post-Graduate Teaching Appointments

Upon receiving the PhD in English, as part of their professional development and in tandem with the job search, graduates may teach composition in the department for up to two years through the Next Generation Visiting Assistant Professor Award program and/or the Visiting Teaching Faculty Program. Both are salaried appointments with benefits, albeit with different sets of eligibility requirements and teaching responsibilities.

Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards

The Graduate School is the proprietary body for each graduate department, including English. Please check the link to their website for additional admission information as well as scholarship and fellowship information for incoming graduate students, particularly the Legacy, McKnight, and Wilson-Auzenne Fellowships: http://gradschool.fsu.edu/


Degree Requirements

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If you want to get in the weeds of our program requirements, here’s our Graduate Handbook (note that the Handbook does not yet reflect our current GRE policy, but rest assured: we can admit you if you don’t take it). What follows is an overview.

MA in Literature, Media, and Culture or Rhetoric and Composition

  • Degree Requirements
    • 33 credit hours in approved courses as described
    • Satisfactorily complete a final requirement (either Capstone Essay or Thesis)
  • Literature, Media, and Culture Requirements
    • General Literature Requirements:
      • Gateway Theory Course
      • One course pre-1660
      • One additional course pre-1800
      • One additional course 1660-1900
    • Nine hours in one of these Areas of Concentration:
      • Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies (through 1600)
      • British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1990
      • Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish)
      • American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900
      • African-American Literary and Cultural Studies
      • History of Text Technologies
      • Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
      • Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies
    • At least one literature course that focuses on race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
    • Capstone Course in Professional Research and Writing.
  • Rhetoric and Composition Requirements
    • 33 semester hours of coursework, to include:
      • 3 core courses: Rhetorical Theory and Practice, Theories of Composition, Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition.
      • Teaching English in College
      • Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies
      • 12 additional hours of coursework in English
      • 6 hours of thesis credit or 3 hours of ePortfolio
    • Complete and defend a thesis or ePortfolio

MFA in Creative Writing

  • Degree Requirements
    • 45 credit hours as described below
    • Complete and defend a thesis in your genre
  • Program Requirements
    • 21-24 hours of work in writing, including...
      • 12-15 hours of workshops
      • 9-12 thesis hours
    • 21-24 hours in literature and related courses

PhD in Literature, Media, and Culture; Rhetoric and Composition; or Creative Writing

  • Course requirements
    • Completion of 27 credit hours of course work and 24 dissertation hours.
    • Coursework included 12 hours of general literature requirements and plus 18 hours (9 for those in Creative Writing) in an Area of Concentration. These include...
      • Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies (through 1600)
      • British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1990
      • Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish)
      • American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900
      • African-American Literary and Cultural Studies
      • History of Text Technologies
      • Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
      • Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies
      • History of Literary Genre
      • Rhetoric and Composition

      ... or another area approved by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies. Students may apply 9 hours from the MA/MFA level toward these requirements.

    • Passing of a preliminary exam based on reading lists drawn from a major and minor Area of Concentration.
    • Students’ dissertations may be an extended essay, three or more essays related by subject, or an extended original work in fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.

Contacts

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  • Can’t find an answer here to your question(s)? Let us help.
    • For questions about the graduate program in general or broad questions about admissions:
    • For questions about the Creative Writing Program:
    • For questions about the Literature, Media, and Culture Program:
    • For questions about the Rhetoric and Composition Program:
    • For prospective students with questions about submitting official documents that must be sent from institution to institution or other technical issues with the admissions process:
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