FAQs for Prospective and Current Students
Feb. 1 is the priority deadline for funding, but we accept them at any time. If you are applying for fall entry (as most students are), applicants usually begin submitting in late December or early January.
You may upload an unofficial transcript from your institution, though it is not guaranteed that it will be accepted. Most universities (though not all) are issuing unofficial transcripts that contain all the information needed for the application review.
Typically, a full-time MA student will earn their degree in two years, at the rate of 9 credits (3 courses) per semester. There is no limit, technically, for those who want or need to take longer than two years, but credits that are older than 8 years are considered “overaged.” You may graduate with a maximum of 12 overaged credits.
Though the number varies, typically we accept around 8-10 M.A. students each year.
No. The English M.A. degree used to have a foreign language requirement, but it was scrapped, the primary reason being that it made the degree prohibitively difficult for a number of students.
The minimum required GPA for the English M.A. program is a 3.0; as long as your cumulative undergraduate GPA is at least a 3.0, you are clear to apply. If it is less than that, you may want to reconsider applying, since it is rare for applicants with GPAs under 3.0 to be accepted.
No. The application for the English MA at UI does not include any GRE scores, neither general test nor subject test.
The previous I-9 you completed will work for the TAship since it is less than 3 years old. If you no longer have a work authorization card from the I-9 you filled out, stop by the HR office with a photo ID and they can issue you a new one.
A statement of purpose (a.k.a. a personal statement) is a 1-2 page document outlining your reasons for wanting to study English at the graduate level at the University of Idaho. Generally, a statement of purpose is your opportunity to communicate to the admissions committee what makes you stand out from the other applicants, what about your previous education and experience makes you the “right fit” for the program, and what specifically you’d like to study / with whom you’d like to work during your time as an English M.A. student.
The U of I Graduate Admissions FAQs webpage notes that there are a number of domestic students who qualify for application fee waivers. These include McNair Scholars; U.S. military veterans or current service members; U of I alumni or current degree seeking students applying to programs eligible for Expedited Graduate Admission; All-Nations LSAMP Bridge to Doctorate Program members; Chemistry Department students; IIE/Fulbright recipients; and SACNAS, AISES, and Cal Forum conference participants. Unfortunately, international applicants do not qualify for a fee waiver, including for economic hardship (see below).
Students who do not qualify for the regular waiver may still qualify for an economic hardship fee waiver. (Unfortunately, international students do not qualify for an economic hardship application fee waiver.)
To request an application fee waiver, after you submit your online application contact the Graduate Admissions Office for the formal “Application Fee Waiver Request Form.” Along with this form, you will be asked to upload at least one of the following documentation to support your request: (1) A letter or memo from the financial aid office of your current school (or the one from which you graduated within the last year), confirming that you received need-based financial aid. (2) Documentation from a state unemployment agency verifying that you are currently unemployed. (3) Letter from a social service agency stating that you are receiving public assistance. (4) Approved FAFSA for current or future enrollment.
Once you have been admitted, you can confirm your enrollment by filling out the Admission Reply Form that is found in the application Status Portal. A response to the offer of admission is not required, but we highly recommend students fill out this form to indicate if they are planning on attending the U of I.
To review M.A.-level English courses, navigate to the U of I Class Schedule, select the appropriate semester, then select "ENGL" on the lefthand side. Finally, scroll down to 500-level courses. (You may also take up to six 400-level courses during your time as an M.A., so don't forget to look at those too.)
To register on VandalWeb, select Students > Registration > Registration: Add/Drop Classes > Register for Classes. Then select the desired term from the drop-down list and click Continue. Select the Enter CRNs tab, and enter a valid CRN, the 5-digit number found on the Class Schedule. Select + Add Another CRN to add additional classes. Click Add to Summary, and inspect your classes in the Schedule and Summary panes. Then click Submit.
No. Currently, all English M.A. courses are face-to-face on the U of I campus.
Yes, full-year English M.A. students are allowed to register for and take summer Grace Nixon Institute courses, which occur during the last two weeks of June. However, one’s admission depends on whether open slots are available, since they are reserved first and foremost for M.A.-seeking full-time secondary-ed teachers in Idaho.
Among other things, several internships are available for graduate students! Our in-house, nationally circulated literary magazine, FUGUE, offers an editorial internship (ENGL 598), which involves reading journal submissions in a given genre (fiction, NF, poetry, etc.). Likewise, the Confluence Lab offers internships.
The U of I English M.A. program does indeed offer some teaching and research assistantships, though they are not guaranteed for every accepted Master's student.
Yes. ENGL 598-05 is a one-credit internship class, designed to give you a supportive space to do some of the work of your TAship (like lesson planning, grading, etc.). You need to already be registered for at least 9 credits to be a full-time student (which is a requirement for your full-time TAship), so this 1-credit class will constitute your 10th credit. There is no homework for ENGL 598, and the work you do in this class can be considered part of the 20-hours per week of work required for your TAship. Overall, ENGL 598 is an important supportive space for incoming educators, and therefore a must for new TAs.
Funding and Costs
If you live in a state that is part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, you may be allowed to enroll in a University of Idaho master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral programs, outside of your home state, and yet pay resident tuition rates. Visit our WRGP for more information.
Yes, if you are a U of I employee (i.e., a student who is a benefit-eligible board appointed employee who works at least half time), you may take English M.A. courses for a reduced cost ($20 registration fee plus $5 per credit). To take a course at reduced cost, one must first submit a Staff Registration permit form.
Under the Educational Fee and Tuition Reduction Program, enrollment in the University for reduced fees ($20 registration fee plus $5 a credit plus additional special course fees including web, art, PE, etc.) is extended to the spouses of board-appointed U of I employees on regular appointment who work at least half-time (including those on official leave). Your spouse must first submit a Staff Spouse Registration Permit.
A student who is a UI employee (i.e., a benefit-eligible board appointed employee who works at least half time) can get a reduced rate during the summer up to 3 credits. Again, one must first submit a Staff Registration permit form.
The following programs do not qualify for the reduction: Leadership in Higher Education PhD Doctorate of Athletic Training (DAT), Master of Athletic Training (MSAT), Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA, Independent Study in Idaho (ISI), McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), Masters in Natural Resources (MOSS), WWAMI Medical Program, Masters of Public Administration and Professional Development courses.
Yes, the U of I English Department usually has some travel funding in reserve for M.A. students. To find out more, email me or our administrative assistant, Hannah Westergaard (firstname.lastname@example.org). Seek out additional funding from the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA).
Credits / Grades
The English M.A. is a 33-credit degree: 30 credits of coursework and 3 credits of non-thesis work (ENGL 599). All 30 credits must be in English or “English-adjacent” courses. The thesis track is very similar, except that it requires 27 credits of coursework and 6 credits of non-thesis work (ENGL 599). (Note: it is very rare for an English M.A. student to complete the thesis track because the Master’s Project is often more aligned with the practical skills they need to take their next post-degree steps.)
This is an ill-defined term, but generally it means any upper- or graduate-level (400- or 500-level) humanities course, as well as a number of STEM courses, that has a clear relationship to English M.A. coursework. To qualify to take a course from another department, you must first submit a sub/waiver form to Lana Unger (email@example.com), the manager of Graduate Student Services at COGS. In total, you may take up to 9 credits of non-ENGL coursework as a graduate student.
Beyond all the available 500-level English coursework, you are permitted to take up to 6 credits at the 400-level.
Credits that are older than 8 years are considered “overaged.” You may earn an Energy M.A. with a maximum of 12 overaged credits.
If you are a graduate student pursuing a second master’s degree, you are allowed to transfer 6 credits from your first master’s degree (MLS, MAT, etc.) to fulfill the requirements of your current master’s degree. The credits must be from an accredited institution and must be graduate level courses listed on a graduate level transcript. You will need to discuss which courses that you would like to apply to your current degree, and to list them on your study plan under GRAD 005 with the specific details in the notes section.
When your study plan is approved by your major professor and department administrator, it will move to the COGS approval queue. Then, COGS will pull your official transcript from the Graduate Admissions Office and send an email to the Registrar’s Office to accept the requested transfer credits. To see if your pre-existing credits qualify, contact the Graduate Student Services team in COGS.
Generally, at the graduate level, a grade below a B is informally considered unacceptable—but Cs do count toward an English M.A.’s degree completion. Ds and Fs do not, though they will count toward your GPA. For this reason, U of I has a grade replacement policy for grad students that reads as follows:
A graduate student may repeat a course in which a grade of “C” or lower has been earned only upon specific recommendation by the student's advisory committee and with approval of the Major Professor. All grades will remain on the student's record. The highest grade earned will be used for grade point average calculation. Enrollment will not be allowed for a third repeat attempt. Courses numbered 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 597, 598, 599, 600, 601, 603, 604, and 698 may be repeated but not for grade replacement.
Consider signing up for a 1-credit FUGUE or Confluence Lab internship (ENGL 598). The former involves reading journal submissions in a given genre (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc), passing along the best to your genre editor, and attending monthly meetings, while the latter involves working with an interdisciplinary environmental studies team.
You’re free to take an extra class, meaning that you would graduate with 33 credits of course work and 3 credits of non-thesis research. You can also double-up your non-thesis research credits, taking 6 instead of 3, or enroll in practicum or internship credits. Note: if you hold a TAship, you must take 9 credits per semester to maintain full-time student status.
Your advisor is listed in VandalWeb, in your Degree Audit. Also, Erin James, as Director of English M.A., is your de facto advisor from Day 1. But ultimately, in your second year, you will need to choose an advisor who will oversee your Master’s Project.
To select a new advisor—or as they are called for English M.A.s, a “major professor”—for your Master’s Project, chat with the M.A. Director first. Then you’ll approach a professor whose areas of specialization overlap with your areas of interest, and with whom you might like to work in your final semester when you complete your Master’s Project. If they agree to be your major professor, you’ll fill out and sign a Major Professor form with them, get it signed by the English department chair, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the form has been processed, your major professor will show up as your new advisor in VandalWeb.
Writing your Master’s Project
No. In fact, you will be producing a (much preferable) non-thesis project, a.k.a. Master’s Project, in your final semester. You will make a non-thesis by choosing a seminar paper (~30 pages) that you’ve written for one of your English M.A. classes, and then substantially revising it during your final semester, working alongside one professor of your choosing (typically the professor for whom you wrote it in the first place) who will act as your supervisor. In addition to the revised essay, the Master’s Project includes three additional documents: a substantial annotated bibliography, an abstract, and a short reflective essay that explains the changes you made between the first and final draft and what you learned in the process.
You will begin contacting a potential supervising professor in the fall of your second year of study. Work on the project will begin the following spring.
Non-thesis research is designated as ENGL 599. You will take ENGL 599 only once, as a 3-credit course, in your final semester.
In the fall of your second year of study, you will approach a professor for whom you wrote a seminar paper that you are interested in expanding and revising as a non-thesis. Politely inquire if they would be available and interested in acting as your non-thesis supervisor the following semester (spring). Keep in mind that they may be swamped, and therefore unavailable. If they agree to act as your supervisor, they will contact you in January to work out a monthly one-on-one meeting schedule. If they are unavailable, politely approach another professor. We strongly recommend that you speak with the MA-English Director before approaching any potential major professors.
The guidelines enumerated in the grad handbook state that the non-thesis must expand on a pre-existing seminar paper, one that is English-language/literature/rhetoric and composition-related. A full non-thesis portfolio consists of a final paper of roughly 30-40 pages, a 200-word abstract, a 3-5 page explanation of research and revisions, and an annotated bibliography of sources cited. Here's the relevant grad handbook language about English M.A. non-theses:
Projects may address topics in literature, literary theory, criticism, linguistics, or composition and rhetorical theory. ...The non-thesis option requires 30 credits of coursework and 3 research credits (ENGL 599). The student works with a faculty member to revise—meaning extensively rewrite—a seminar paper until it’s suitable to be submitted for publication. The student also writes an abstract for the paper, a concise explanation of initial and additional research and revisions (3-5 pages), and an annotated bibliography of work in the field. Upon completion of the project, the student must successfully complete an oral defense conducted by the major professor.
While this is the standard format for Master’s Projects, we also support alterative formats if they make sense for your post-degree plans. To chat about alternative formats, consult with the English M.A. Director.
Generally, we recommend that Master’s Project writers meet with their major professor at least monthly to review their progress, discuss your suggested revisions, and talk about the process of academic writing and revision. Your final meeting constitutes the student's “oral defense”: it is really just a final, private, summative conversation between the two of you, after which, if you consider the project to be passing, you will submit a Non-Thesis Project Report indicating as much. The final report is due in early May.
During your final meeting with your supervising professor, you will defend your work, after which they will approve your work for submission, assuming they consider it sufficient and complete. They will then submit a Non-thesis Requirement Report in VandalWeb, as well as sending a copy of your non-thesis work to me (the English M.A. Director). Master’s Projects typically must be defended in mid-April and submitted in early May.
No, the non-thesis “defense” meeting is one-on-one, and therefore private. We often coordinate a public symposium or showcase in late spring, so that Master’s Project writers can reveal what they’ve been working so hard on, get feedback from their instructors and peers, brag on themselves, and get those plaudits.
Typically, MA students who want to study something that we do not offer as part of coursework study it as part of their Master’s Project. Taking a directed study (ENGL 502, 1-3 cr, max 3) is rarer, since it requires a larger time commitment on the part of a directing professor. You may inquire with the English M.A. Director about the possibility of a directed study but moderate your expectations.
Practica / Directed Study
Graduate-level practica (ENGL 597, 1-3 cr, max 3) are more common than directed studies. However, they require substantial time commitment and coordination on the part of both M.A. student and supervising professor. In a typical practicum, professor and M.A. student will agree to a weekly workload that may involve teaching certain class periods, creating/leading classroom activities, creating writing prompts, grading, etc. To pursue a practicum, you must first politely inquire with an English professor about whether they would be available and interested in acting as a practicum supervisor. Keep in mind that they may be swamped, and therefore unavailable! If they agree to act as your supervisor, you must submit a Practicum Agreement Form and a Practicum Department Form to our departmental administrator, Hannah Westergaard (email@example.com), before you register for ENGL 597.
Because practica (ENGL 597) are intended to be apprenticeship-like advanced studies, not pre-existing professional activities, dual-credit teaching does not qualify as material for a practicum.
Applying to Graduate
Graduation application deadlines may be found on our registrar page. If you miss the deadline, you may still apply to graduate, but your application fee will increase from $25 to $60.
To apply to graduate, first you must:
(1) secure a major professor, by talking to a faculty member who is amenable to being your (non)thesis advisor, and filling out the major professor form together. After you have submitted a major prof form to firstname.lastname@example.org, your next step is to
(2) submit a study plan via VandalWeb — a study "plan," in this instance, being nothing more than an itemization of all the classes you've taken during your time as an English M.A., arranged by semester. Once you have an approved study plan submitted in Degree Audit, then you must
(3) check your Registration Status in VandalWeb to verify that your degree, major, catalog year, and thesis/non-thesis option is accurate. If they are not, you must file a Change of Curriculum form with the Office of the Registrar. Afterward, check Degree Audit and work with your Major Professor to resolve any outstanding issues. To remove or add classes to your study plan, submit a Change of Study Plan form in VandalWeb. Once that is done, you may
(4) select “Apply to Graduate” under the Students tab in VandalWeb. Be sure to select the Ceremony Reservation and Hometown option under the Students tab to confirm your ceremony attendance and hometown information. You may revise these items as needed throughout the semester. Your application will be sent electronically first to your Major Professor and then to the College of Graduate Studies for review and approval. Your application will then be routed to the Office of the Registrar for final review. When your application is fully processed, your student account will be billed. Fees are non-refundable once billed.
Our graduates have gone onto doctoral programs (primarily in English but also in a variety of fields) at Notre Dame, U Toronto, U Oregon, UCLA, and U Wisconsin-Madison, to give some recent examples.
International Student Questions
Yes, for international students, entry into the English M.A. program requires either a TOEFL score of at least 83, or an IELTS score of at least 6.5.
Upon initial entry to the U.S., a new international student with immigration documents (1-20) issued by the University of Idaho who is in F1 visa status must physically check in with the International Programs Office and enroll full-time in in-person classes on the campus noted on their I-20 (the Moscow campus in the majority of cases). Failure to comply with these immigration regulations will result in the loss of their legal status in the U.S. Designated School Officials must confirm student records and report student compliance in SEVIS (DHS immigration database) no later than 30 days after the Initial session start date as listed in SEVIS (federal immigration database).
For all other questions, contact Erin James, the MA-English Director.