Currently, all students admitted to the MFA program who submit a complete and approved teaching assistantship application are awarded a TA by the Department of English. Each assistantship carries a three course per year load and includes a tuition waiver and health insurance in addition to the TA stipend ($15,000 per year). Graduate students with assistantships must enroll in a minimum of six credit hours each semester.
During the first year of teaching, TAs can expect to teach three sections of ENG 101 or 102 and to be enrolled in the teaching assistant seminar, which may be used to fulfill three hours of literature elective credit.
During two subsequent years as TAs, students will continue to teach composition, but may apply to teach beginning creative writing by submitting a request to the director of creative writing. Selection of teachers is made by faculty in the appropriate genres. The first semester of teaching creative writing is done under supervision of a member of the creative writing faculty, and includes a required pedagogy component.
Graduate College fellowships and a small number of Research Assistantships provide other sources of funding. RAs are not typically awarded for the first year.
Each year eligible MFA students are invited to participate in award programs sponsored by various donors and organizations inside and outside the university. These include (but are not limited to) the Aleida Rodriguez Memorial Award in Creative Writing, the English Department’s Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Awards in Writing, and the Katharine C. Turner Award from the Academy of American Poets. The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing offers summer travel fellowships and other awards.