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Hey everyone, so I am planning on applying this coming fall for some English MA and PhD programs. I have been told by some graduate school students and professors that there are MA programs that are fully or almost entirely funded. If I ended up in a MA program, I would plan on attending a PhD program afterwards. I am primarily interested in modern and contemporary literature. Are there any MA programs that have faculty working in these areas and are funded that you would recommend?

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I can't speak to whether these programs have faculty in modern and contemporary literature, but I know the following programs offer funding to MA students:

North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Lehigh, Purdue, U of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, U of Cincinnati, Tennessee - Knoxville, Penn State, Villanova.

 

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Iowa State, U of Wyoming, U of Maine, and U of South Carolina also come to mind. If you want a general tip on finding funded terminal MA programs try to find state schools that do not offer PhD programs or that offer less highly regarded (though often good) PhD programs (for instance, UC-Berkley doesn't have a terminal, funded MA but WVU does). Also, larger private universities (like Duquesne or Lehigh) that aren't Ivies or somewhere like JHU or U of Chicago often have the financial resources to provide their MA students with funding in exchange for certain assistantships. I hope this helps, I also went the funded MA route this past cycle, and I had a good amount of success using these strategies. If you want to teach, I would say apply to mostly state schools because they always need people to teach Freshman English. The two best offers I received were from UVM and WVU, and the directors of each program are great and super helpful if you have any questions. Each of those programs will also teach you how to teach and give you a lot of highly marketable experience. Plus, UVM and WVU have really good doctoral placement rates (both programs have gotten people into programs like U of Virginia, Rice, Northwestern, Tufts, SUNY-Buffalo, Vanderbilt, U of Pittsburgh, etc.).

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Most schools I've encountered offer funded English MA programs, though that funding is rarely guaranteed (i.e. they don't fund all of their incoming MA students). In these cases, you're typically either competing against all English applicants for a few funded spots, or you're tossed into a larger, even more competitive pool for university-wide funding. What's rare is finding the school that funds its entire incoming English MA cohort. Those are typically the more prestigious or widely respected schools, and they're more competitive still.

Everybody who's posted here has provided great feedback and listed most of the MA programs that I'm familiar with.

 

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University of Alabama offers full funding to all of their incoming MAs (and their department is super nice!). Syracuse University (where I'm attending) is also a fully funded program, though they have limited funding spots. But they usually do cycle through a lot of students, which is why they typically accept more students than they can fund.

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Bucknell University offers a non-competitive, fully funded, two year MA program. Carnegie Mellon offers a partially funded one year MA program.

Bucknell is a great dept - supportive and collegial - and has done very well with placing their MAs into PhD programs (Harvard, UPenn, Vanderbilt, Temple, etc). CMU, while different in the details of its academic strengths, is also a very supportive and friendly place, and their MAs also do well with both PhD apps (I know they placed someone at Virginia but I don't have as much knowledge about what other programs - which there are - at this time).

Both depts have scholars doing work in modern and contemporary literature and, depending on your specific areas of interest, one (or both!) might be a good to consider.

Edited by a_sort_of_fractious_angel
clarification

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Oregon State University offers full funding (tuition remission + teaching GTAships) to all of its incoming MA students.  Pretty sure that the University of Idaho just converted over to a similar package as well.

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I would second Georgetown. While they don't offer funding to everyone, the full-funding packages they do offer come in lots of shapes and sizes. Depending on what kind of work you'd like to do, their packages center your experience around TAing, editing for a journal, doing digital humanities work, or poetics and activism. Plus, if you're interested in going onto PhDs, we also have a great track record of admissions. This year, we have folks going to Berkeley, Penn, Princeton, Harvard, Michigan, Rutgers, and CUNY, and we got offers from Yale, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and Duke. It's been an extraordinary year, so I have no idea if that will keep up. However, we do tend to have someone go to one or two of these schools every year!

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U of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisville, South Carolina, and North Carolina State all offer funded MA programs if you are currently located in or interested in moving to the southeast. Off the top of my head, the funding at those programs includes tuition remission (to varying degrees), health insurance, and stipends that look something like this:

Alabama: $14k/yr (Alabama also has a really nice fellowship available to MA students called the Graduate Council Fellowship which is service free for one year and carries a stipend award of $19k. They really like queer south studies there, if that is something you are into.)

Tennessee: $10k/yr

Kentucky: $15k/yr

Mississippi: $10k/yr

Louisville: $15k/yr

South Carolina: $8k/yr

NC State: $10k/yr

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On 5/29/2018 at 11:05 PM, sarahchristine said:

I can't speak to whether these programs have faculty in modern and contemporary literature, but I know the following programs offer funding to MA students:

North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Lehigh, Purdue, U of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, U of Cincinnati, Tennessee - Knoxville, Penn State, Villanova.

 

Does Penn State still offer a terminal funded MA? Of course I can just go check for myself, but I feel like when I was looking for my program, I had read that they only admit students to their MA who plan to stay for their PhD program. I guess that means that you technically could do an MA and leave, but the feeling I got from what they indicated in their admissions info was that you are essentially going to their MA program as a feeder into their PhD, and if you don't want to do a PhD there, they don't want you for the MA.

Edited by Cotton Joe
left out words

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28 minutes ago, Cotton Joe said:

Does Penn State still offer a terminal funded MA? Of course I can just go check for myself, but I feel like when I was looking for my program, I had read that they only admit students to their MA who plan to stay for their PhD program. I guess that means that you technically could do an MA and leave, but the feeling I got from what they indicated in their admissions info was that you are essentially going to their MA program as a feeder into their PhD, and if you don't want to do a PhD there, they don't want you for the MA.

I'm not sure if Penn State has ever offered a terminal funded MA. Penn State has a preference for students coming straight out of undergrad, and the majority of students do continue on to the PHD. They admit 1-2 PHD students outside of their program if people from their MA program decide not to continue. The Director of Graduate Studies could answer your question regarding applying for an MA only but there's also a chance that your interests may shift during the 2 years and there might be a place that better suit your interests.

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Hi, I did my MA at Wake Forest and I’m in the PhD program at Duquesne. I was partially funded at Wake (ended up paying about $20,000 when all was said and done), but at least 2 students per semester get full funding, including a Writing Center assistantship and a stipend. Duquesne has similar funding for MAs, but the fellowship is for teaching and the stipend is higher, as far as I know. All students are at least partially funded and there are additional assistantships available. There should be 2-3 teaching fellowships, a fellowship with Women’s and Gender Studies, and a position as admin/office assistant available next year. Wake has a perfectly good program, but if I had known about Duquesne’s MA program at the time, I definitely would have rather been at Duquesne. Its really an amazing department. 

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I'm going into my second year at University of Colorado Boulder (the literature MA) and through working at the writing center, TAing in the department, and departmental grants I have been almost fully funded. I think Boulder gets a bad rep for funding but a lot of people I know in my cohort and in other cohorts end up with almost full funding for both years. Boulder is expensive to live in, which has caused some minor financial stress for me, but there are a lot of opportunities to work on campus in addition to TA positions with tuition remission, health insurance, etc. The department is wonderful (I have had the chance to work extensively with some really amazing faculty in my area of focus) and I feel very prepared to write my thesis this year + apply for PhD programs.

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On 6/29/2018 at 4:50 PM, Cotton Joe said:

U of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisville, South Carolina, and North Carolina State all offer funded MA programs if you are currently located in or interested in moving to the southeast. Off the top of my head, the funding at those programs includes tuition remission (to varying degrees), health insurance, and stipends that look something like this:

Alabama: $14k/yr (Alabama also has a really nice fellowship available to MA students called the Graduate Council Fellowship which is service free for one year and carries a stipend award of $19k. They really like queer south studies there, if that is something you are into.)

Tennessee: $10k/yr

Kentucky: $15k/yr

Mississippi: $10k/yr

Louisville: $15k/yr

South Carolina: $8k/yr

NC State: $10k/yr

I would like to point out that I think UK's English Dept does competitive funding. I'm from Lexington, KY, and I know someone who entered into the English program this year and he said not everyone was funded. Though Cotton Joe did specify that there were varying degrees of funding at each place, just wanted to emphasize that unlike somewhere like Alabama which funds all of its MAs, UK does not.

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On 8/21/2018 at 10:07 PM, Cassifrassidy said:

I would like to point out that I think UK's English Dept does competitive funding. I'm from Lexington, KY, and I know someone who entered into the English program this year and he said not everyone was funded. Though Cotton Joe did specify that there were varying degrees of funding at each place, just wanted to emphasize that unlike somewhere like Alabama which funds all of its MAs, UK does not.

I know that U of Mississippi and Tennessee and NC State don't fund all MA students either. I was just listing programs which I know offer funded MA lit programs. I know that these programs offer funding to at least some of their MA students because I was accepted with funding to many of the programs on that list. 

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