Jump to content

UMD MA Program worth it?

Recommended Posts

I got an email last night stating that while I was not admitted to the UMD PhD program, they were happy to offer me a spot in the MA. I'm really interested in UMD and I think their faulty is a good fit for me, but there's no guarantee of funding. They did say that 'most' students find graduate assistantships offering full or partial tuition waivers and stipends, although they aren't necessarily teaching assistantships. That was a bit disappointing to me, as I am very much looking forward to gaining more teaching experience.

Meanwhile, I have received three acceptances so far with generous stipends (and additional scholarships from two of the schools), but they aren't as highly ranked as UMD. I also have a lot of debt from my undergrad degree, so it's difficult for me to justify the possibility of plunging myself into further debt.

Does anyone have any thoughts about the UMD Master's program? Anyone know how many students get full funding?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Yanaka said:

This is for @Wyatt's Terps I believe!!

Thanks, Commissioner Gordon. :P

But yes -- there are lots of funding options on campus, though they're typically "competitive." I would indeed say that most M.A. students in the English department have full or partial funding through TAships or GAships. Personally, I've had a full ride the whole way through, and even managed to teach 101 as an overload...which meant that I actually made more money than the Ph.D. students.

At the risk of being a little lazy, I'm going to copy and paste what I mentioned via PM to another UMD M.A. acceptance's query recently -- it's all relevant, I believe:


Assistantships are officially "competitive" and not guaranteed. That being said, in past years (under a different DGS, mind you) five M.A. students were offered a 1/2 TAship, which allows you to teach in your second, third, and fourth semesters for a stipend of around $9000, and half tuition remission. Not a bad option if you can get it. Beyond that, you are able to mix and match GAships / TAships / RAships (the latter are rare in our field) up to twenty hours per week. In other words, if you are granted the 1/2 TAship option (which is possible, given your interest in rhet-comp), then you can be on the lookout for a 1/2 GAship in any department to make for a FULL assistantship...which will pay all of your tuition and give you a stipend of 18 - 21k per year. You can look for all active GAship / RAship postings here. Bear in mind that anything you find there you will have to interview for.

Having said that, you can also sort of root out GAships by being diligent, sending emails to the right people, checking into alternative possibilities, and being in the right place at the right time. This was the case for literally all three of my assistantships. When I first accepted my admission offer to UMD, I figured I might try to supplement my 1/2 TAship offer with working as a tutor in the undergraduate writing center. I contacted the director, sent along my resume, and she let me know that they were actually looking for a replacement for their scheduling / budgeting person who was retiring (and who they couldn't replace with a staff position due to a hiring freeze). I just so happened to have a lot of administrative experience in my past, so I came in, met with the director, and was given a full GAship! This meant I had to forgo my 1/2 TAship, but the DGS at the time let me push it back by a year, meaning that I would be at least partially covered in my second year. Once my first year was coming to a close, they hired a full-time staff person to replace me in the undergraduate writing center, but right around the same time there was a position that opened up in the graduate writing center, and a couple of my co-workers put in a good word for me with the director there (without my even knowing it). Simultaneously, my advisor gave me a heads up about another 1/2 GAship with the graduate field committee for medieval and early modern studies...which is perfectly in my field. Her recommendation was basically accepted without question, and voila! I had two 1/2 GAships that made for one full assistantship. The one problem was that I had the 1/2 TAship, which I couldn't technically accept any longer because of regulation of hours (there's a 20-hour cap). However, the DGS granted me a one-time "overload" to teach a section of English 101, which not only allowed me to get some teaching experience, but also gave me an extra $4600 over and above the $20k I was making from my other two assistantships. It made for a very busy semester -- two 1/2 GAships, a teaching appointment, two courses, and preparing Ph.D. applications -- but it all worked out.

That big, long paragraph is all to say that there are lots of funding possibilities. I would go so far as to say that more M.A. students in English have assistantships of some sort than do not. Sometimes this means you have to work a desk job in some weird department like puppet studies or something (I'm kidding...I don't think we have a puppet studies program, sadly), but it also means money and tuition remission.

My advice, then, would be to put out feelers in the near future. Contact the writing centers, go through the website and find some of the departments within the College of Arts and Humanities and see if there might be some things that pique your interest...then reach out with a brief, pleasant email to see if they'll be needing a GA in the summer or fall. My situation might sound like I lucked out a few times (and I did), but it's not THAT unique. 


Hope this is helpful!

Edited by Wyatt's Terps
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use