MA/MFA Exams and Graduation
The Graduate School Catalog outlines specific requirements and procedures, including deadlines, for graduation. Graduate students are responsible for reading the Catalog, for complying with the Catalog requirements, and for keeping informed of specific deadlines published by the Graduate School during the semester of graduation. Key steps in the procedure are discussed below.
Application for Admission to Candidacy
The Application for Admission to Candidacy, which lists courses completed and courses to be completed to meet degree requirements, should be submitted to the Graduate School at the end of the semester in which the student completes twelve hours of graduate work. This form should be completed in consultation with the adviser; to be approved it must include all course requirements for the degree emphasis. Variations from stated requirements in the student's degree emphasis (Creative Writing; Literature; Rhetoric and Professional Communication; English Studies for Teachers) must be approved by the English Department Graduate Studies Committee. To obtain approval for such a change, the student should submit a memo requesting the change through the adviser to the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee. Such requests should be submitted as early in the student's career as possible. The program outlined in the Application for Admission to Candidacy can be amended subsequently by a memorandum initiated by the student and approved by the adviser and the department head.
Application for Degree (Diploma)
The Application for Degree, including a fee, must be filed at the beginning of the semester in which the student wishes to graduate. Late filing entails paying an additional fee. Students who fail to complete all requirements for graduation by the deadline specified on the Application for Degree form may forfeit any fees paid and must reapply and pay all required fees.
Final Oral Examination
All students must pass a final oral examination. Students take the final oral examination after submitting the thesis, master essay, or portfolio to the examining committee (a copy of the thesis, essay, or portfolio should be delivered to each member of the examining committee seven working days before the final oral examination). The Graduate School requires the final oral examination to cover course work as well as thesis work, if applicable.
The exam must be scheduled for two hours, though its conduct is frequently briefer. Because everyone tends to get busy toward the end of the semester, students should schedule exams well in advance. Generally, the student works with the adviser to determine a good time.
To schedule the final oral exam, students must submit a Committee for Final Examination form to the Graduate School at least ten working days before the date of the final oral exam. The form is available at the Graduate School website and available from our Graduate Secretary. The form, containing the names of the examining committee and the time and place of the examination, must be signed by the student, the adviser, and the department head.
The examining committee consists of two members of the English graduate faculty and one member of the graduate faculty from the minor or a related department (who generally serves as the representative of the Graduate School). Students should obtain the consent of faculty members on the examining committee and should coordinate with them the date and time of the exam. Faculty members must have graduate status to serve on an exam committee. A list of graduate faculty is avaliable here. The Graduate School can resolve any doubt about whether a faculty member has graduate status. Sometimes students will submit the Committee for Final Examination form to the Graduate School before they learn whether they have passed the written examinations. Should a student not pass both parts of the written examination, the oral must be rescheduled and an amended form submitted to the Graduate School.
The Graduate School publishes deadlines each semester for scheduling the oral exam. Students should check with their adviser or with the Graduate School website to determine the deadline.
Submission of the Thesis to the Graduate School
Students who elect the thesis option are responsible for following Graduate School guidelines for writing and submitting the thesis (see separate thesis guidelines). Following the oral examination, the student is responsible for making appropriate revisions and submitting the thesis to the Graduate School by the deadline published by the Graduate School. Students should be aware of these deadlines.
Those students in the M.A. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication and English Studies for Teachers programs may opt to submit a portfolio of work in place of the thesis. Students in the Literature and Rhetoric and Professional Communication programs may opt to undertake a Master Essay in place of the thesis (or the portfolio for RPC students).