Graduate Brochure - M.A. and M.F.A. Programs


M.A. and M.F.A. Degree Programs

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Master's degree programs in English, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Degree and Grades. Students are required to have an undergraduate degree in English, or a related field, from an accredited college, with at least a 3.0 GPA average, or its equivalent. This is the minimum requirement. Most successful applicants have GPA averages that are considerably higher.
  2. GRE Scores. All applicants are required to submit GRE scores. Verbal scores in the 86th percentile range are typical among successful candidates, though such scores provide no guarantee of acceptance. We accept the old as well as revised versions of the GRE test. International applicants must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must score at least 550 on the paper-based exam or 80 on the internet-based exam. International students seeking a teaching assistantship in the English department are required to receive a scored of 28 or higher on the speaking section of the Internet-based TOEFL test.
  3. A completed online application (see Application Information below).
Degree Requirements

To complete the M.A. or M.F.A. in English, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Earn 33 credit hours (45 for M.F.A.) with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better in approved courses as described below for each emphasis.
  2. Satisfy a foreign language requirement (there is not a foreign language requirement for the M.F.A.).
  3. Satisfactorily complete a final requirement as described below for each emphasis.

The M. A. Program in Literature

Students who choose the literature track will need a faculty advisor by the beginning of their second year. Their 33 semester hours of course work must include the following:

General Literature Requirements:

  • Gateway Theory Course ENG 5079 (Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies)
  • One course pre-1660.
  • One additional course pre-1800.
  • One additional course 1660-1900.

Nine hours in an Area of Concentration selected from the following list:

  1. Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies (through 1660)
  2. British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1900
  3. Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish)
  4. American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900
  5. African-American Literary and Cultural Studies
  6. History of Text Technologies
  7. Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  8. Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies

One literature course whose chief organizing principle is alterity (i.e., a course that focuses on race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity). In this one instance the course fulfilling this requirement may, as well, fulfill another.

As a final requirement, students pursuing an M.A. in Literature must complete the Capstone Course in Professional Research and Writing (ENG 5835). See the Graduate Handbook for description.

The M. A. Program in English with an Emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition

Master's students who choose to emphasize rhetoric will complete thirty-three semester hours of course work, to include:

  1. At least twelve hours of course work in rhetoric, from the following: ENC 5700, ENG 5028, ENC 5720, LAE 5370, LAE 5946; and ENG 6939 when the topic is rhetoric.
  2. Six hours of thesis credit or other course credit.
  3. ENG 5079 (Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies).
  4. 12 additional hours of course work.

As a final requirement, students emphasizing rhetoric and composition must complete and defend a thesis or take a portfolio examination.


The M. F. A. Program in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing

Students who wish to obtain the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing must complete forty-five semester hours of coursework, to include:

  1. 21-24 hours of work in writing, of which:

    12-15 will be taken in any combination of the following courses, provided at least two of the courses are taken: Fiction Workshop, Poetry Workshop, Drama Workshop, Article and Essay Workshop (the four workshops in writing may be repeated for credit), or Writing Seminar;

    9-12 hours will be devoted to writing a creative thesis.

  2. 21-24 hours in literature and related courses, including ENG 5079 (Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies).


Financial Support: Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships



The majority of students in the Graduate English Program receive support in the form of a teaching assistantship. Teaching assistants are provided with a stipend and a waiver for most of their tuition. Experienced TAs are often invited to teach during the summer term for an additional stipend. Typically, M.A. students are offered a two-year assistantship, M.F.A. students are offered a three-year assistantship, and Ph.D. students are offered a four-year assistantship and are eligible to apply for a fifth year contingent on satisfactory progress through the degree program and availability of funds.


The Florida State University Graduate School offers several fellowships and awards each year. The most prestigious and competitive of these is the newly established Adelaide Wilson Fellowship which will be awarded to newly admitted Ph.D. students this year. This fellowship is $30,000 per calendar year, and it provides support for up to 5 continuous years. 15 multi-year Legacy fellowships will also be awarded to incoming doctoral students this year. The Legacy Fellowship is a $10,000 supplement to a 0.5 FTE assistantship (required) per academic year, and it provides an annual health insurance subsidy. Ph.D. students at the dissertation stage are eligible to apply for a very limited number of University Dissertation Fellowships, currently funded at $10,000 plus tuition waivers for three terms. Finally, students may apply for the $10,000 Kingsbury Writing Award. For more detailed information on any of these fellowships and awards, please go to the Graduate School website ( ).

Minority Fellowships

Leslie N. Wilson - Delores Auzenne Assistantship for Minorities: This assistantship is available for all new or currently enrolled minority graduate students. Nomination is through the department or college, but competition for these awards is on a university-wide basis. The stipend is a minimum of $5,000 per academic year plus tuition waivers. Assistants also receive an annual health insurance subsidy. In addition, eligible minority students may qualify for the FAMU Feeder Fellowship. This fellowship is for students that graduated from Florida A&M University and completed the FAMU Feeder program. Awards will be given for a maximum of four years for doctoral degree-seeking students, and two years for master's degree-seeking students. The award will have a non-duty stipend of $5,000 for each of the Fall and Spring semesters. A number of African-American students in the program have also held McKnight Doctoral Fellowships, which provide up to five years of support, with a stipend of $12,000 plus tuition waivers. These fellowships are administered by a state-wide foundation. For further information on any of these fellowships, see the Graduate School website ( ).

Post-graduation teaching appointments

Upon receiving the Ph.D. in English, as part of their professional development and in tandem with the job search, graduates may teach composition in the department for up to two years through the Next Generation Visiting Assistant Professor Award program and/or the Visiting Teaching Faculty Program. Both are salaried appointments with benefits, albeit with different sets of eligibility requirements and teaching responsibilities.



Application Information

Procedures for applying to the M.A., M.F.A., or the Ph.D. Degree Program

The online application opens on August 1, 2019 for admission to the Summer semester 2020, and it closes on December 13, 2019. The following items are required to complete an application:

  1. Submit an electronic application at
  2. The following items should be uploaded in the supporting documents portion of the application
    1. Statement of Purpose (250-500 words describing the applicant's academic and professional experience and goals)
    2. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
    3. Writing Sample (applicants to the literature or rhetoric program should submit a critical essay; applicants to the creative writing program should submit 10 poems, a story, or a chapter from a novel)
    4. GRE Scores GRE Scores (Please note: GRE General Test scores are required for all degree applications: the GRE Subject Test is not required for any degree application)
    5. Unofficial Transcripts
  3. Submit three (3) letters of recommendation through the electronic application. Note: Our online application system does not support submission of recommendation letters via Interfolio.
  4. Submit the application fee upon completion of the electronic application.
  5. Submit official transcripts (from every university attended) and GRE scores to:
    • Office of Admissions
    • Florida State University
    • 282 Champions Way
    • PO Box 3062400
    • Tallahassee, FL 32306-2400

Important: students applying for the MFA or the PhD in Creative Writing should specify intended genre (poetry, fiction, non-fiction) in the appropriate space in the application.

For more information about the application procedure please see the Graduate Studies homepage at:

Deadlines: All new students, which include the PhD, MA, and MFA, will be admitted in the summer semester each year. To be considered for admission and a teaching assistantship in Summer, 2020, the online application must be submitted by December 13, 2019. For University Fellowships deadlines - See the Graduate School website

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