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Department of English

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the admission requirements?

Prospective students should apply to the program through the on-line application system. Applicants should complete the application form and submit a statement of objectives, a writing sample of 8-15 pages, an undergraduate transcript, three letters of recommendation, a GRE score report, and $50 application fee.

International applicants must also submit a TOEFL score report, Kansas State University's financial affidavit, and $75 application fee. International applicants who would like to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship will need to take Kansas State University's SPEAK test. (For more information about the SPEAK test, please contact the English Language Program at elp@k-state.edu.)

The Graduate Admissions Committee carefully reviews each application to the M.A. program. Applicants are generally expected to have a 3.0 or better in their undergraduate work, but the committee bases its primary judgment on the student's performance in English courses. The Department realizes that many persons do not mature as students until late in their undergraduate careers and so may be willing to accept students with less than the expected grade average if the students' final semesters indicate abilities to do graduate work.

When is the application deadline?

The most important of our deadlines – the priority deadline for applying for a graduate teaching assistantship or departmental scholarship or fellowship – is February 1. For applications received after Feb 1, GTAs are awarded only as available.

If students are seeking admission only (and not also a GTA), then other deadlines might be more relevant. For fall semester admission, prospective students must apply no later than August 1. For the spring semester, applications must be received by December 1.

In all cases, international applicants have earlier deadlines: December 1 for fall admission, July 1 for spring admission.

Do you require the GRE subject test as well as the General test?

No, only the general test is required. The university code is 6334.

Can the GRE requirement be waived?

In special, very limited circumstances, the Director of Graduate Studies may offer a waiver of the GRE score requirement for qualifying students. If taking the GRE would be an unusual hardship for you or if it poses an insurmountable obstacle to your application, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies at gradeng@ksu.edu.

Do you require a writing sample?

Yes. This is one of the most important parts of the application.

Can the writing sample be made up of more than one piece?


Can the writing sample be longer than 15 pages?

Sure. The Graduate Admissions Committee does prefer writing samples of about 8-15 pages, but slightly longer writing samples are fine.

Do applicants who want to enter the Creative Writing program need to submit a creative writing sample?

Yes. If you would like to enter the Creative Writing track, please submit a writing sample of either 10-30 pages of prose or 6-10 poems, in addition to the critical-analytical writing sample.

How will I know if you have received all of my application materials?

If your application is missing any of its various components (a letter of recommendation, transcript, etc.), we will contact you to let you know exactly what we've received and what is still needed.

Applicants can also check the status of their application (what materials have come in, etc.) by calling us at (785) 532-6716 or sending an email to gradeng@ksu.edu.

What does the department look for in a successful applicant for admission?

The Graduate Admissions Committee will look carefully at the applicant's entire file. It does not set minimum GRE score or minimum GPA cut-offs but instead attempts to get a full picture of candidates abilities and potentials by examining each component of the application, including especially the writing sample, the statement, and the letters of recommendation.

Can I earn an M.A. in English if I don’t hold a B.A. in English?

The Department recognizes that students who have majored in fields other than English as undergraduates may choose English for their graduate work. A number of our students in cultural studies, children's literature, technical writing, and creative writing come to us from other fields and majors. Such students are often admitted with provisional standing and are enrolled in selected courses for undergraduate credit to prepare them for their graduate work.

What kinds of financial assistance are available?

Most of our M.A. students (about two-thirds) hold a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), which provides valuable teaching experience as well as financial support and a full tuition waiver. GTAs usually teach three sections of Expository Writing per year, though there are other teaching and tutoring opportunities available as well. The current nine-month stipend is $12,000, and all GTAs come with a tuition waiver and the opportunity to enroll in the University's health insurance program.

The Department also offers a number of scholarships and fellowships to graduate students:

  • The Peggy and Gary Edwards Scholarship
  • The Jo Harriet Hofsess Popkins Scholarships
  • The Esther Glenn Scholarship
  • The Anne P. Grindell Scholarship for Kansas Teachers
  • The Seaton Fellowships in Creative Writing
  • The Longman Scholarship
  • The Timothy R. Donoghue Graduate Scholarship (Graduate School award)
  • The Earle R. Davis Memorial Scholarship
  • The Robert W. Conover Memorial Scholarship
  • The Jerome Johanning Memorial Scholarship

Some of these scholarships supplement the GTA stipend, and some of them are stand alone scholarships for which all graduate students in English are eligible. Some of them are intended for incoming students, some for continuing students, and others for students at any stage of graduate study.

Graduate students are also eligible for financial aid in the forms of loans and other kinds of federal financial aid. For more information about these kinds of financial assistance, please contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance at 785-532-6420 or 877-817-2287 (toll free) or by email at finaid@k-state.edu.

How do I apply for a GTA position or for the Department’s scholarships and fellowships?

Just select "YES" in response to the relevant questions on the on-line application form (the questions appear in the "Program Information" section). 

What factors do you consider when assigning GTAs?

A student's academic achievements and her or his promise for graduate study are the most important qualities considered by the Graduate Admissions Committee when awarding GTA positions. Experience or promise as a teacher, an interest in teaching and writing, and a desire to work with students can also become factors in the Committee's decisions.

What does the KSU graduate program in English offer that most other programs do not?

Two of our most distinctive programs are Children's Literature and Cultural Studies. The Program in Cultural Studies is one of the premiere M.A. programs in cultural studies in the United States. Our newest graduate concentration is Children's Literature, a program with a distinguished, internationally known, and award winning faculty. The Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and Professional Communication is another program not available at most universities; it draws students from a variety of graduate programs across campus.

We also offer very strong programs in more traditional areas such as literature, creative writing, and composition/rhetoric.

Where can I find more information about each the graduate programs within the English Department?

To learn more about each of the tracks or concentrations, please just click on the appropriate link below.

 To learn more about the grad certificate in tech writing, follow this link:

The details for each program of study can be found in Appendix A of our Graduate Student Handbook, which provides a wealth of information about the program.

Does KSU offer a Ph.D. in English?

No, we do not offer the Ph.D. in English. At the graduate level, we offer the M.A. in English and a Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and Professional Communication.

What is an average course load?

Nine to twelve credit hours (three to four classes) is an average course load for a full time graduate student who is not a GTA. The typical load for a GTA is ten hours during the semester when he or she is teaching one section of Expository Writing and seven hours during the semester when he or she is teaching two sections.

Part-time students take smaller course loads, often just one or two classes each semester.

How long will it take to complete the M.A. program?

The average time to degree is one year and nine months. Those who do not have GTA responsibilities are sometimes able to finish the degree more quickly, whereas part-time students may sometimes take longer than two years to complete the needed graduate work. The program can be quite flexible to fit a student's individual needs.

The M.A. typically requires ten graduate courses, fulfillment of the foreign language requirement, a writing project or thesis, and a defense of the writing project or thesis.

Should I be worried about the "language proficiency" requirement if I have never previously studied a foreign language?

The Graduate Program in English offers several different ways for students to fulfill the language proficiency requirement. For details about these various options, check out Section 25 of the Graduate Student Handbook.

What do graduates of your program usually do after they graduate? What kinds of careers do they pursue? How successful are they in obtaining jobs after graduation?

After completing their M.A. Degrees, our graduate students pursue a variety of different options. Some go on to earn advanced degrees in a variety of fields from law to literature and linguistics to cultural studies and composition. Others begin careers in technical and professional writing, community service, public school teaching, arts administration, community college teaching, publishing and editing, journalism, and business.

Our graduate program has produced famous poets, distinguished writers and editors, university leaders, successful doctors and lawyers, a number of passionate teachers at all levels, business executives and small business owners, caring counselors and clergy, and much more.

From talking with our alumni, we have learned that our alumni tend to be very successful in their chosen fields and that the M.A. in English leads to a variety of possible rewarding career options.

Does your program offer any help or any resources to help students as they search for jobs and begin their careers?

Yes. The Graduate Program in English offers an ongoing Professional Development Series composed of workshops and seminars designed to assist students as they choose career paths and make the transition from graduate school to career. Some workshops focus on graduate and professional schools, while others focus on career development and job searches.

The always-popular Alumni Career Panel brings successful departmental alumni back to campus to talk with students about various career options. It is an opportunity for students to learn about various careers, to make contacts with professionals in areas that might interest them, and to pick up valuable insight and information on everything from successful job searches to making the most of a graduate education in English.

We also work closely with the office of Career and Employment Services to make sure that our students have access to the information and resources that will allow them to move most successfully from their graduate studies to their future careers.

What kind of reputation does K-State's Graduate Program in English have?

One of the largest and most active departments at one of the nation's premier Land Grant Universities, K-State's English Department has a distinguished reputation based on a tradition of outstanding teaching and superb research and on its commitment to the belief that excellent teaching and excellent research complement and promote each other.

English at K-State is well known as a department that has deliberately focused on developing an outstanding Master of Arts program, one in which students can expect personalized attention from leading scholars during the master's phase of their graduate education.

K-State's graduate faculty in English includes internationally recognized scholars in children's literature, American literature, composition studies, cultural studies, creative non-fiction, and contemporary literature; award-winning poets, novelists, and short story writers; distinguished academic leaders in the fields of cultural studies, women's writing, and children's literature; the authors of more than two dozen recent books and hundreds of articles and shorter creative works; as well as several award winning instructors.

What are the students and professors like?What is the campus like?

K-State is a famously friendly campus. Students can expect small class sizes and plenty of interaction with professors and fellow graduate students.

The campus is seated in the heart of Manhattan, a city of about 50,000, located two hours west of Kansas City in a tree-filled valley amid the unique geography of the Konza Prairie and the dramatically rolling Flint Hills.

The Department of English is housed conveniently next to Hale Library, which has holdings of nearly two million volumes, and it is only a short walking distance from the Marianna Kistler Beach Art Museum.

Who are the professors in the Department and what do they teach?

You can take a look at the full list of our faculty and read their individual profiles by going to the English Department Faculty page.

Can I visit the campus and meet some students and professors?

Yes. If you would like to visit the Kansas State University campus and check out our Graduate Program in English in person, just let us know. We would be more than happy to meet with you and show you around the place.

To set up a campus visit, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies by telephone (785/532-6716) or email (gradeng@ksu.edu). For driving directions, campus maps, information about the campus and the city of Manhattan, and much more, check out K-State's website for Visitors.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English
108 English/Counseling Services Building
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-6501
Telephone: (785) 532-6716
Email: gradeng@ksu.edu