Liberal Arts 133 | 32 Campus Drive | Missoula, MT | 406.243.5231

Graduate Studies

Thank you for your interest in our graduate programs at the University of Montana. The Department of English offers programs leading to a Master of Arts (MA) in Literature, a Master of Arts in Teaching, and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. Regardless of their chosen emphasis and degree program, our students are guided by a distinguished and dedicated faculty, who offer not only intellectual challenges in the classroom but also mentoring with such issues as publication, conference presentations, the job search, etc. As committed to research as they are to engaged teaching, our faculty continues to develop an impressive and innovative publication record, whether it is evidenced through our critically–acclaimed creative writers or through the scholarly production of our faculty working in Composition & Rhetoric, teaching and pedagogy, and literature and critical theory.

The students of these various programs often find themselves together in graduate seminars, and are at times even joined by students from the Department of Modern Classical Languages and Literatures, resulting in an interdisciplinary sensibility in the classroom as well as close relationships among students across disciplines. All graduate students will find ours to be a lively intellectual community, and they will also enjoy the collegiality and close student–faculty relationships that characterize our Department. They will be encouraged to take part in a variety of departmental events, will occasionally be appointed to committees involved with departmental governance, and will have the opportunity to present their work at such events as our "works–in–progress" series, the Literature and Research Colloquium (LARC), and at the annual Graduate Student and Faculty Conference.

The Application Process

If you are interested in applying, you might begin by reviewing the Graduate School's steps for applying for admission, at which point you can also get started with the Graduate School's online application process. Please check, as well, the pages and websites associated with the degree program to which you're applying (MFA Creative Writing, MA-LIT, MA in English Teaching).

After applying for the University of Montana Graduate School you will then apply with the Department of English program of your interest. To apply for an MFA or MA Literature, all remaining components of the application will be uploaded through Submittable (available here October 1, 2014).

University of Montana MFA in Creative Writing

University of Montana MA in Literature

To apply for an MA English Teaching, the paper application packet still applies. With a rolling admissions policy for the MA English Teaching program, there is no application deadline. However, if you wish to receive a Teaching Assistantship, your completed application packet must be postmarked by January 6th, 2015, with the Teaching Assistantship form completed.

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships, the main source of financial support for graduate students in the Department, are available to some MA and MFA students; with some program–specific exceptions and pending annual renewals, the positions are typically offered for two years. All decisions regarding assistantships are made by the Graduate Admissions Committees on the basis of academic or creative accomplishment (derived from the applicant´s transcripts, GRE scores, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and goal statement) and teaching ability or potential (derived from the applicant´s previous teaching experience, if any, and from letters of recommendation).

Each two-semester TA provides a stipend and waiver of the tuition fee (out-of-state or in-state) and a waiver of the registration fee, in compensation for teaching three credits per semester assigned by the department. On rare occasions, the Department offers one-semester assistantships. Other fees charged by the University are not included in the fee waiver package. For more detailed information on these fees, please see Student Tuition & Fees. Teaching assistants are required to register for at least 6 credits each semester.

Teaching Assistants almost without exception teach Composition. All TAs must participate in a five-day training the week before Fall semester begins, as well as a semester-long seminar devoted to the pedagogies and theories of Composition and Rhetoric, and thus all will work closely with and follow the program policies delineated by the Director of Composition.

Students who have received a TAship in their first year can apply for one in their second year by submitting a short letter requesting renewal to the Graduate Chair, which is typically due in the first week of January. Renewals are evaluated on the basis of satisfactory course work, progress toward the degree, and teaching performance during the preceding year; assistantships are never awarded for more than two years. Second-year renewals are the norm in the M.F.A. program and in the M.A. Literature program. The M.A. Teaching program normally offers their assistantships for one year.

All applicants for a Teaching Assistantship (including MFA applicants) must upload a sample of their expository writing (essay, term paper, research paper, etc.) in Submittable. MFA applicants for Teaching Assistantships must upload an expository writing sample of 7-15 pages. It need not be from an English course, so long as you believe it fairly represents your writing ability. If you are applying for or are already in any of the MA programs, the expository writing sample you submitted in your application for that program may also serve for this assistantship application; thus you need submit only one copy of that sample.

More Information

To learn more about your possibilities for graduate studies in one (or more) of our programs, please visit the webpages associated with the various programs, our course offerings archives, the faculty profiles that will reveal the range of research and teaching interests offered by our faculty, and the various thesis titles and accomplishments of our students in recent years. Please feel free, as well, to contact individual program directors individually, and to direct general and/or procedural inquiries about any of our programs to:

Leisa Nelson


Attn: Leisa Nelson

Department of English

32 Campus Drive
Liberal Arts 133
University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812-6120