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Graduate School



Department Chair

Dr. Gary Totten

Graduate Coordinator:

Dr. Miriam Mara

Department Location

318 Minard Hall

Telephone Number

(701) 231-7143

Degrees Offered

 M.A., Ph.D.

Application Deadline

To be considered for admission and a teaching assistantship, applications must be completed by February 1 for fall semester.

Test Requirements


English Proficiency Requirements

TOEFL ibT 100

Master of Arts 

The Department of English, through its master's program, offers students the opportunity for intellectual growth and personal development; careers in diverse fields such as education, government, technical communication, law, public relations, theology, business; and studies leading to advanced degrees in such fields as English, law, creative writing, religious studies, and education.

Students may choose from two options within the masters in English: literature or composition. These options require ENGL 760, Graduate Scholarship, normally taken during the student's first or second semester in residence. In providing an opportunity for wide-ranging career choices through the two options, the department emphasizes critical thinking as an essential approach to the writing of papers, the making of oral reports, and the study of language and literature.

Admission Requirements 

The Department of English graduate program is open to all qualified graduates of universities and colleges of recognized standing. To be admitted with full status to the program, the applicant must have completed a major in English at the undergraduate level. 

Financial Assistance

Teaching assistantships are available and are based on the applicant's scholastic record and letters of recommendation. However, the student must first make application to the Graduate School and be accepted for admission before she/he is eligible for an assistantship in the Department of English. Letters of application for teaching assistantships should be submitted at the same time as the application to the program is submitted to the graduate school and should specify experience and qualifications. 

Graduate students are awarded teaching assistantships for the academic year only. As of the 2009-2010 academic year, the annual stipend is $8,500. University graduate tuition charges (not fees) are waived for all TAs. Teaching Fellowships are available to selected TAs after completing course work. Moreover, the Department of English annually awards the Rooney Scholarship and the Madeline S. Giddings Scholarship ($1,000) to deserving graduate students. 

Degree Requirements 

The Master of Arts program offers the option of completing 27 credit hours of letter-graded course work with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better, and a 3-credit master's paper. A thesis-oriented plan of study is also available with variable credit hours of letter-graded course work. Completion of intermediate competency in one foreign language is required. 

Within the first semester of graduate work, each student is assigned an academic adviser who helps in overseeing the student's course work and paper committee. Students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. after completing their M.A. degrees are encouraged to work closely with their respective advisers in choosing the courses which best prepare them for doctoral work. 

A graduate student in English should enroll in no more than 3 credits of ENGL 793, Individual Study/Tutorial, during his/her master's career. Exceptions are provided for through a graduate form signed by the chair of the department and the adviser. 

Literature Option

Students must

  • Complete ENGL 760 Graduate Scholarship and ENGL 762 Critical Theory.*
  • Complete 6 credits in British and 6 credits in American literature. At least three credits must be in pre-1900 American or pre-1660 British and at least three credits must be in post-1900 American or post-1660 British. Three credits in multicultural or post colonial literature is recommended.
  • Complete one course (3 credits) in Composition** or Linguistics.
  • Complete two elective courses (6 credits), literature recommended. 
  • Complete ENGL 797 or 798 (Master's Paper or Master's Thesis) 

Composition Option

Students must

  • Complete ENGL 760 Graduate Scholarship.*
  • Complete two required courses: ENGL 755 Composition Theory,* ENGL 756 Composition Research.
  • Complete three electives in Composition.**
  • Complete one course each in Literature and Linguistics.
  • Complete one elective.
  • Complete ENGL 797 or 798 (Master's Paper or Master's Thesis)

*Graduate students in any of the options are strongly advised to take Graduate Scholarship (ENGL 760) and, as appropriate, Critical Theory (ENGL 762) in their first year in the program. Students in the Composition Track planning to complete their course work in two years must take Composition Theory and Composition Research when they are offered, as those two core courses alternate.

**ENGL 764 Classroom Strategies for TAs may be used to satisfy one Composition requirement.

Click here for course descriptions.


Elizabeth Birmingham, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 2000
Field: Rhetoric and Professional Communication, Gender Studies, Architectural History, Theory, and Criticism 

Kevin Brooks, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 1997
Field: Rhetoric and Professional Communication, Computers and Composition, Writing Program Administration 

Linda L. Helstern, Ph.D.
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 2001
Field: Native American Literature, Modernism, Contemporary Poetry, Literature and the Environment 

R.S. Krishnan, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska, 1981
Field: Restoration and 18th-Century British Literature, Postmodern Theories, British Novel, Postcolonial Literature 

Andrew Flood Mara, Ph.D.
University of New Mexico, 2003
Field: Technical and Professional Communication, New Media, Rhetoric and Composition 

Miriam O'Kane Mara, Ph.D.
University of New Mexico, 2003
Field: Postcolonial Literature, Irish Modern and Contemporary Literature, British Victorian through Contemporary Literature 

Bruce Maylath, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1994
Field: International Technical Communication, Rhetoric and Composition, Linguistics 

Kelly Sassi, Ph.D.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2008
Field: English Education, Composition and Rhetoric, Native American Literatures, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

Dale Sullivan, Ph.D.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1988
Field: Rhetoric Theory and History, Rhetoric of Science, Rhetoric of Religion, Technical Communication 

Amy Rupiper Taggart, Ph.D.
Texas Christian University, 2002
Field: Writing and Rhetoric, Pedagogy, Literacy Studies 

Verena Theile, Ph.D.
Washington State University, Pullman, 2006
Field: 16th-/17th-Century Literature, Early Modern Drama, European Literature, Cultural Theory 

Gary Totten, Ph.D.
Ball State University, 1998
Field: Late 19th-/Early 20th-Century American Literature, Travel Literature, Multi-Ethnic American Literature 

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue Northwest/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 8:14:48 PM