FAQ

How long are the programs?
The 32-credit MA program typically requires two academic years to complete. The 48-credit MFA program typically takes three years.

How many students are in the programs?
In the winter of 2014, the MA program had thirty-five enrolled students. The MFA program had twenty-five. These numbers are indicative of typical enrollment.

How many students do you admit?
The MA program admits over twenty students each academic year. The MFA program admits approximately six new students each year.

Are the programs fully funded?
No. The programs fund over forty students (twenty teaching assistantships for both the MA and the MFA, plus a small number of non-teaching graduate assistantships). Funding includes complete tuition remission and a stipend of nearly $9000 for the academic year. Summer grants are also available.  Acceptance into either the MA or MFA program does not guarantee funding. Learn about funding opportunities here. Both graduate assistant and teaching assistant applications are due February 1 (see the application procedures).

How many students are in a typical graduate class?
NMU graduate students benefit from small classes, usually limited to ten to fifteen students.

What kind of funding is available?
The majority of MA and MFA students receive tuition remission and a stipend in exchange for teaching one undergradaute level course each semester. Information on TA appointments and other funding opportunities can be found here.

What does a teaching assistantship involve?
TAs teach one, four-credit course each fifteen-week semester. Most TAs begin by teaching First-year Composition, but may have the opportunity to teach developmental composition, technical writing and creative writing courses while completing their graduate study.

I don’t have any teaching experience. Can I still be a teaching assistant?
Thought teaching experience can count in an applicant’s favor, the majority of incoming TAs at NMU have limited or no teaching experience. TAs arrive on campus two weeks prior to the start of the school year for an intensive teaching colloquium – EN 509. The colloquium convenes weekly throughout the semester.  English department teaching assistants receive exceptional training and support during their time at NMU.

What professional development opportunities are available?
Students have the opportunity to attend and submit papers to regional and national academic conferences throughout the academic year. The department also hosts regular sessions for students to learn about professional opportunities in a variety of fields  relevant to the English degree, and encourages students to apply for summer research grants. Passages North provides an opportunity for  academic service while gaining experience editing and publishing a nationally- distributed literary journal.

Can I take courses outside my area of concentration?
Yes! Both the MA and MFA programs are designed to allow students room to explore new genres and fields during their time at Northern Michigan University.

Is there a literary journal?
Passages North is the literary journal of Northern Michigan University. All graduate students are invited to contribute their time to the journal for a behind the scenes look at current publishing landscapes.

How do I apply to the programs?
Applicants to both the MA and MFA programs  can find application guidelines here.

Do I need to take the GRE?
No, neither the MA nor the MFA program requires GRE scores.

If I want to apply for funding, when is the deadline?
Applications for teaching and graduate assistantships are due February 1.

When will you notify applicants of admissions decisions?
We begin notifying applicants of their admission status by the end of March.

What is Marquette like in the winter?
So glad you asked! Our winters are long and snowy due to Marquette’s stunning location on the shore of Lake Superior, but few residents let the weather get in the way of their fun. Outdoor recreation and community activities keep Marquette hopping year-round. We pick fiddleheads in the spring, surf and kayak in the summer, cheer on dogsled teams in the winter, and the hiking and biking never stop up here. You can read more about NMU’s home in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula here.

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