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Student Funding

Departmental Financial Support

Graduate students in the department have access to several kinds of financial aid, some from sources at the university level, other from within the department.

The Department has a number of ways of supporting graduate students while also contributing to their professional development. Our teaching, research, and editorial assistantships and associateships are all designed to provide financial assistance and valuable professional experience. Eligibility guidelines for assistantships and fellowships are outlined in the Graduate Handbook.

Teaching Assistantships and Associateships

Graduate Teaching Assistantship

Applicants must complete their BA before beginning service.

Pays a stipend and waives tuition for Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

Teaching duties are assigned for Fall and Spring semesters only.

Assistants normally devote three-fourths of their time to graduate study and one-fourth to departmental duties, which are planned specifically as preparation for teaching.

Each teaching assistant is assigned to an experienced staff member for five hours a week, observes at least one class regularly, reads student papers, holds student conferences, and teaches a freshman-level class under supervision at least one week (i.e., three hours) each term.

Students also are assigned to the Writing Center for five hours per week. Permission from the director of graduate studies is required for any outside employment.

Graduate Teaching Associateships
Applicants from other universities must have completed the MA and had experience either as a teacher or as an intern.

Graduate Teaching Assistants at UT who have completed satisfactory work and eighteen semester hours of graduate English courses will be promoted to teaching associates in their second year.

Pays a stipend and waives tuition for Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

Teaching duties are assigned for Fall and Spring only.

Appointees with the MA have the option of teaching up to four courses during the regular academic year and may teach an additional class in the summer if available.

Teaching associates must take at least six hours of graduate courses each semester during the regular academic year, and teach a minimum of two courses.

To retain a fee waiver, a student must teach at least one course per term.

Permission from the director of graduate studies is required for any outside employment.

For new program applicants there is no separate application for a teaching assistantship or associateship. Simply complete your application form to the program and indicate that you wish to be considered for a position.

Note: The PhD program is considered a three-year program for candidates working full time on their doctorates. PhD candidates who hold teaching associateships are expected to complete their doctoral work within four to five years under normal circumstances; the graduate school must review teaching associateships after the fourth year.

Research and Editorial Assistantships

The department has instituted a number of awards for graduate students that utilize special departmental endowments, especially the Better English Fund, established by John C. Hodges, and the John B. Emperor Fund. The following awards are currently available to our graduate students:

  • Richard Beale Davis Editorial Assistantship Founded in honor of a former member of the department and distinguished scholar in American literature who was one of the original editors of Tennessee Studies in Literature. Each assistantship reduces the teaching load of the student selected and obligates the recipient to assist in editing the department’s publications: Journal of Second Language Writing, Sidney Journal, and the Tennessee Studies in Literature. Ordinarily, Davis Fellowships are not awarded to first- or second-year students.
  • Nathalia Wright, John Hurt Fisher, Alwin Thaler, and Percy Adams Research Assistantships Founded in honor of distinguished scholars who are former department members. These assistantships are awarded competitively and reduce a TA’s teaching load either to 1-1 or 2-1 and assign him or her to a professor for a research experience roughly equivalent to the two courses of released time.
  • Research Assistant for John C. Hodges Chair of Excellence?A three-year research position (one class release time each term of the first and third year and two classes release time each term of the second year).

Fellowships and Awards for Scholarship and Teaching
  • John C. Hodges, First-Year MA and PhD Fellowships: Several fellowships of varying amounts to support first-year graduate students in the MA and PhD programs. These may be held in addition to a graduate assistantship or associateship.
  • Bain and Irene Stewart Fellowship: Awarded to two top-ranking first-year PhD candidates. The recipient will receive the full stipend amount, a teaching load of 1-1, and remission of tuition and fees for one calendar year (except charges for activities).
  •  W.E.B. Du Bois Fellowship: Named in honor of the humane man of letters and African American scholar who taught in the rural countryside of Tennessee during his years of undergraduate study in Nashville, this fellowship of $2,500 annually is available to African American US citizens of scholarly potential and talent to pursue graduate studies in English. This fellowship may be renewed upon demonstration of solid performance and progress toward a degree. This award may be held in addition to a graduate teaching assistantship or associateship.
  • John C. Hodges Award for Exceptional Scholarship: A candidate for this award of $1,500 is nominated by one or more professors in March. No student may win this award more than once.
  • V. Carolyn Martin Summer Fellowship: Founded in honor of a former member of the department, these fellowships pay part of the tuition fees of Tennessee high school and community college teachers who wish to attend summer sessions and either work for advanced degrees in English or otherwise increase their knowledge and expertise. These awards are made only for courses taken for graduate credit. Applications should be mailed to the director of graduate studies before February 15.
  • Roscoe Parker Linguistics Fellowship: Founded in honor of a former member of the department and scholar in Medieval literature and the English language, this grant enables students to travel to the Linguistic Institute of America. Normally this award is made to a student committed to a career in linguistics who is well advanced in a program of doctoral study.
  • F. DeWolfe Miller Graduate Student Travel Grants: Travel support is available for full-time graduate students in residence to attend national or regional professional meetings if they participate actively in the program. Students may receive a maximum of $1,000 of such funding per academic year.
  • Edward Bratton Summer Stipends for Hilton Smith Fellows: These stipends provide full tuition support for Hilton Smith Fellows who wish to take summer school courses in the summer following their fellowship year.
  • Internships/Fellowships for International Students: Small stipends are occasionally available for academically well-qualified students not yet qualified for teaching assistantships or associateships.
  • Hodges Excellence in Teaching Awards: Two Hodges Teaching Awards of $1,500 each, one for an experienced graduate teaching associate and one for a first-year graduate teaching associate, are given each year to recognize excellence in teaching.

Dissertation Fellowships

For travel

  • Thomas Wheeler Traveling Fellowship: Founded in honor of a former member of the department and scholar of Renaissance literature, three competitive fellowships, normally $1,000 each, are available each year to students who need to travel in this country in pursuit of research on the dissertation, or two competitive fellowships of $1,500 for students who need to travel abroad.

For released time

  • Durant da Ponte American Literature Fellowship: Founded in memory of a former member of the department and scholar in American literature, one fellowship, normally $1,000, is awarded annually to an outstanding student writing a doctoral dissertation in American literature. This award will provide a course release for an academic year. If research is elected, the students may teach two courses while holding this fellowship.
  • Norman J. Sanders Dissertation Fellowships: PhD graduate teaching associates who reach ABD status within three years of the first date of matriculation will receive a two-course reduction in their teaching load for their fourth year to expedite work on their dissertations.
  • John B. Emperor Fellowships: Several grants are available to doctoral students to enable them to be released from some teaching duties (one class, normally during the spring semester) to work on their dissertations. These awards are made on the recommendation of faculty members supervising the dissertations who are satisfied that their candidates have made substantial progress in research leading to the completion of the dissertation. Not applicable during summer.
  • Joseph Trahern Medieval/Renaissance Literature Dissertation Fellowship: Founded in memory of a former member of the department and a scholar in Medieval literature, this award is granted to an outstanding student writing a dissertation in Medieval or Renaissance literature. This award provides a course release for one academic year.

For financial support

  • Owens-Keenan Medieval, Southern, and Children’s Literature Dissertation Award: This fellowship provides $1,500 for students working on dissertations in the above mentioned areas.

Job Interview Stipends

  • A number of grants are available to help students travel to professional meetings or colleges or university campuses for job interviews. A maximum amount of $600 per year is available for this purpose.

Post-Doctoral Instructorships
  • Post-doctoral full-time instructorships are available on a competitive basis to PhD recipients who have competed their degree the previous year.

University Financial Aid

Fellowships

  • Herman E. Spivey Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities: To be eligible, the applicant must be a first-time enrollee in the fall semester in a graduate degree program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Awards will be made to selected students who are nominated by academic departments offering programs in humanities. Nominees must be fully admitted graduate students who will be engaged in the full-time graduate study. Stipend of $15,000 for one year. Awarded on merit. To be eligible for this award, students must be nominated by the DGS.
  • J. Wallace & Katie Dean Graduate Fellowship: To be eligible, the applicant must be a first-time enrollee in the fall semester in a graduate degree program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Awards will be made to selected students who are nominated by academic departments offering graduate programs. Nominees must be fully admitted graduate students who will be engaged in the full-time graduate study. Stipend of $15,000 for one year. Awarded on merit. To be eligible for this award, students must be nominated by the DGS.
  • Graduate Diversity Enhancement Fellowship: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Graduate School seeks to recruit, enroll, and retain qualified students will will benefit from educational and social interactions with peers who come from different backgrounds and who have different life experiences, perspectives, and goals. The fellowship provides $15,000, paid monthly from August through May, during the first year, in-state maintenance fees, out-of-state tuition, and health insurance for one year. Applicants must be nominated by DGS.
  • Lori Mayer Re-Entry Women’s Graduate Fellowships: These are open to entering graduate women students who are U.S. citizens, 27 years of age or older, and who have been out of a formal educational program for at least five years. Award is $7,000 stipend paid over ten months during the Fall and Spring. Requires admission to degree program at UTK and to the Graduate School. Applicants must be nominated by DGS.
  • Graduate School Fellowships: These are opened to graduate applicants who demonstrate successful academic and professional performance. Only students in their first semester of graduate work as degree-seeking students are eligible. The award will provide a $5,000 stipend, paid over 10 months during Fall and Spring for full-time study in a graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Requires admission to a UTK degree program and to the Graduate School. Applicants must be nominated by the DGS.

Loans

Four types of loan programs are administered by the Financial Aid office:

  • Perkins Loan, formerly National Direct Student Loan (Financial Aid Form or Family Finance Statement must be on file).
  • Guaranteed Student Loan (Financial Aid Form and Family Finance Statement must be on file with appropriate Guaranteed Student Loan forms).
  • Parent Loan Undergraduate Student/Supplemental Loan Student (requires appropriate loan papers on file).
  • The University of Tennessee Loan.

Processing time varies from one loan program to another. Interested students should contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

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