Full-time English graduate students receive tuition waivers, a living stipend, and access to university health insurance. This funding is supported by guaranteed teaching assistantships, through which our graduate students gain valuable classroom experience in our innovative First-Year Writing Program, which is dedicated to writing across technology, collaborative learning, and small class sizes. Students in our PhD program also have the opportunity to teach classes in their research area.

Contracts are distributed early in the spring term inviting continuing students to apply for financial support for the following year. Students can also apply for need-based aid (Work Study, grants, and low-interest loans payable after graduation) through the Financial Aid Office.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships and Financial Aid

The Department of English provides financial support to full-time graduate students primarily through teaching assistantships (TAs). TA appointments are normally made for the nine-month academic year beginning in August and ending in May. During that time, a student with a full TA is expected to be a full-time student, taking at least two graduate courses (six credits per semester), reading for exams, or writing a dissertation in addition to teaching two undergraduate courses per semester.

TA support depends on the availability of department resources and requires that a student remains in good academic standing, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and no more than three incompletes on their academic record. Students actively enrolled in the English graduate program whose offer letters state that teaching assignments are for the coming fall may reasonably assume (unless there is an explicit caution to the contrary) that their assignments will continue for the following spring. Offer letters must be signed immediately and returned to the English graduate office for processing. 

TAs carry a tuition waiver as well as a living stipend. That stipend increases slightly for PhD students as they reach different program milestones. Funded students also have access to university health insurance. TAs do not cover university fees or parking expenses. 

The length of projected financial support for a graduate student depends on their degree program and the semester they started their graduate study at UConn.

  • All MA students: four semesters of support 
  • MA/PhD students beginning study in Fall 2023 or earlier: 14 semesters
  • PhD students beginning study in Fall 2023 or earlier: 12 semesters 
  • PhD students entering with a BA beginning study in Fall 2024 or later: 12 semesters 
  • PhD students entering with an MA in English or Rhet/Comp beginning study in Fall 2024 or later: 10 semesters 

The English Department and the University offer some opportunities for non-teaching Graduate Assistantships. These opportunities are competitive and typically available to students in their second year of graduate study and beyond. They may involve, for example, administrative responsibilities, advising work, or curriculum development.

Graduate Writing Prizes

All graduate students in English are eligible and are encouraged to submit writing for awards and contests sponsored by the Department, including the Aetna Graduate Writing Award, the Long River Review Graduate Writing Award, and the Aetna Awards for Children's Literature and Creative Nonfiction. For a full list of opportunities, please visit our Awards, Contests, and Scholarships page.

Additional Funding Sources

Work Study

Funds for support of work-study projects, within or outside the Department, are awarded through the Student Employment Office located in the Wilbur Cross Building. Summer work-study is also available through that office.


You can view a list of low-interest loans options, payable after graduation, on the Office of Student Financial Aid Services website. Emergency, no-interest emergency loans are also available through the Department of English. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies if you require such a loan.


You can view a list of need-based grants on the Office of Student Financial Aid Services website.

Note: Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Institutional Aid Application to be considered for grant awards.

Graduate Fellowships

University Predoctoral Fellowships

Each year, UConn’s Graduate School disperses predoctoral fellowship money to the English graduate program. The amount of this fellowship pool fluctuates year to year, and the English graduate office disperses that funding as equitably as possible among MA/PhD and PhD students in the latter stages of the program.

Graduate School Summer Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

Each spring, the Graduate School invites applicants for the Summer Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, which is intended to support the successful completion of the dissertation. Please review the eligibility criteria for this fellowship carefully before applying. This is a one-time $2,000 fellowship. If awarded, the funds will be awarded for the Summer term and paid through the Office of the Bursar. Click here for more information about eligibility and deadlines.


Note: Fellowships as Taxable Income

All fellowship awards are considered taxable income and must be reported on annual income tax forms.

Fellowship payments are subject to federal and state income taxes unless the payment is used to pay for qualified tuition and required enrollment fees. You will be personally responsible for any income taxes resulting from the receipt of this fellowship payment. You should be advised that fellowship payments used to pay for travel, supplies or equipment used in your independent research are not exempt from taxation. Fellowship payments, although taxable, are not subject to income tax withholding if paid to a U.S. citizen or resident alien. It is the sole responsibility of the student to report and pay taxes on the taxable portion of any fellowship, stipend, award or grant that he/she receives. Consistent with IRS guidance, the University does not withhold taxes on the taxable portion of fellowships, stipends, awards or grants except in limited circumstances involving nonresident aliens. If you are a nonresident alien, federal income taxes may be required to be withheld from your payment unless you qualify for exemption by way of an income tax treaty between the United States and your country of tax residence. Fellowship recipients may wish to consider making estimated federal and state income tax payments.

Additional details, and answers to many frequently asked questions, may be found on:

Travel Awards

Graduate School Conference Participation Awards

The Graduate School offers a Conference Participation Award to support students’ ability to present their research at national or international meetings and conferences, including both in-person and virtual events. This conference participation fellowship in the amount of $750 will be awarded for the semester following the application submission and paid through the student’s fee bill. Click here for more information about eligibility and deadlines.

English in-House Graduate Student Conference Funding

In-house departmental support for travel open to all MA and pre-ABD students in good standing. Proposals will be vetted three times a year. Students should complete submissions by September 1 (for conferences October–January), January 10 (for conferences February–May), and May 1 (for conferences June–September). Click here to access the conference funding proposal form.

The department distributes $1000 per competition cycle and awards nothing less than $100 per student. Typically, students will receive no more than one award per academic year for the presentation of research at an academic conference. Please contact the English graduate office for more information. 

Aetna Graduate Writing Support Award

The Aetna Chair of Writing invites applications for $500 (maximum) awards for research or professional travel aimed at the process and practice of writing in various settings:  creative, literary, professional, interdisciplinary, etc. Successful applications might, for example, focus on:

  • The teaching of writing in higher education
  • An author, literary figure, or academic figure use of writing to make or engage change in the world
  • Research on writing topics, such as:
    • Writing and Cognition
    • Writing and Culture
    • Writing Pedagogy Innovation
  • Attending or developing a writing-related workshop (e.g., a writing workshop at a conference, retreat, or symposium)

Ideas need not be specifically from this list.  Additional writing-focused topics and angles are welcome. Please explain in your application the relationship of your work to writing.

The largest total award granted (per year, per applicant) will be $500.

Application Guidelines

  • Address application to: the Aetna Chair of Writing Advisory Board
  • Send to: the Aetna Chair of Writing: Professor Brenda Brueggemann (
  • Submit your application AT LEAST 4 WEEKS IN ADVANCE of your planned research or conference travel.  8 weeks is even better.  12 weeks is optimal!
  • Include the following in your application:
    • A narrative of approximately 200-500 words that:
      • Indicates the research/travel project’s contribution to the study or teaching of writing
      • Describes the proposed use of the funds
    • A brief budget explanation that documents, in as much detail as possible, how the funds will be spent
    • The applicant’s current academic CV

The award is open for applications year-round. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and awards will be dispensed until funds are expended. Award applications are ideally considered when submitted at least 4 weeks in advance of the event/opportunity.

Following the Award

  1. A brief summary statement regarding the use and impact of the award is requested from the awarded applicant (typically within six months of receiving the award). This statement will be used in the Aetna Chair’s annual report to the Provost and Dean’s Offices, the UConn Foundation, and the UConn Board of Trustees.
  2. Applicants receiving awards are encouraged to consider presenting their outcomes from the award in a more public venue.