Graduate Assistantships 

The MA in English program offers two assistantship opportunities: the graduate teaching assistantship and the research assistantship. Admission to the WSU Graduate School and, if applicable, acceptance into the MFA, MA, or MALS program is a prerequisite for teaching assistant candidates. 

Research Assistantships (RAs) are typically offered to advanced students with approval of the department chair to aid individual faculty and the Writing Center in specific tasks. These assistantships may come with a partial tuition waiver if deemed indirect instruction.  

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) are a more common source of funding available to first- and second-year students.
 A number of assistantships are available each year and are awarded on a competitive basis. With satisfactory performance and progress toward the degree, a teaching assistant may have his or her assistantship renewed for one year.  In addition to a stipend, teaching assistants receive a 100% reduction in basic graduate tuition though not of other student fees. Tuition fees are not waived for undergraduate courses. 

Teaching assistants normally teach two sections of English Composition while taking six to nine hours of course work. All teaching assistants are required to take English 780: Advanced Theory and Practice in Composition. In addition, teaching assistants meet once a week with a syllabus leader and other teaching assistants who are teaching the same course. Because of the time demands of teaching and the support coursework required, teaching assistants may not accept additional outside employment unless they have the written permission of the English Department Chairperson.Teaching assistants are employed for the regular school year. Summer employment is a possibility, but the opportunities to teach in the summer are fairly irregular, and a teaching assistant should not make plans that are built upon the prospect of summer teaching.

GTA Deadlines
 If you wish to apply for a teaching assistantship, you should pay special attention to the MA program's February 10th and October 1st application deadlines. You should also note that the applicant is responsible for assuring that letters of recommendation for the teaching assistant applications are promptly submitted by the recommenders.
GTA Application Materials 

Applications for teaching assistantships should include the following: 

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant Application (PDF)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation. Letter writers are encouraged to speak to the candidate's strengths as a future teacher and should be sent directly to the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Rebeccah Bechtold (
  • A Writing Sample. Applicants may submit either an academic paper of five or more double-spaced pages (preferably one that has been graded) or an essay of three to five double-spaced pages which might include a discussion of why you would be an effective teacher, why it is important for a person today, in the era of cell phones and e-mail, to write effectively, or how teaching expository writing might benefit you as a scholarly writer.

Please note that it is the responsibility of the applicant to insure that the three letters of recommendation are sent by the recommenders. These may accompany the application if they are in sealed envelopes or they may be sent separately. Please ask those writing letters of recommendation to address your potential as a teacher. 

Submission Details

If you are a (prospective) MA in English Literature graduate student, please submit your GTA application materials, including the GTA application, the writing sample, and the letters of recommendation, to the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Rebeccah Bechtold ( 

"The English MA program has offered me flexible and varying skills that prepare me for employment beyond 'traditional' English careers. With the opportunity to teach, conduct research, work in the Writing Center, and code for a digital archive, my experience in the MA program has certainly been one of relevancy for today’s job market."  --Victoria Stewart, 2018