What graduate programs does the UNM English Department offer?
What if I am not an English Major; may I still apply?
How are graduate applications evaluated?
What should I include in a letter of intent?
What kind of writing sample must I submit and how long does it need to be?
How long will it take to complete the Master's Degree or the Ph.D. Degree?
I have taken some graduate level classes. Can I transfer these courses into your graduate program?
We offer three graduate degrees:
Language and Literature (British & Irish Lit, American Lit Studies)
Rhetoric and Writing
British and Irish Literature
Rhetoric and Writing
Yes, you may. Students must hold a Bachelor's degree either in English or a related discipline to enter the Master's Program in English Literature. Applicants to the MA Writing programs may have a variety of undergraduate degrees. A Master's degree in English or a related discipline is required to enter the Ph.D. program.
The Graduate Committee evaluates all applications in the following order of significance: letter of intent and writing sample; GRE scores and transcripts; letters of recommendation and additional considerations. The Committee evaluates applications to Master’s programs in literature or professional writing, while PhD and MFA. applications undergo a two-part review process. First, representative faculty members in the department read, rank, and recommend PhD or MFA. applications; these recommendations then go the Graduate Committee, which performs its own evaluation process before making final admissions decisions.
The letter of intent and the letters of recommendation should convey a sense of the applicant's purpose and commitment to graduate study in English. They also communicate a sense of individual personality and style. Tell us how a two or three year program (M.A.), or a six to seven year program (Ph.D.) of advanced study fits in with what you have done in the past and hope to do in the future. Please describe your motivation for the advanced study of language and literature. If you are familiar with the University of New Mexico's M.A. or Ph.D. programs in English, please say which courses and instructors are of particular interest, and why. For more detailed guidance in the writing of a Letter of Intent, please see the OGS page.
Creative Writing: The Creating Writing faculty hope to glean from the writing sample a sense that you have grappled with issues of craft, at least on a rudimentary level. This is true for both fiction and poetry. We like writing in which the author takes risks. Though our strengths as a writing faculty are varied, we are as a faculty interested in content-based, character generated fiction and poetry that demonstrates some understanding of open and closed forms and an ability to write in at least some of these forms. Our program is not geared toward genre fiction (e.g. mystery, sci-fi, fantasy) nor is it geared toward poetry that has no aesthetic values. More important than a strong background in fiction and/or poetry is a sense that the writer shows promise and commitment to the work, and our sense that our program can nurture development and support the writer's strengths. If you are submitting short fiction, we recommend that you send along two short stories; if your writing sample is an excerpt from a longer work, you should include with it a sample of your short fiction or a synopsis of the longer work. Please submit 15-20 pages of your prose. If you are submitting poetry, we recommend you submit a short portfolio of ten to fifteen poems, no more than 15-20 pages in length.
Rhetoric & Writing: This sample should be 20 pages of non-fiction prose or workplace text. For example, an academic essay on any topic would be acceptable. Or, a report, proposal, or a larger workplace text would work also. The writing sample should be long enough to demonstrate writing proficiency.
Literature: The writing sample indicates the level of proficiency the applicant has attained in the writing of analytic, expository prose on a topic pertinent to the advanced study of language and literature. A substantial essay from an upper-division course in British, Irish or American literature is recommended for this submission. Especially close attention is paid to the writing sample in awarding of teaching assistantships. Please submit a 10-15 page sample of your analytic, expository prose.
The length of time to complete a degree will vary with an individual's situation. For your general information, full time status is nine semester credit hours (three courses). A full complement of courses is offered each Fall and Spring with some graduate offerings also available during Summer sessions. Students involved in teaching may take fewer courses per semester, which extends the number of semesters required to complete a program. Students who have not completed the language requirements prior to entering these programs may also require more time to complete their degrees.
There are time limits for completion of a degree:
Seven-Year Rule for Master's Degrees: All work toward the Master's degree (including any coursework transferred from another institution) must be within a seven year period (including Summer sessions).
Five-Year Rule for Doctoral or MFADegrees: Candidates have five calendar years to complete all degree requirements from the semester in which the candidate successfully passes his or her Ph.D. or MFA. Comprehensive examinations.
Students may transfer up to 12 hours of graduate credit from another institution or from non-degree status into their graduate program of studies upon approval of the graduate director. This is not an automatic process and is something done after admission to the graduate program.