Several financial aid options are available for prospective graduate students in English.  If you wish to apply for scholarships and assistantships, your application must be complete and on file with the department by these deadlines:

Departmental Teaching Assistantships

The greatest number of our funded M.A. students are recipients of graduate teaching assistantships.  We award twenty-one teaching assistantships each fall, with approximately half of these usually assigned to new students. Recipients teach one section of first-year composition each semester; they receive stipends of approximately $17,000 (Fall 2023) for the nine-month school year as well as 9 hours of tuition remission for each semester and 6 hours for two summers while enrolled in the program.

During their first semester, assistants must enroll in ENG 693: Teaching College Composition.  This three-credit seminar helps new TAs understand the goals and context of Maine’s first-year course and learn to plan effective course procedures. After that first semester, TAs adapt the curriculum to their own courses, as long as they observe course-wide goals and shared evaluation procedures. Those who teach well during their first year will normally have their assistantships renewed for their second year.

Award of an assistantship depends, in part, on submission by January 29th of ALL materials:

  • three letters of reference
  • transcript(s)
  • writing sample(s)
  • the TA application essay (this is sent to applicants upon receipt of their complete application)
  • application fee

Applicants whose files are completed after the deadline may still be considered for a TA position but are likely to be placed on a waiting list.

Assistantships normally begin in the fall. Spring-semester applicants are encouraged to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the Office of Student Financial Aid as soon as possible to qualify for other forms of UMaine and federally sponsored aid. We recommend that all students applying to our program submit the FAFSA.

Applying for a Teaching Assistantship

To apply for a teaching assistantship, please check the appropriate line on the graduate school application form.  The Graduate Secretary of the English Department will see your decision on the form and will email you the TA application for completion by the application deadline.  The department welcomes applications from both experienced teachers and those who hope to gain such experience.

For more details about teaching assistantships, contact:

Graduate Coordinator, Professor Dylan B. Dryer via email:

For specifics about the curriculum and pedagogical approach used by the writing program, contact:

Professor Ryan Dippre, Director of College Composition, at 311 Neville Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469 or ryan or 207.581.3836

Second-Year Applications for the Teaching Assistantship

Students who did not apply for or did not receive an assistantship for their first year of study are eligible to reapply for funding during their second year in the program. It is not necessary to initiate a new application with the graduate school. Instead, please send the graduate coordinator a short cover letter stating your intention to be reconsidered for funding by February 15th, attaching a revised Statement of Purpose, a sample of analytical scholarship from the first year in the program, and at least one letter of recommendation from a member of the English Department graduate faculty. Please also attach a completed (or revised) response to the TA application (contact the graduate coordinator ahead of time if you need the TA application materials).

Awards made for the second year, if any, will be considered in the full context of the composition of the incoming class as well as programmatic needs to keep first- and second-year cohort sizes in equilibrium.

The Ulrich Wicks Teaching Assistantship for M.A. Candidates

The English Department has initiated a third-year teaching assistantship for our most promising M.A. candidates. This assistantship provides a third year of funding for one of the most promising M.A. students. The Wicks Teaching Assistant continues to teach, to pursue scholarly, creative, and/or professional development activities, and to work under the direction of a faculty member to develop and teach a course in their area of specialization. At the end of this year, students receive an M.A. in Literature with a Graduate Certificate in Teaching in their field.  For more information or to apply to the Ulrich Wicks Teaching Assistantship for M.A. Candidates, click this link.

Federal Work-study Assistantships

Students in the English program may be eligible to compete for a limited number of work-study assistantships.  To determine eligibility you must submit your FAFSA by March 1.

Work-study assistantships carry full tuition remission and a stipend of around $12,000, in exchange for about twenty hours of work per week.

The Center for Poetry and Poetics routinely offers a federal work-study assistantship for a student who wishes to gain experience in the publishing and editing side of scholarly work.  This award has usually gone to a second-year student.

English students in the Gender & Literature concentration may be eligible to apply for a work-study assistantship with the Women in the Curriculum/Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

Graduate Fellowships, Scholarships, and Assistantships

The Graduate School awards a number of university-wide fellowships, scholarships and assistantships.  Each department nominates its applicants or current students for the awards and the Executive Committee of the Graduate Board makes the awards to the most qualified of these nominees.

If you wish to compete for one of these university-wide awards, be sure that your application is complete by January 15 and that you have informed the English Graduate Coordinator of your desire that the department will support your candidacy.

Three full-tuition Atlantic Provinces Graduate Scholarships are awarded to graduates of the colleges and universities of the Atlantic Provinces and Quebec.

Twenty Trustee Tuition Scholarships are awarded to full-time registered graduate students not supported by other scholarships, fellowships, or assistantships.

Students who have been matriculated in their program for at least one semester may compete for one of the fifteen Chase Distinguished, which normally fund thesis research.

Twenty full-tuition waivers are awarded to full-time registered international graduate students.

Eight or more Provost Graduate Fellowships are awarded annually to exceptionally qualified new students in any field.  These fellowships carry a minimum $15000 stipend as well as full tuition remission and partial health benefits.

Two Thurgood Marshall Scholarships, which pay a year’s tuition, are available to graduate students whose socioeconomic background, prior academic or work experience, and/or educational interests would bring a unique perspective to the university community. Preference is given to individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented at the University of Maine.