Grad Program FAQs

Table of Contents

Finances | Benefits: Student Health Insurance | Benefits: Retirement | Registering for Classes | Summer Term | Daily Life in the English Department | Teaching | University Libraries | Conference Travel | Research Travel | The Job Market | Getting around Columbus | OSU and Columbus Area Resources for Graduate Students


When do I get paid? Or, where can I find the GTA and Fellow appointment dates and pay schedule for the 2015-16 academic year?

Generally speaking, pay day is the last business day of each month. Graduate associates and fellows appointed for Autumn Semester 2015 will receive their first paycheck at the end of August.  GAs on a nine-month appointment will receive one-half a month’s paycheck in August and one-half in May.

The Graduate School has outlined the appointment dates and pay schedule [pdf] for GTAs and Fellows.

Where can I find more information about my fellowship award?

The Graduate School provides details regarding first-year fellowship awards, multi-year awards, and Presidential awards.

I'm a brand-new first year student (or a student in my second year, when my fellowship reverts to a GTA), and Buckeyelink says that I owe some random amount of money. Am I going to have to pay that money, or will it be automatically deducted at some point?

You need to sign and turn in your GTA appointment document by the deadline provided by Tracee Mohler, the Department of English Fiscal Associate, for the fees to be deducted. Your account will reflect the graduate fee authorization (taking your balance down) the moment that your appointment is entered into the HR system. Within 24 hours after that, your account will reflect a small balance for other charges/fees; at the same time, it will reflect the words “pending payroll deduction” with the total amount that offsets the small balance for other charges/fees. (If you have not seen an update in the balance on your account by the second week of August, please contact Tracee Mohler: 614-292-6065 or

Where can I find more information about stipends by term?

Please contact the Department of English Fiscal Manager, Wayne Lovely, at

Where can I find out about other funding opportunities?

The graduate school provides a list of funding opportunities internal and external to the university.

How do I set up direct deposit?

To set up direct deposit, visit the Office of the Comptroller.

What is being deducted out of my paycheck?

Aside from federal, state, and city taxes, your retirement contributions, health insurance contributions, and student fees are deducted from your paycheck each month. If you have enrolled in on-campus parking, this will also be deducted from your pay check. For more information on the student fee schedule, see the registrar's office

Is there anything I have to pay that won’t be deducted from my paycheck?

Incidental fees, such as physician copays and library fees are not deducted from your paycheck. Additionally, if you take classes during May or Summer terms, the student fees will not be deducted from your paycheck unless you are on fellowship or teaching, so you should be sure to pay these fees upfront.

Benefits: Student Health Insurance

Where can I find information about graduate student benefits—for example, health insurance, including coverage for massage therapy and acupuncture?

The Office of Human Resources provides a graduate student benefits overview guide [pdf].

Where can I find information specifically about OSU student health insurance?

Visit the OSU Student Health Insurance website.

Where can I find information about benefits for dependents?

The Office of Human Resources provides a graduate student benefits overview guide [pdf] with dependent information listed on page 15.

What exactly do they treat at the Wilce Student Health Center?

The Wilce Student Health Center provides a wide range of services, including general care, OB/GYN care, STD testing, allergy testing, vision, and dental care. For a full list of their services, please see their website.

How do I make a medical/dental/vision appointment?

The easiest way to make an on-campus appointment is to call the Wilce Student Health Center at (614) 292-4321.

Whom do I contact if I want counseling?

For counseling, contact the Office of Student Life: Counseling and Consultation Service at (614) 292-5766. For more information, visit their website.

I want to be treated off of campus—are there any tips for helping me navigate that using Aetna’s health insurance?

A good general strategy when dealing with Aetna is to seek medical help outside of Franklin County as medical care providers within the county are considered to be in competition with OSU. For more information about off-campus health treatment, see the your Student Health Insurance Guide.

Benefits: Retirement

Where can I find information about my retirement benefits?

For information about retirement benefits, go to page 25 of the Office of Human Resources’ Graduate Associate Benefits Overview [pdf].

I don’t want to enroll in retirement benefits. How do I get out of it?

For information about opting out of OSU retirement benefits, see the Request for Optional Exemption as Student Instructions [pdf].

Registering for Classes

What is the minimum number of hours for which a graduate student who is teaching (known as a graduate teaching associate, or GTA) needs to be registered?

It varies depending on semester and placement in the program. During Autumn and Spring semesters, pre-candidacy GTAs must be registered for 8 credit hours. Graduate students on fellowship must be registered for 12, and all post-candidacy students must be registered for 3. To be in funding during the summer term, pre-candidacy GTAs must be registered for 4 hours and fellows for 6 hours. Post-candidacy students must be registered for 3.

I understand that there is a minimum number of hours I must take--but is there a maximum I can take?

Course loads for full-time graduate students can vary depending upon a student's appointment or degree program landmarks. However, graduate students may not enroll for more than eighteen credit hours per semester, including audited courses, without advisor and Graduate School approval. See the graduate school's course registration guide for more information.

Where can I find more information about tuition and fees by credit hour?

Page nine of the Registrar’s tuition and fees [pdf] table lists tuition and fees by credit hour for graduate students.

Can I enroll in undergraduate classes?

Yes.  These courses count toward your total credit hours for any given semester, but they do not fulfill requirements of the program, the department, or any GIS or graduate minor you may be pursuing.  Note that the specifics of what "counts" will vary (for example, in the English department, only courses at the 5000-level or above are considered graduate-level coursework; if you take coursework outside English, courses at the 4000-level or above "count"). But there may be good reasons for you to register for courses at lower levels. Talk to your advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, and/or faculty teaching the courses you're interested in.

What is the difference between auditing a course, taking a course S/U and which do I want to do?

When you audit a course, it you receive no credit for it--it doesn't count toward your GPA or credit hours. An S/U carries credit and can meet some requirements, such as allowed S/U classes, hours toward full time, and hours toward degree.

What is the difference between reading hours and an independent study?

An independent study is directed by a faculty member and has a set goal (specific readings, a paper). It is expected that you meet with the faculty member regarding that material. Reading hours are not specifically directed, and account for the independent work you do preparing your program of study, reading for exams, dissertation, etc.

How do I take an independent study?

Contact the faculty member with whom you hope to take the independent study. If the faculty member agrees to your plan, submit a description to the graduate office.

Where can I request reading hours with my advisor?

Visit the registration request page to request independently arranged courses.

What’s the deal with workshops? How do I know what is available, and when should I take one?

In addition to their regular coursework, MA/PhD and PhD students must complete two Graduate Workshops by the end of their fourth year in the program (preferably before Candidacy). Each Workshop is organized by a faculty coordinator, and students enroll in English 8193 with that faculty coordinator for one credit. More information about workshops is available on the web -- Graduate Workshop Requirement and 2015-16 Graduate Workshops.

Summer Term

How many hours should I be registered for in the summer if I intend to take out a student loan?

This varies from student to student. For specific information, contact the Student Financial Aid Office.

Will I get a summer teaching appointment?

With the exception of creative writing workshops, which are assigned by the creative writing faculty, summer teaching appointments are awarded based on seniority and are usually filled by A.B.D. doctoral students.

How many hours should I be registered for in order to teach in the summer?

Students holding a TA position in the summer should be registered full time. For pre-candidacy TAs, this is 4 hours. For post-candidacy, this is 3.

What kinds of courses are available for me to take in the summer?

Summer course offerings in the Department of English are based on faculty availability, and not many graduate courses are offered; however, many courses are offered outside of the department, and summer is a particularly good time for taking language courses.

If I am not teaching during the summer, do I have to pay to take classes?

Summer semester tuition is waived for all students who have held associateships during the preceding two semesters.  Students taking advantage of this summer session fee authorization are responsible for the COTA bus fee, RPAC fee, and student activity fee.  Students using the summer fee authorization must be registered for at least four hours of credit.

How do I obtain health insurance during the summer?

Your summer health insurance premiums are already covered by your GTA, GAA, or fellowship appointment.

Should I register for reading hours in the summer?

If you are out of coursework and holding a TA position or are on fellowship, you will need to register for reading hours. Students not in summer funding are not required to register for reading hours, but there may be particular cases in which you want to. Contact your advisor and/or the graduate office for advice particular to your situation.

If I am not registering for classes in the summer, do I have still have access to OSU benefits? 

You do have access to some benefits, such as health coverage and library access. Those benefits covered by your student activity fee, such as access to the fitness facilities, COTA access, and D-tix, however, are unavailable to you.

Daily Life in the English Department

Do I have an office? How do I know where it is?

All GTAs, GAAs, and fellowship students have a space in a shared office. For questions about where your office is located, or to get a key to your office, contact or Kathleen Griffin (

How do I log on to the computer in my office?

To log on to an office computer, you will need an ASC username and password. To set these up, call (614) 688-4447.

How do I make copies and/or print from my office?

For information about copy and print set, see the Basic Manual for Xerox Printers. To print from your office, you will need to set up each computer. See the Mac Printer Set Up, and/or the PC Printer Set Up.

How many copies do I get per term?

Each graduate student in funding (via. dept. funding or fellowship) and each auxiliary faculty member in English will have an annual allocation of 2,000 copied or printed pages on departmental machines. For more information about printing and copying, or about what to do if you run out of pages, see the department manual for Graduate and Auxiliary Faculty Non-Travel Policies & Procedures.

How do I mail something?

To mail business items (including fellowship or award applications, journal or book submissions, or other items that promote your work) see Jarod Young (

How can I get business cards?

For information about business cards, see the department manual for Graduate and Auxiliary Faculty Non-Travel Policies & Procedures.

What is the DMP?

The Digital Media Project (DMP) provides equipment such as audio/video recorders and consults on its use, along with the use of digital media and software, in teaching and research. These consultations take all forms, from planned workshops during class meetings to walk-in conversations during lunch. Additionally, the DMP manages all computer classrooms in Denney Hall and its office offers a congenial space for work and collaboration. For more information, visit the DMP website.

What are reading groups? And how do I know about them?

There are a number of reading groups/listservs within the department, and larger university groups in which department members participate. Each has its own requirements and standards for participation, but for more information see the Reading and Social Groups page.


How is my teaching evaluated?

Your teaching is evaluated in a number of ways. Students evaluate you through discursive evaluations, which you are responsible for administering at the end of your course, and through an online evaluation system (SEI) that they must complete on Buckeyelink by the beginning of exam week. If you are teaching a new course, you will also be observed and evaluated by the WPA or professor in charge of administering your course. For more information about SEIs, including how to access them, see the Office of the Registrar.

How do I access my teaching evaluations?

Your discursive teaching evaluations will be placed in your mailbox after final grades have been submitted. Online SEIs are available through the faculty center on BuckeyeLink.

How do I order textbooks for my class?

First-year GTAs teaching 1110.01 will have their textbooks ordered for them. All other GTAs teaching their own classes should consult the department manual to ordering textbooks.

How do I order exam copies of the books I’m teaching?

Exam copies can be ordered directly through the publisher.

How do I reserve library books for the class I’m teaching?

To place items on course reserve see the library website.

How do I check my enrollment and/or my roster?

To check your course enrollment, go to your BuckeyeLink Faculty Center, find your correct course, click on the roster icon.

How do I activate my Carmen site?

To activate your Carmen site, see the Carmen Services Guide.

How do I have a library Carmen site made for my specific class?

Anne can customize your standard Carmen Library “Link” resource pages for you. Here’s how:

  1. Register her as a “Librarian” in your course.
  2. Click on the “Library” link on the navigation bar of your Carmen course page.
  3. Look for the section of the URL that begins with “english” and ends with the 5-digit course offering number assigned to your section, e.g., “english_2276_au2013_2067”.
  4. Cut and paste that URL clip into an email to Anne (
  5. Include a brief list of the resources you would like added or deleted; e.g., databases and free web resources.  

Please Note: No individual journal articles or titles. Anne encourages you to help your students use the OSU catalog to locate whole journals. Individual articles should be placed on e-Reserves, which will be linked to your Carmen course page. Allow a lead time of two weeks.

Where can I get additional help with my teaching?

The University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT) provides teaching instruction, evaluation, and workshops and the Digital Union provides support for the digital components of your classes.

Can I swap a teaching time slot if I find someone who is willing to swap?

This depends both on the course and the time line. Either way, you will need to contact Deb Lowry (

Where can I find more enrollment information about Program 60 students in my course?

The Office of Extended Education oversees Program 60.

Where can I find out about my classroom?

To browse OSU classrooms, visit the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

Whom do I contact if there is something wrong in with my classroom?

For classroom assistance, contact 8-HELP from a campus phone or (614) 247-4357 from an off-campus phone.

How do I get tech equipment (mac adaptors, laptops, etc.) for my classroom?

You can check out equipment from the DMP

University Libraries

Who is our subject librarian? How can she help me?

Jennifer Schnabel, PhD, is the OSU Libraries Subject Librarian for English.  She's here to provide you with research guidance and support from the beginning of your program to your dissertation defense.  Whether it's a broad strategic question or small picky question don't be afraid to ask her. Research instruction for undergraduate and graduate courses also falls within her responsibilities.  The ENGL 1110 and 2367 library research curricula have been developed in collaboration with the department so that instructors will provide their own instruction. She will provide instructions to other courses if you request it. Finally, she manages OSUL's English and American literature collections--books, DVDs, journals, and other materials. Contact Jennifer ( if you need anything for your research or teaching.

How do I request a book from the library?

After locating the library book through the library catalog, simply click the “Request OSU Item” button. You will be asked for your name, ID number, and to select where to have an item sent.

Can I have library items delivered to my office?

While you can have library items delivered to your office, you are generally recommended not to. Should the items be lost in transit, you may be held responsible for them. Instead, have them sent to a library. The closest library to Denney Hall is the 18th Avenue Library.

What is OhioLink and should I use it?

OhioLink is a consortium of and borrowing agreement between Ohio Libraries, and can provide you with access to more than 48 million items. It is also your fastest way to access books or items not held by OSU libraries. Items requested through OhioLink will generally arrive within 3-5 business days.

Should I recall a book held by someone else?

It can take quite some time to get a book even if you recall it—up to two weeks. Generally speaking, OhioLink is your best and fastest option if the book you want from OSU libraries is checked out.

How do I request an article or book chapter from the library?

To request a PDF of an article or book chapter not available digitally, use ILLiad.

How do I pay my library fines?

To pay your library fines, see the library website.

Conference Travel 

Where do I find the graduate student travel policies and procedures?

Visit the Graduate Student and Auxiliary Faculty Travel Polices and Procedures manual.

Does the department provide any financial support for conference travel?

The Department of English provides $500 a year in conference travel support for graduate students.

Where can I find out more about conference travel with university funds?

Please see Travel Procedures for Graduate Students  and the university’s travel policy [pdf].

Where can I find the travel reimbursement form?

The most recent travel reimbursement form can be found on the College of Arts and Sciences website

What counts as a travel business expense?

Travel costs consisting of lodging, airfare, baggage fees, conference registration, taxi, subway, train, mileage or actual gas receipts, hotel internet, parking, and rental cars.

How do I decide whether to drive or fly?

The decision to drive or fly is ultimtely a personal preference; however, the university travel policy only allows for reimbursement of the cheaper option's cost. For instance, if you decided to you would prefer to drive from Columbus to Chicago for a conference in January, you would only be eligible to be reimbursed up to the cost of what airfare would have been in the same time period. *PLEASE NOTE: Your actual reimbursement is dependent upon the amount of funding you have available.


The mileage cost estimate would be 712 round trip miles x .545 per mile = $402.28.

The airfare cost estimate isthat is obtained when you make the request for a T# would be $199.80.

As you can see, airfare is less expensive than driving. So, even if you choose to drive, you can only be reimbursed up to the cost of airfare.

An airfare vs. mileage comparison (see example here) must be included as an attachment when submitting your travel requst to

What receipts should I save?

All original, itemized receipts for expenses you wish to be reimbursed should be saved. This includes, but is not limited to, lodging, ground transportation, registration, baggage, parking, rental car, and airfare itinerary and payment receipt. All receipts myst show the form of payment (credit card, or last four digits of credit card number), date, and the amount paid. If you do not have  a receipt showing proof of payment, a bank or credit card transaction summary or statement showing the amount on the receipt you have provided  was posted to your account.

For rental car receipts, if using a non-contracted agency, the required insurance coverage, Damage Waiver (DW), Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), and Liability Insurance (SPPL, SLP, and/or SLI), must be included on the receipt in order to be reimbursed. If using a contracted agency (National Car Rental or Enterprise Rent-A-Car), please be sure to book it with OSU's discount number (contact for the number). Using contracted agencies with the discount number automatically includes the required coverage and will help avoid delays in processing your reimbursement.

What if I paid an individual to stay in his/her home or paid my friend for half a hotel room? How can I get reimbursed?

To be reimbursed for costs incurred for lodging in an individual's home, you must provide a copy of the cancelled check written to them and a signed contract (including your signature and your friend's signature) that includes the dates you stayed, the amount you were charged, the location of the residence, and confirmation that you paid for the expenses in full.

When a friend pays for a hotel room in full and you pay your friend for your hald, you will need to provide a copy of the your cancelled check and a copy of the lodging receipt in order to be reimbursed. Your roommate must write a letter indicating that it is acceptable for you to be reimbursed for your halfWhen a friend pays for a hotel room in full and you pay your friend for your half, you will need to provide a copy of the cancelled check you wrote to them and a copy of the lodging receipt in order to be reimbursed. Your roommate must write a letter indicating it is acceptable for you to be reimbursed for your half and that he/she will not be reimbursed from another institution or party for the portion you paid them. If your roommate is also being reimbursed from OSU, please also provide his/her T#.

How do I split a hotel room and still get refunded by the university?

This is the preferred way to split a hotel cost: When checking out of the hotel, request that the concierge desk separate the bill for the room to only show your portion of the room, your payment, and include your name at the top of the bill. If the number of occupants says more than 1, you will need to list who stayed in the room with you and indicate that the receipt is only for your portion.

The other option would be to use each of the occupants’ credit cards to split the payment, so the bill will show 2 or more credit cards for the form of payment. You will need to indicate which credit card is for your share of the payment.

Can I go on vacation as part of this conference trip?

If you add vacation days or additional vacation destinations in conjunction with business travel, you will be required to provide a detailed explanation for and a comparison showing any cost variance in expenses in advance of your trip departure. You will only be reimbursed for the business travel portion of your trip. 

How do I know how much travel money I have remaining?

To inquire about your current balance in your travel allowance, simply send an email to or stop by Denney 421 to see Jerod Young, Fiscal Associate, or Wayne Lovely, HR and Fiscal Manager.

What does a permission to travel email look like?

Simply include the information designated by the Graduate and Auxiliary Faculty Travel Procedures.

There aren’t enough lines on the reimbursement worksheets! What do I do?

Please feel free to attach a separate spreadsheet or word document to your travel reimbursement form that includes all of your expenses that will not fit on the worksheet.

Is there any additional conference travel funding I can apply for?

For additional conference funding, see the Graduate Program grants and fellowships guide.

Research Travel

Does the department provide any financial support for research travel?

You may use your $500 in travel funding for research travel to appropriate libraries or research facilities, in support of a dissertation or master’s project.

Does the university provide any financial support for research travel?

For additional conference funding, see the Graduate Program grants and fellowships guide.

How do I start looking for travel funds to support my research?

After you have exhausted your university resources, try academic organizations specific to your field, as well as individual research libraries.

The Job Market

Who is this year’s Job Placement Officer?

The Placement Officer for the 2015-2016 academic year is David Brewer (

Are there university resources that will help me prepare for the job market?

The University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT) provides year-round support with creating many job search documents, including the teaching and research statement. Additionally, each fall they offer an Academic Job Search information series.

Can I get funding to attend MLA?

If you are on the market and receive an MLA interview, the department will cover a portion of your travel costs. See Graduate Students and Auxiliary Faculty Fiscal Policies for more information.

Is there a dossier service for students on the job market?

Yes.  The dossier service is available through the Department of English Graduate Studies Office. (A dossier is a file that includes your letters of recommendation, so that when you asked to submit them, they can be sent on your behalf without your having to contact your recommenders individually.)  Please contact Kathleen Griffin ( for more information.  MFA students: contact

Where can I find career guidance for non-teaching jobs?

The Graduate School provides several career development resources, including a calendar of job fairs. Of special note is the graduate school's subscription to The Versatile Ph.D. This website, created by an OSU English Alumnus, includes information about the different markets available to humanities Ph.D., as well as sample cover letters, resumes, and narratives from Ph.D.s who successfully transferred their skills to a non-academic market.

Getting around Columbus

How do I park on campus?

For information on parking on campus, visit the campus parking website

How do I use CABS?

For information on CABS, visit the Campus Area Bus Service website.

How do I use COTA?

Your student activity fee covers your COTA use every semester you are enrolled. Just swipe your BuckID when you get on the bus. For more information about COTA, visit their website.

What if I want to use a bike to get around?

For bike accessories, try Paradise Garage and Revolution Cycles (both in the Short North). If you are looking to buy or replace a bike for a reasonable price, try Handy Bikes for used bikes or Once Ridden Bikes for reburished used bikes (both are in Clintonville).

As far as bicycle rules and regulations: helmets, while good, are not legally required. Lights for  riding at night are legally required and carry a pretty hefty fine if you get caught without them (about $500). COTA buses have space for up to two bikes.

There are city-funded, free bike maintenance stations peppered about (they have tools, air pumps, etc.On campus, there is an electric air pump specifically for bicycles on the campus-side entrance to the parking garage immediately north of the Union. It's great for a quick fill up (quick is the key word here; you only need to put it in for a second or two; otherwise you could damage your wheels from too much pressure). For those who really want to go all out, there is the Third Hand Bike Co-op on 5th ave where you can learn to work on your own bike, volunteer, and possibly buy refurbished bikes.

OSU and Columbus Area Resources for Graduate Students

What is CGS? And what can it do for me?

CGS is the official branch of student government that represents every graduate student at the main and branch campuses. It is their main purpose is to work towards continual improvement of the graduate student experience at the Ohio State University.

CGS Officers and Delegates serve as staunch advocates during university policy-making decisions. Their competitive funding programs and "graduate-only" social events support the personal and professional development of any graduate students.

What is the OUAB, and what can it do for me?

The Ohio Union Activities Board, and specifically the Graduate and Professional Committee, provides free academic and non-academic programming for OSU students. Activities range from professionalization seminars to concerts.

Are there student discounts I should know about?

The D-Tix counter in the Ohio Union provides discounts to a number of concerts and Columbus area attractions. 

Additionally, you are eligible for a number of employee discounts.

Should you need assistance accessing any of the forms on this page, please contact

[pdf] - Some links on this page are to Adobe .pdf files requiring the use of Adobe Reader. If you need these files in a more accessible format, please contact