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Resources for Current MA/PhD Students

Many resources to help current graduate students with travel funding and other fiscal and HR issues are located on the department's intranet, EngSource. Below, you will find our guidelines for PhD students related to conference travel, registration, advising and department-funded prizes and fellowships.

The Graduate School Handbook is an additional resource for students who wish to know specific information about academic policies and regulations related to our graduate programs. The following sections of the Handbook might be particularly helpful:

Student resources

(Please also see the Graduate Travel Funding section of the EngSource Travel page.)

The Department of English will offer each English graduate student in funding $500 to utilize between July 1 and June 30 in support of conferences and meetings where the individual is engaging in professional work at regional, national and international levels by presenting a paper within the United States or abroad. Please note that funding is not available for chairing and moderating panels. Travel to appropriate libraries, archives and field sites for the purposes of professional research, both in the United States and abroad, is also permitted under this program. In addition, MFA students who are traveling to a writing retreat for which there is a competitive selection process can also apply for these funds. There will be no rollover of any fund balances across fiscal years. Please see the Graduate Travel Funding section of the EngSource Travel page to submit a travel request in advance (as early as possible) of the departure date.  Individuals must follow the travel and purchasing procedures to utilize any funding. Pre-approval is required for any expense that you intend to be paid by university funding. You are not authorized to commit university funding without obtaining prior approval, regardless of the funding source.

Should a graduate student exhaust the $500 allowance and successfully obtain funding external to the department, the graduate student may request request a $400 Blickle Grant from the department. Requests for additional funding will be approved by the department chair on a case-by-case basis.

External funding for conference travel can be obtained from the following sources:

In practice, this additional money has substantially expanded the department's research funding. If any graduate student is awarded an external travel grant, the graduate student must report the award to the department's fiscal associate and follow the award procedures in addition to following the department’s travel and purchase procedures to utilize the award. For any awards that require a departmental match, the matching funds will be drawn from the graduate student’s travel allowance. 

For each Ohio State Department of English graduate student in funding receiving an MLA interview, the Department of English will offer flight and hotel funding for a total of two years when that graduate student is on the job market. Reimbursement of the flight and hotel expenses will be based on reasonable and actual expenses supported by original, itemized receipts. University travelers should incur the lowest reasonable travel expenses and exercise care to avoid impropriety and/or the appearance of impropriety. The University considers “reasonable” business travel dates to be one day prior to the interview(s) and one day after the interview(s), and travel is directly to/from the MLA city.  Requests for MLA interview reimbursement for graduate students no longer in funding and for associated faculty will be reviewed by the department chair on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the director of Graduate Studies.

Online registration can be accessed through the Student Center page on BuckeyeLink. Students will need their Ohio State username and password to log in to Buckeye Link and register. Students will need to review the "Financial Responsibility Statement" on their "To Do List" before being able to register.

Important Registration Dates

  • See the Registrar for specific registration information, including deadlines.
  • The Graduate School also provides information about registration fees and deadlines. (Scroll to the “Registration, Changing Program, and other options” section of this page for a link to the “Registration and Fee Deadlines” for the upcoming semester.)

Registration for Independent Studies and Research Hours

Graduate students wishing to enroll in an Independently Arranged Course (IAC), should contact the respective faculty member directly.

If approved*, the faculty member will share the class number (from Faculty Center) with the student for registration purposes.  If the class number isn’t listed in Faculty Center, the faculty member will contact Deb Lowry who will assign a class to the faculty member.**

*GRADUATE INDEPENDENT STUDIES (8193) pursued by students in the department, except CW studies overseen by MFA faculty, require the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Students interested in pursuing an Independent Study should consult with the appropriate faculty member at least a semester in advance. The faculty member should then prepare a one-page request that briefly outlines:

  1. the rationale for the Independent Study (e.g., why the student is unable to pursue similar work in regularly scheduled courses)
  2. the syllabus for the Independent Study (e.g., list of readings, schedule of meetings, specific assignments or projects to be completed)

These explanatory materials should be submitted to Kathleen Griffin (.328).

**Going forward, class numbers should automatically appear in the faculty center based upon offerings in previous semesters

Graduate Independent Studies and Research Hours course numbers include:  

  • English 6998: Research in English — Portfolio Project
  • English 8193: Independent Study
  • English 8903: Teaching College English
  • English 8996: Research in English — Candidacy Examination
  • English 8998: Research in English — MFA Thesis
  • English 8999: Research in English — Dissertation

The relationship between a graduate student and their primary faculty advisor is central to the student's success in completing program requirements, earning their degree and embarking on academic or other employment. Listed below are basic responsibilities of each party in this relationship, as well as minimum standards for maintaining contact. The key to successful advising relationships is clear and regular communication on both sides, preferably face-to-face but also over the phone or email.

If you are a graduate student

As a graduate student, you have several responsibilities within the advising relationship:

  1. To maintain regular contact with your primary faculty advisor. Frequency of contact with your advisor will vary depending on where you are in your program: completing coursework, preparing for the Advising Meeting, drafting the POS, preparing for the candidacy exam, drafting a dissertation prospectus, writing a dissertation, preparing for the job market. In general, though, you should be in contact with your primary faculty advisor at least once a semester. Keep your advisor up-to-date about your progress and about your changing research, writing and teaching interests.
  2. To let your advisor know if you have questions about program requirements or if you have concerns about your academic performance, your progress toward degree, your teaching or your ability to balance work with other parts of your life.
  3. To let the director of Graduate Studies know if you have concerns about your relationship with your advisor or if you would like to change advisors.  The DGS is also available to discuss program requirements, progress toward degree or other concerns.

If you are a faculty member

As a member of the graduate faculty, you also have several responsibilities within the advising relationship:

  1. To maintain regular contact with your graduate advisees at every stage in their programs. At a minimum, you should make contact with each of your advisees at least once a semester. You continue to be responsible for your advisees even when you are off duty or away from Columbus.
  2. To observe your advisees' teaching in at least one class.
  3. To let your advisees know if you have concerns about their academic performance, progress toward degree, choice of research topic, time management, teaching effectiveness, preparation for the academic job market, and so forth.
  4. To let the director of Graduate Studies know if you have serious concerns about an advisee's academic performance, progress toward degree, teaching or general well-being.
  5. To assign a grade of "U" (unsatisfactory) for MA portfolio, candidacy exam or dissertation research hours if an advisee makes no demonstrable progress during a given term.

Note: If your student's research involves talking to living people (e.g. conducting interviews, survey research or ethnographic fieldwork), they will need to be aware of Institutional Review Board (IRB) regulation of research on human subjects. Most kinds of humanistic research are eligible for exemption, but both students and their advisors will still need to undergo a brief certification and to file an application to have the specific project exempted. For more information, see the website of the Ohio State Office of Research. (Be aware that the regulations were originally intended to prevent abuses in medical and experimental research, so the CITI certification training will seem strange. Humanists are not expected to modify their research to make it more "scientific," but they will need to show that they have thought through the ethical and interpersonal implications of their research process.)


The timeline provides students with an easy-to-understand guide that lets them know when, generally, they might expect to complete various aspects of our program.  While we recognize that individual students will pass these milestones at different times, the timeline provides a rough standard, which we hope will allow students to plan ahead so that they do not fall so far behind that they are not eligible for an additional year of funding.

This timeline is, fundamentally, tied to funding. That is, a student and their advisor might decide that for personal and/or academic reasons, it is in the best interest of the student to move through the program more slowly than the timeline suggests. In such a case, the student and advisor still need to be aware of some of the implications of falling behind. These implications include the loss of office space in Denney Hall, the possible loss of the additional year of funding, and the expenses related to continuous enrollment.

Additional Processes for Ensuring Reasonable Progress

Section 5.4 of Ohio State's Graduate School Handbook stipulates that a “student who does not maintain reasonable progress toward a degree or who does not fulfill other graduate program requirements… may be denied further registration in that program by the Graduate School on the recommendation of the graduate studies committee chair.”  It further states that “no student may be denied further registration in a graduate program without first being warned by the Graduate School that such action may take place. The Graduate School specifies the conditions the student must satisfy in order to demonstrate reasonable progress and to continue enrollment in the graduate program. Conditions consist of completion of course work or other requirements as approved by the graduate studies committee.”

The Department of English will, in some cases, take advantage of the Graduate School’s mechanism to ensure students’ progress. If a student has fallen behind schedule and the DGS and the student’s advisor believe that the student would benefit from a rigid schedule to get back on track, the DGS will contact the Graduate School to ask them to send a letter of warning to the student. This letter will spell out the steps the student is required to complete to remain in good standing and stay registered.

Recipients of the paper and dissertation prizes are recognized during the Department of English's annual awards ceremony in April. If you have questions about any of the prize opportunities, please contact graduateenglish@osu.edu.

The Human Rights Award is open to graduate students outside of English; only English graduate students are eligible for all other awards. 

Deadline for submissions:  February 26, 2024

Muste Award for the best dissertation of the past year: To nominate a dissertation for the Muste Award, the director of the dissertation needs to submit a letter of nomination to the graduate studies office. The student needs to submit the work here.

Brian McHale Award for the best graduate paper in narrative studies: The Brian McHale Award is given to the best paper in narrative studies written in the past year. For the purposes of the award, narrative studies is defined broadly: interpretations of novels, films, autobiographies, biographies, oral narratives or other narrative texts are eligible; and so are essays in literary history and narrative theory. The award is open to essays employing any critical or theoretical approach, including narrative criticism. However, it should not be given to works of creative nonfiction or to short stories.

The student is responsible for submitting the work here. The student should include a cover sheet with the professor’s name, the student’s name, the paper title and the course for which the paper was written. The paper itself should not identify the writer, the professor or the course (it can include the title).

The Estrich Award for the best graduate seminar paper: The student is responsible for submitting the work here. The student should include a cover sheet with the professor’s name, the student’s name, the paper title, and the course for which the paper was written. The paper itself should not identify the writer, the professor or the course (it can include the title).

Human Rights Award for the best graduate academic paper or multi-modal project: The Human Rights Award is given to the best academic paper or multi-modal project produced in an English department graduate course in the past year. Submissions should demonstrate a critical engagement with the literature, rhetoric, narrative, folklore, histories, laws and/or cultural practices of human rights. The award is open to projects that employ any critical or theoretical approach. The student is responsible for submitting the paper or providing a web-address for the multi-modal project here. The student should include a cover sheet with the professor’s name, the student’s name, the paper title, and the course for which the paper was written. The paper itself should not identify the writer, the professor or the course (it can include the title).

Digital Media Prize for outstanding graduate work: The Digital Media Prize for Outstanding Graduate Work recognizes outstanding digital media work completed by graduate students in the Department of English. This work could have been developed in a seminar or as a part of the student’s research or creative work. Students should nominate themselves for the prize (instructors should feel free to encourage student nominations). A nomination for the prize should include a copy of the project submitted in a deliverable digital format (e.g., .jpg, .png, mp3, .m4v, .html, URL, etc.) and a one-page cover letter explaining the context for the project (e.g., audience, occasion, etc.) and, in the case of scholarship on digital media, explaining the contribution of the submission to our understanding of digital media. Eligible work must have been produced in the Department of English and should be designed in accordance with best practices for accessibility.

Copyright and fair use: All work submitted must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Must be constructed from original materials
  • Must be constructed from materials for which permission has been granted
  • Must be constructed from materials that were used appropriately according to Creative Commons or similar licensing
  • Must be constructed from materials found in the public domain
  • Must be a clearly defined parody of an already existing text
  • Must be constructed from a combination of the above materials
  • Note: Any use of material created by others must explicitly acknowledge the source of the materials and conditions of its use (e.g., permission, license, fair use, or public domain) in a manner appropriate to the medium (e.g., spoken credits at the end of an audio piece, on-screen credits at the end of a video piece)

Accessibility: Accessibility is an important aspect of digital media, and nominations for the Digital Media Prize should include relevant access features.

  • Texts and other written work should use headings, lists, tables of contents, and true columns as appropriate; adequate text size and strong color contrast; links should include descriptive text (rather than plain URLs); and any embedded visuals should include alternative text or captions.
  • Audio projects should be accompanied by transcripts and captions as appropriate.
  • Video projects should include captions and audio description as appropriate.

Authors may revise the original submissions of their projects to make them more accessible before submitting.

Definitions: Alternative text (or alt text) describes relevant details of non-decorative images for low-vision readers. Transcribing refers to capturing in text all the speech in a video or audio asset. Captioning refers to supplementing the transcript with textual descriptions of other sounds that are relevant to understanding the project—for example, describing background music or sound effects. Audio description refers to providing verbal descriptions of visual elements in a video.

For additional information, please consult the National Center on Disability and Access to Education’s Cheatsheet on Creating Accessible Electronic Content.

Submission instructions: To submit a nomination, please email an accessible copy of the project, any supplementary access documents (e.g. transcripts), and the one-page cover letter to dmphelp@osu.edu.

Eric Walborn Award for Excellence in Digital Media and English Studies Instruction: The Eric Walborn Award, established in memory of Eric Walborn, coordinator of the Digital Media Project (formerly Computers in Composition and Literature/CCL) from 1987 to 1993, recognizes excellence and innovation in computer-supported teaching and/or the development of digital media instructional materials in any area of English studies. The Walborn Award, given annually to a graduate student in the Department of English, consists of a cash award and recognition at the English department's annual awards ceremony. We encourage submission of course materials — syllabi, assignments, class activities — and new course proposals; materials and proposals that encourage student digital media production are especially welcome.

  • Eligibility: Any graduate student in the Department of English who has developed digital media instructional materials during the current academic year is eligible.
  • Nominations: Teachers interested in nominating themselves should submit the following in support of their nomination, 1) Appropriate course materials: syllabi, copies of assignments/activities, course proposals, 2) A one-page description of the assignments or activities, including an explanation of the context for the assignment or activity and an explanation of how the technology supports the pedagogical aims of the assignment or activity, 3) If applicable, examples of students work (optional). Note: If course materials are online, you may submit a URL with specific instructions describing where to find the materials. Course websites must not be password protected. If your submission includes innovative ways in which you have used features of Carmen (not just the materials contained within), please note that. We will request that you give the judges access to your Carmen class.
  • Judging: A Walborn Award Selection Committee of English faculty will be convened to screen the submissions and determine the winner of the award.

Please send submissions to dmphelp@osu.edu.


Genevieve M. Critel Dissertation Award in Digital Media

The Genevieve M. Critel Dissertation Award offers one semester of tuition, fees and stipend support for an outstanding graduate student in the English department who is writing their dissertation on any topic focusing on digital media studies. (Students in any area of English studies are invited to apply.) Recipients of the dissertation award will not teach during the semester they are supported.

Robert M. Estrich Fellowship in Literary and Cultural Studies

The Robert M. Estrich Fellowship offers one semester of tuition, fees and stipend support for an outstanding graduate student in the English department who is writing their dissertation on any topic in literary and/or cultural studies. (Students focusing in writing, rhetoric and literacy should apply for the Corbett Fellowship below.)  An Estrich Fellow may not hold any other type of employment or appointment during the time of the fellowship.

Edward P. J. Corbett Dissertation Award in Writing, Rhetoric and Literacy

The Edward P. J. Corbett Dissertation Award offers one semester of tuition, fees and stipend support for an outstanding graduate student in the English department who is writing their dissertation on any topic in writing, rhetoric  and literacy. (Students focusing in other areas of literary and cultural studies should apply for the Estrich Fellowship above.) 

Andrea Abernathy Lunsford Dissertation Award in Writing, Rhetoric, and Literacy 

The Andrea Lunsford Dissertation Award offers one semester of tuition fees, and stipend support for an outstanding advanced graduate student in the English department who is studying writing, rhetoric, and literacy. (Students focusing in other areas of literary and cultural studies should apply for the Estrich Fellowship above.) 

Eligibility and requirements for the Critel, Estrich, Corbett and Lunsford dissertation awards :

  • For all dissertation awards besides the Lunsford fellowship, applicants must have completed one chapter of their dissertation at the time of applying
  • Applicants must be eligible for GTA funding for the semester they will be on dissertation award support. Thus, the following students cannot apply for the Critel, Estrich and Corbett dissertation awards:
    • Students who already have a multi-year graduate fellowship that includes dissertation-year support (that is, a Distinguished University Fellowship or a Huntington Dean’s Distinguished University Fellowship)
    • Students who are no longer eligible for departmental funding as a GTA at the time of the proposed fellowship semester

Applying for a dissertation award

To apply, students must submit the following materials to Kathleen Griffin, typically in late February:

  • A complete CV
  • A brief statement (about 2 single-spaced pages) that 1) Describes the students’ dissertation project, 2) Specifies how much of the dissertation research and writing the student has already completed, and 3) Describes what aspects of the project the Critel, Estrich or Corbett dissertation awards will allow the student to complete
  • A letter of support from the student’s advisor that attests to the student’s completion of one chapter of the dissertation and that conveys the advisor’s appraisal of the project’s progress and significance
  • Current transcript and/or academic advising report

First-Year Graduate Enrichment Grant
(Total: $5,000)

The Department of English awards grants of up to $1000 to incoming students who contribute to diversity (underrepresented groups, first-generation students, students with disabilities). These funds may be awarded regardless of the student's fellowship status. The use of the funds is unrestricted. Possible uses include travel and research, reimbursement for moving expenses, and supplies. Applicants should submit a statement explaining how the grant will contribute to the student's transition to graduate study at Ohio State; the rationale can include a budget of the student's plans for spending the grant. Please submit this statement (no longer than one single-spaced page) to Aman Garcha, Director of Graduate Studies (garcha.2@osu.edu). Grants may be offered at any point of the recruitment and enrollment process, but applications submitted by April 15 are given priority. Applications are evaluated based on the student's rationale for financial need. 

Enrichment Travel Grants for prospective graduate students             
(Total: $3,000)

The Department of English awards grants (up to $400 each) to defray prospective students' travel costs to attend the Graduate Program Open House each spring. This need-based award is intended as a recruiting tool to bring to campus highly competitive students who otherwise may not be able to attend the Open House - an event that generally increases the likelihood of accepted students enrollming at OSU. To request an enrichment travel grant, contact Aman Garcha, Director of Graduate Studies (garcha.2@osu.edu). 

Presidential Fellowship

For more detailed information, see the Graduate School

The Presidential Fellowship is the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School to recognize the outstanding scholarly accomplishments and potential of graduate students entering the final phase of their dissertation research or terminal degree project. Recipients of this award embody the highest standards of scholarship in the full range of Ohio State’s graduate programs.

The Presidential Fellowship provides financial support so that each Presidential fellow may devote one year of full-time study to the completion of his or her dissertation or degree project unimpeded by other duties. Competitions are held autumn and spring quarters.

Students cannot apply directly for Presidential fellowships. Nominations are made and submitted by graduate studies committee chairs. To be eligible, a student must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.6 for all Ohio State graduate course work, have completed all degree course work by the time the fellowship is activated, and have passed the candidacy examination (doctoral students) by the nomination deadline.