Department of English

Support Overview

Students in the Ph.D. program are supported by means of teaching appointments in the Department of English and Department of Rhetoric and Writing and by dissertation-year fellowships paid for by Department of English excellence funds. With the exception of recruitment bonuses and extra-departmental fellowships, each entering group of students receives roughly the same funding package.

Funding for a full six years is available to all entering graduate students in the Ph.D. Program. The typical pattern of support is as follows:
  • 2 years as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of English
  • 2 years as an Assistant Instructor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing
  • 1 year as an Assistant Instructor in the Department of English
  • 1 year on a dissertation writing fellowship

In addition, we fund two summers through teaching and research assignments (TA, AI, GRA) and two summers through a research stipend.

NB: Students entering the program with an M.A. may choose to complete their degree requirements before their 6th year.

All academic graduate student employees working 20 hours/week or more are funded for health insurance through Academic Blue.

Graduate students also have the opportunity to pursue alternative opportunities while at UT, including editorial assistantships, assistant directorships, and staffing in the University Writing Center (UWC) and Digital Writing and Research Lab (DWRL). In addition to these opportunities, one student per year works as the editorial assistant for Texas Studies in Literature and Language. Students in this position gain extensive experience with the management of a scholarly journal.

Academic Administration Experience: Each year some of our students serve as Assistant Directors for courses, programs, and projects in the Departments of English and Rhetoric and Writing. These positions entail working closely with faculty and staff to administer parts of our undergraduate curricula, run orientations, and mentor fellow graduate students, among other tasks. At present there are more than a dozen Assistant Directorships. Some are for specific courses, E 316, RHE 306, RHE 309K, and E 314; others serve the New Writers Project, the University Writing Center, and the Digital Writing and Research Lab. Work as an Assistant Director reduces the teaching load and often comes with additional remuneration. Assistant Directors gain essential experience in academic administration, a career path for many of our students. 

Many of our students are successful at obtaining prestigious fellowships from other UT Austin units and external organizations (e.g., Mellon, ACLS, PEO). If you receive a fellowship, scholarship, grant, or award that is in addition to the funding commitment outlined in the offer letter you executed upon beginning the English PhD program, notify the Graduate Advisor (Heather Houser) and Graduate Program Administrator (Patricia Schaub). If this funding is obtained for a year when your offer letter promises you an English fellowship or Excellence Graduate Research Assistantship, the amount of that external funding may be deducted from the department stipend. You will never take a cut in the funding detailed in your offer letter by accepting an external fellowship. However, you cannot receive the full amount of the fellowship/GRA promised in the offer letter and the full amount of the external funding concurrentlyThis policy is in line with The Graduate School’s policy on Supplemental Support and CoLA's policies on external fellowships for faculty. It exists to ensure that the department can continue offering all students Excellence funding, i.e., two semesters without teaching responsibilities, during which you can write your dissertation.