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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Admission Requirements

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Entrance requirements for the MA Literature and English Studies include a minimum of 30 semester hours earned in language, literature, or related courses; 20 credits should have been earned in upper-division courses. It is highly recommended that students have at least one course in a literary figure and one in upper-division linguistics. The GRE is not required as part of the admissions material for this program. Candidates whose native language is not English must have a TOEFL score of 600 or above.

The MA Literature and English Studies program accepts applications year-round and admits students in spring, summer, and fall semesters. Please note, though, that in order to receive full consideration for a teaching assistantship, application materials should be submitted by February 1st for the following fall semester. 

Program Application Materials

  • Fill out the online application and include the following attachments:
  • Application Letter
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 10-20 page analytical writing sample with research
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate degree-granting institutions (application can be considered with unofficial transcripts but full admission requires official transcripts)
    *International applicants must have their international transcripts evaluated by a recognized evaluative agency.
  • $40 application fee (May be paid online with a credit card)

Financial Aid and Graduate Assistantships

The Department of English employs about 30 teaching and research assistants at stipends of approximately $9000 over two semesters. Assistants receive full tuition remission for up to 18 credits over the academic year (two semesters). All graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of six credits per semester. Assistants are provided office space and have faculty library privileges.

Teaching Assistants in the English Department typically teach freshman composition. The Director of Composition provides a supportive atmosphere in which assistants learn composition theory and pedagogy. In addition, assistants are trained in the latest methods of computer-assisted writing instruction.

For more information, including position announcements and deadlines see the vacancy notices for the English Department on the University’s Graduate Assistantships (Career Development, Human Resources).

Applicants interested in applying for either a teaching or research assistantship in the Department of English must submit the following materials:

  • Application letter (please indicate in your application letter if you wish to be considered for more than one assistantship)
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation (your admission recommendation letters may be used)
  • 10-20 page analytical writing sample (your admission writing sample may be used)

Please send the Assistantship Application materials directly to 

Other assistantships are available from Student Affairs, Learning Center, Memorial Library, and Residential Life offices of the University. For more information, visit the University’s Graduate Assistantships

For information about other types of financial assistance, students should contact:

Office of Financial Aid
Minnesota State University, Mankato
120 Wigley Administration Center
Mankato, MN 56001
Telephone: (507) 389-1866
Web site:

Tips for Applying for an English Teaching Assistantship

Students applying for TA positions teaching Composition should include a letter of application (see description below) and an academic/professional writing sample that demonstrates skill in research writing (see Writing Sample Criteria below). Applicants should ask their recommenders to speak to their likely ability to teach composition in their recommendation letters.

Letter of Application Description

The letter of application helps us envision you as a teacher of composition. It should explicitly address the following:

  • the applicant’s interest in teaching composition (might include previous teaching, tutoring, or mentoring experiences in writing or in other areas. Note: previous experience of this sort is not a requirement for applying.)
  • the applicant’s experience and background in writing (what he/she has learned or observed about the challenges of writing in his/her undergraduate career; any other professional experience in writing)
  • an ability to work harmoniously with others (including other TAs and faculty but especially students who will be diverse in age, ethnicity, academic ability, learning styles, and language proficiency)
  • an ability and interest in using technology in the classroom (English 101 is taught wholly in computer classrooms)

Writing Sample for Program Application and Teaching Assistantship Application

The Writing Sample is used for both the program application and the teaching assistantship application, should you choose to apply for one.

English teaching assistants have full instructor responsibility in English 101, a four-credit course that teaches writing skills relevant to academic, public and professional writing situations. In the course, students write to explore, inform, argue, and analyze, through writing assignments that go through an extended writing cycle. Students brainstorm, draft, receive teacher and peer feedback, revise, and edit their work.

Most formal writing assignments given in the course are source-based. Students read challenging texts in a range of genres and practice synthesizing the authors’ ideas in their writing. Students also hone their research writing skills: learning to assess the credibility and relevance of academic and non-academic sources is an important focus. Therefore we require an academic writing sample (10-20 pages, double-spaced) of all applicants.

Writing Sample Criteria

Structure and development

Orients the reader with a controlling idea
Organizes ideas logically and develops them fully
Unifies and focuses paragraphs
Crafts an introduction and conclusion appropriate for an academic writing situation


Uses sources that are credible (as determined by such criteria as currency, authority, and non-bias) and that advance his/her purpose

When using sources:
Accurately rephrases passages or central ideas
Quotes discriminately
Integrates sources throughout the text by introducing them and following them up with explanation/analysis
Adheres to MLA or APA or Chicago Manual of Style citation conventions

Sentence-level correctness

Demonstrates strong technical skills in areas such as grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation

Department of English
Graduate Student Creative or Research Summer Fellowship

Open by program nomination only. The English Department offers a limited number of $2000 fellowships to graduate students engaged in creative or research projects during the summer following their first year in an English Department graduate program. Students are expected to engage in this work half-time (20 hours per week) for five weeks during the summer. Eligible students are nominated by an English Department graduate program prior to their first year. Finished work will be presented at a fall event to which the public will be invited. For more information: [PDF] English Department Graduate Student Creative or Research Summer Fellowship (76 KiB).


Department of English Graduate Program Director

If you do not find answers to your questions on this web page, or if you need more information about the English Department graduate programs at Minnesota State University, Mankato, please contact:

Dr. Sarah Henderson Lee
Director of English Graduate Studies
Department of English
Minnesota State University, Mankato
230 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, MN 56001
Phone: (507) 389-1359