Literature Department Financial Support

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program will be offered a financial package of guaranteed support for five years. Guaranteed support comes in the form of a combination of (a) Teaching Assistantships and (b) opportunities for Teaching Fellowships and departmental or extra-departmental research fellowships at the Qualifying Examination (QE) and Dissertation levels. 

Students past the period of guaranteed support are often able to obtain teaching appointments in other departments or units across campus, as well as campus-wide or extramural fellowship support. There is a non-negotiable limit of 18 quarters of Teaching Assistantships/Teaching Fellowships, including all appointments in the department, in other departments, and on other UC campuses.

Teaching Appointments

Teaching Assistantships (TA): the most common type of appointment, in which the graduate student works closely with the instructor of a course and leads discussion sections and/or reads student work independently. Teaching Assistantships in Literature are normally awarded only to Ph.D. students; however, M.A. students who have completed the Pedagogy course (Literature 201) are eligible in cases of curricular need. 

Teaching Fellowships (Graduate Student Instructor, GSI): Teaching Fellows design and teach their own courses. Applicants must be Advanced to Candidacy, or be ready to file the petition to advance to candidacy, by the end of the quarter in which the Call is issued (usually fall). Funds permitting, the department typically makes three awards, based on merit and other criteria, for the following academic year. 

Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) appointments in Creative Writing are available to advanced Ph.D. candidates or Ph.D. students with a Master’s Degree (M.A. or M.F.A.) and two years of college-level teaching experience. Priority is given to students in the Creative/Critical Writing concentration, and three complete sets of teaching evaluations are required at the time of the appointment.

TA Trainer Position: The TA Trainer conducts, under the supervision of the Graduate Program Director, a pedagogy course for entering graduate students and/or first-time TAs. The course meets once a week, usually in fall quarter. A call for applications goes out in the winter quarter of the previous academic year. Applicants must be advanced to candidacy. The salary and fee reduction are equivalent to those accompanying a GSI.

Summer Session Instructors: Literature students may apply to teach undergraduate Summer Session offerings in Literature. Courses are selected by the Undergraduate Program Committee on the basis of undergraduate curricular needs. The call is sent out during the fall quarter preceding the summer in question. Summer courses do not count toward the 18-quarter teaching limit and carry no additional benefits.

Summer Session Teaching Assistants and Readers: A limited number of positions may become available, subject to summer session enrollments. Teaching Assistant assignments are for 100 hours over a five-week period and typically do not require teaching sections. Reader positions, at a lower pay rate, may be available for up to 100 hours. An application call for Summer Session TA and Reader positions is distributed in mid-May; priority will be given to advanced students in the program. Summer courses do not count toward the 18-quarter teaching limit and carry no additional benefits.


Other Funding Opportunities 

In addition to teaching appointments, funding opportunities for continuing graduate students include:

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR): There are two salary levels for pre- and post-ATC (Advanced-to-Candidacy) students. Faculty who have research funds may propose to hire a graduate student to do research. GSR appointments vary in percentage of time; since graduate students are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours a week, students do not normally hold a GSRship concurrently with a TAship. 

Literature Department Research and Travel (R&T) Awards: R&T awards cover expenses for activities such as presenting papers at conferences, traveling offsite to do archival or library research, or intensive (usually summer) language study. Calls are issued twice a year. These awards are capped at $600 for domestic travel and $1,200 for international travel. All graduate students are eligible but only registered students qualify for payment of the awards.

Literature Department QE Fellowships: Funds permitting, the department awards a limited number of one-quarter QE fellowships to release students from teaching obligations as they prepare their QE portfolios. The call is issued in the winter quarter for the following academic year.  

Literature Department Dissertation Fellowships: Funds permitting, the department awards a limited number of one-quarter dissertation fellowships to release students from teaching obligations in order to make progress on their dissertations; they may not be held concurrently with dissertation-year fellowships. The call is issued in the winter quarter for the following academic year. 

UC President’s and Chancellor’s Dissertation-Year Fellowships: These year-long fellowships are administered by the Graduate Division. The Literature Department selects nominees from among the applicants to the Literature Department Dissertation Fellowship.

The Humanities Institute (THI) Dissertation Fellowships: THI offers one-quarter fellowships on a competitive basis. A call goes out annually for the following year. For more information visit the THI website. THI also offers modest research and travel grants to graduate students, as well as summer and year-long internship programs called “Public Fellows.” The Humanities Institute website maintains a rolling list of opportunities and deadlines here.

Other Fellowships: Various campus-wide opportunities are advertised widely via email throughout the year. The department also encourages students to apply for Extramural Funding, ranging from short-term library fellowships and scholarships for language study abroad to major fellowships for dissertation research and writing. Students are forwarded notices received by the department for external fellowships and teaching opportunities.