Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Course Descriptions
People Degrees Admission to Graduate Program
Teaching Assistantships & Funding


Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about rules and regulations as well as the most important policies that apply to graduate students in English. If you have a question not answered here, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Valerie Fridland.


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To audit a class the student must sign up through Admissions & Records. You cannot sign up for an audit through MyNevada. Audit credits DO count toward the 6 credits required to maintain a TA-ship or the 3 credits required to maintain active standing. But audit credits do not count toward the total number of credits required for the degree, and audited courses may not be used to fulfill degree requirements. Audit credits are covered by Grant-in-Aid. Although audited courses cannot be applied to a degree program, they do appear on a student’s transcript.

Comprehensive exam (795), Thesis (797), and Dissertation (799) enrollment

To enroll in the Comprehensive Exam (795), students must have completed their foreign language requirement(s) and filed their Program of Study. To enroll in thesis (797) or dissertation (799) hours, students must have filed their Program of Study. Permission forms to register for these course numbers are available from Valerie Fridland and require your chair's signature.


The two most important sources for information about deadlines are the Graduate School’s website and the UNR Academic calendar, accessible from your MyNevada webpage. It is a good idea to consult these sources every semester, print the pages, and record key dates in your planner. Here are the links:

Grant-in-Aid caps for TAs,
and Letters of Exception:

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The Graduate School’s Grant-in-Aid for TAs is capped at 9 credits per semester, but exceptions can be made. If your curricular needs are such that you plan to enroll in more than 9 credits in a given semester, notify the Director of Graduate Studies, Valerie Fridland, explaining what courses you will be taking and how they contribute to your graduate program. Pending approval of your request, the Director of Graduate Studies will send a Letter of Exception to the Graduate School, which will consider making an exception to the 9-credit fee waiver cap. There is a processing time involved, so notify the Director of Graduate Studies as soon as you know what courses you plan to take.

Grant-in-Aid for Foreign Language courses:

If you are a TA and are registered for a foreign language course to meet requirements for your degree, you should notify the Director of Graduate Studies of the course. The Director of Graduate Studies will send a Letter of Request to the Graduate School, which will then consider covering your foreign language course through a grant-in-aid fee reduction. However, the Graduate School does not grant fee reductions for an open-enrollment course through the UNR department of Online and Independent Learning. Summer foreign language courses are not covered by grant-in-aid.

Incompletes for 795, the Comprehensive Exam:

If a student does not take the exam in the semester for which he or she registered, the instructor assigns a grade of “I” (incomplete), and the student may take the exam the following semester without reregistering. After the student takes the exam, the instructor uses a “Change of Grade” form (available from Valerie) to submit the grade.

If the student does not take the exam the following semester, the Incomplete will revert to a “U” (Unsatisfactory = Fail) unless an Incomplete Extension form is filed. That form is available from Admissions and Records (in person—it is not online).

Internships (Eng 736):

The steps to setting up an internship are as follows:

  • Enlist an English Department faculty member to supervise the internship.
  • Choose an internship and a site supervisor.
  • Write an internship proposal that both the faculty supervisor and site supervisor agree to.
  • Pick up 736 Internship permission form from Valerie.
  • Get your faculty supervisor's signature. (Must determine # of credits; internships are variable credit and can be taken from 1-4 credits.)
  • Signatures needed: faculty supervisor, committee chair, site supervisor, Director of Graduate Studies
  • Return signed form to Valerie and she will clear you to register.
  • Internships may not be used to fulfill course requirements for the degree (unless the degree requires an internship).

No more than 4 credits of 736 may be counted toward the degree.

Leave of Absence:

The Graduate School grants a Leave of Absence for medical reasons and other emergencies. To request a Leave of Absence, a student should fill out an Application for Leave of Absence form, downloadable from the Graduate School. The form should be signed by the student’s chair and then the Director of Graduate Studies. As the application states, Leaves of Absence are treated the same as Withdrawals for financial aid purposes. If the student returns to his/her study prior to the date indicated on the Leave of Absence Application, he/she needs to request to the Grad School to be reinstated. Note that the Graduate School’s clock still ticks during the student’s Leave—6 years for MAs, 8 years for PhDs.

Minimum Enrollment:

Students in graduate programs at UNR are required by the Graduate School to enroll in a minimum of 3 graduate-level credits in each fall and spring semester to remain in graduate standing. Those failing to do so will be dropped from graduate standing to graduate special status. It is at the discretion of the Department of English, subject to the regulations of the Graduate School, whether students who fail to maintain graduate standing are to be readmitted to the program at any subsequent date. Students who are unable to take the minimum number of credits in a given semester should thus request a leave of absence in writing, using the form available from the Graduate School, if they wish to retain their standing in a graduate program. (See Leave of Absence, above.)

To keep a teaching assistantship, a graduate student must continue to make satisfactory progress in a graduate degree program. A TA must register for a minimum of 6 graduate credits each semester to maintain an assistantship. In addition, he or she must pass at least 10 graduate credits each year. It should be noted that these are Graduate School minimums; meeting them does not prove satisfactory progress in English.

Overload work for those on TA:

If you are a TA in English and you wish to take on additional work of any kind (e.g., tutoring, extra teaching, paid research help to a faculty member), please first talk with your committee chair about the advisability of that extra work. If your chair approves of that extra work in the context of your work for the TA and your progress on your degree, please ask your chair to send an email to the Director of Graduate Studies expressing approval of that extra work. If the Director of Graduate Studies approves the work overload, Valerie will generate a Work Overload form, which the Director of Graduate Studies signs. Valerie sends the signed form to the Graduate School. The overload work must be approved by the Graduate School before the TA begins the work.

Program of Study:

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The English Department strongly advises students to form their advisory committee and file their Program of Study form in a timely fashion. MA students should complete their Program of Study form in their second semester of study, while PhD students should do so in their third semester. Filing your Program of Study on this schedule will reduce delays in your time to graduation. You may not sign up for the Comprehensive Exam (795) until your Program of Study is filed and your foreign language requirement has been met.

The Program of Study form is available here:

To see a sample of a completed Program of Study form:

The following is an ordered plan for Programs of Study, from first to last step. Although it looks involved, we have found that this procedure saves everyone time in the long run. Please bring your transcripts, course records, draft Program of Study, and checklist to all meetings.

  1. 1. Fill out a draft Program of Study during or after consultation with your chair. Please note that, for English graduate students, total credits required for the degree should be based on English program requirements (e.g. Non-thesis MA 33, thesis MA 31, MFA 60, PhD 73) and not the minimums listed on the graduate school POS instructions.
  2. With your chair, check the form, looking at transcripts and using degree checklist, making note of how the foreign language requirement has been met. Chair does not sign in this step.
  3. Meet with the Director of Graduate Studies to check the form.
  4. After Director of Graduate Studies okays the form, type it neatly, print, and obtain the signatures of your chair and other committee members.
  5. Get the signature of Director of Graduate Studies by short appointment. The Director of Graduate Studies oversees the next three steps:
  6. Valerie Fridland sends Program of Study to Graduate School.
  7. The Graduate School checks the form, signs, files, and returns copy to the English department.
  8. The English department notifies you that your approved Program of Study is on file or that revision is necessary.