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What are the admissions requirements for the MA in PWE?

Prospective candidates for the degree are expected to have a BA in English or a related field or a BA in an unrelated field with at least two years of professional experience in writing and editing. In addition, admission will require the following:

  • Writing samples/ portfolio which includes work crossing various genres.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 for BA/BS
  • TOEFL scores (when applicable) of at least 600 for the written exam or equivalent scores for the online exam
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE analytical writing score of 5 or above (recommended)
  • A completed Graduate Admission Application – January 15th deadline

Note: Admitted students may be required to complete prerequisite coursework in professional writing and other English studies.

How do I apply?

The following materials should be submitted online through the University Graduate Online Application web site:

  • Graduate Admission Application
  • Writing Samples/Portfolio (Uploaded in the Supplemental Materials section of the online application.)
  • Personal Statement (Uploaded in the Supplemental Materials section of the application. Statement should address your reasons for pursuing the MA in PWE and, if you are seeking a GTA position, your potential as a teacher.)
  • Resume/C.V. (Uploaded in the Supplemental Materials section of the online application.)
  • Letters of Recommendation

In addition, applications require:

  • Transcripts for Undergraduate Coursework (Transcripts should be sent to Graduate Admissions at the address below.)
  • GRE General Aptitude Test Scores (Scores should be sent to Graduate Admissions at the address below. GRE/TOEFL Code: 5904) Note: In some cases, where students have graduated more than five years ago and can present at least two years of experience writing and editing on the job, we will consider requests to waive this requirement.

Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment
West Virginia University
PO Box 6510
Morgantown, WV 26506-6510

Additional Application Details

What should I include in the writing samples/portfolio and personal statement?
Your portfolio and personal statement should demonstrate both your writing skills and your goals for the degree.

The personal statement, which should be no more than 2 pages, should make a reasoned case for why you are a good candidate for the MA in PWE program at WVU. The admissions committee wants to know the following things about you as a candidate: Why do you want to pursue this MA in PWE degree at WVU? What interests and professional goals will be served by completion of this degree? What kinds of preparation do you have for graduate-level work in professional writing and editing? How do you see WVU’s MA in PWE program building on your preparation and helping you to meet the goals you have set for yourself?

The writing samples/portfolio (about 15-20 pages) should demonstrate a sense of your range and experience as a writer. As a general guideline, we suggest you submit two to three different types of writing. For instance, some applicants might want to include an 10-12 page literary analysis and a brief book review; other applicants might submit a several brief press releases, some professional correspondence (formal letters and memos), and an 8-10 page researched business report. The goal is to use 15-20 pages to demonstrate your ability to write for different audiences and purposes while also showing us that you possess some basic research and argument skills. (If some of your samples are long, please excerpt them so that the total writing sample is about 20 pages.) Feel free to include very brief notes explaining the context of documents, especially excerpted ones.

Do I need letters of recommendation?

We ask for three letters of recommendation. Students should use the online Graduate Application site to request letters from their reviewers. Applicants who have been away from school more than five years may want to solicit letters of recommendation from business associates or others who are best able to comment on their character and writing abilities. Recent graduates should seek letters from their recent professors.

What is the application deadline?

All applications are due by January 15 for the following semester admissions.

Is there financial assistance?

Each year a number of graduate teaching assistantships are available through the English Department. These assistantships are awarded according to merit to students who have been accepted into the MA in PWE program and who have indicated they want to be considered for the assistantships. The stipend is currently $13,236.00 per academic year plus a tuition waiver. Students who attend the English Department’s summer internship program in teaching are paid an additional $1,000.00 stipend. Graduate teaching assistants typically teach two courses each semester while taking two courses each term.

There are also a few writing and editing assistantships that occasionally become available through other departments. Those stipends are variable since they are determined by the sponsoring departments, but they typically pay about the same as the English assistantships. Writing and editing assistants typically work 20 hours per week while taking two courses each term.

When are decisions made?

Admissions decisions are typically made in early-to-mid March of each year and we ask you to accept or decline our offer by late March.

What teacher training is available for graduate teaching assistants?

Students who receive a teaching assistantship attend the English Department’s summer workshop to prepare them to teach in our program. That workshop runs from August 1-15, usually from 9-4 daily. Graduate students in this workshop receive an additional stipend in their first year only to recognize the two-week time commitment. Graduate teaching assistants are also required to take a course in their first semester that focuses on the scholarship that informs composition teaching (English 609). Finally, we assign each new instructor to a peer mentor group as another way of supporting teachers in their first year at WVU.

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