Carnegie Mellon University

Department of English Fellowships, Awards and Scholarships for Graduate Students

Departmental M.A. Scholarships

All M.A. students in the Literary and Cultural Studies and Rhetoric programs receive a departmental scholarship that is applied directly to tuition costs. The scholarship amounts to about a 45% reduction in tuition and is split between the fall and spring semesters.

Students accepted into the MAPW program receive a tuition remission scholarship that generally covers 48% or slightly more of the graduate tuition. We guarantee to keep your tuition constant through your three semesters of study even if the university should increase the graduate tuition rate applicable for your third term.

NOTE: Applicants considering part-time enrollment should contact the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs for exact tuition remission scholarship rates for part-time students.

Department Graduate Student Teaching Award

Who is eligible: Graduate instructors nominated for the award
Amount: Extra research allowance of $250

The Graduate Student Teaching Award recognizes the excellent teaching done by our graduate students on behalf of the Department of English.  Each fall, the Director of Graduate Studies and other members of the Graduate Studies Committee review and assess materials from graduate instructors nominated for the award.   We consider teaching portfolios that typically include statements of teaching philosophy, sample syllabi, instructional materials, all course evaluations, other assessments, and explanatory narratives.  We supplement these materials with independent class observations by members of the Graduate Studies Committee and letters we solicit from former students. After the decision process, the Director of Graduate Studies relates extensive feedback from the committee members to all nominees on their materials and teaching.

Erwin R. Steinberg MAPW Scholarship

Who is eligible: third semester MAPW students
Amount: $1,500

Since 2007, Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of English has recognized a third-semester Master’s in Professional Writing (MAPW) student with the Erwin R. Steinberg MAPW Scholarship.

The scholarship is awarded annually to a third-semester MAPW student who excels in Style, a course Steinberg taught for many years in the MAPW program. The award recognizes a student who has excelled in the program’s style course and exemplifies integrity, intellectual curiosity and citizenship—values that characterized Steinberg’s legacy in scholarship, teaching and administration.

Steinberg founded the department’s Professional and Technical Writing Programs and for many years taught the required Style course for MAPW students.

Teaching Opportunities (outside 76-100 and 76-101)

Ph.D. students are encouraged to design and teach their own special topics courses. Advanced Ph.D. students also sometimes teach courses in their areas of interest during the academic year. Regular session courses are typically offered to advanced undergraduates (junior and senior level), although a few of our Ph.D. students in Rhetoric have also taught graduate-level courses. As the following list of recent courses demonstrates, our Ph.D. students in Rhetoric teach a wide variety of courses across a number of disciplinary boundaries:

  • Books You Should Have Read By Now

  • Books (By Women) You Should Have Read By Now

  • Introduction to Gender Studies

  • Writing for the Professions

  • Jane Austen

  • Shakespeare: Comedies and Romances

  • Language & Culture

  • Shakespeare: Tragedies & Histories

Ph.D. students also assist in other courses. They are sometimes hired as teaching assistants in courses offered by other departments in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. In addition, The Heinz School of Public Policy and Management and the Tepper School of Business have recruited our Ph.D. students to assist in their courses. Duties often include reading and grading written assignments, but may also require other kinds of expertise, for example with non-native speakers of English.

Research Assistantships (RA-ships)

Who is eligible: All graduate students are eligible to apply for all positions.
Amount: $13/hour for about 50 hours a semester. 

If you choose to join our program, you will have the opportunity to apply for additional financial support through paid research assistantships. Our students work with faculty members on a wide array of assignments designed to supplement their coursework and to give them valuable professional experience. These positions generally involve 5-10 hours of work per week at $13 per hour. Available positions are generally advertised to incoming students at the beginning of each fall term.

Teaching Assistant for Reading and Writing in an Academic Context (76-100)

Who is eligible: MA students.

Reading and Writing in an Academic Context, is the course we offer to our first-year, multilingual students at Carnegie Mellon. The course is a demanding one to teach in that the students require a lot of feedback on their writing throughout the semester.  We employ roughly 8-10 Master’s students each year to provide supplemental instruction to 76-100 students at peak times throughout the semester.


Some key facts:

  • These TA-ships are funded for roughly 50 hours in the fall semester.  The rate of pay is $13/hour.

  • All TAs must attend a weekly practicum. During these meetings you will be trained on giving feedback to second language writers as well as understanding the 76-100 curriculum.  This practicum is usually taught by the Director of First-Year Writing, Danielle Wetzel.

  • This TA-ship may be combined with some other RA-ships, depending upon the work flow of the RA-ship projects.

Any M.A. student in English is able to apply for these positions (LCS, PW, Rhetoric).

Tutoring at the Global Communication Center

Who is eligible: All admitted graduate students are invited to apply for a tutoring position at the Global Communication Center (GCC). 
Amount: $18-20, depending on level of graduate study


The Global Communication Center is an innovative writing center that supports written, oral and visual communication for all CMU students. The GCC offers free one-on-one communication consulting and workshops to undergraduate and graduate students from any discipline. Our mission is to teach students research-backed strategies and communication principles.