Resources for Our Current Graduate Students


Funding and Financial Support

Financial Assistance at UC Davis

Sign up for Direct Deposit for reimbursements and refunds

Financial Aid office (Dutton Hall, 1st floor): campus grants, loans, scholarships & work study 

Student Accounting:  Dutton Hall, 2nd Floor. 

Complete your FAFSA!  Opens October, priority deadline of March but fill it out at any time.  You may be eligible for a $600 Campus Fee Grant (Physics has the best explanation of how this works just by filling out your FAFSA, which is a need-based award.  

UCD Financial Systems info: Answers: Which accounting system? Is it visible on MyBill? Is tax withheld? 

Emergency, Short-term and Assistant Loans

Fellowships & Awards at UC Davis

Graduate Studies Internal Fellowships:  Review each one and apply for ones in which you’re eligible. Annual deadline of January 15th

Graduate Studies Travel Awards:  For travel to present a research paper at professional meetings.  Due annually on March 15th and October 15th   

Find External Fellowships

UC Davis Office of Research:  Funding Opportunities & Limited Submissions

Davis Humanities Institute (DHI) Funding Opportunities

English Department Miller Funds for conferences and workshops (links to Box)

GSA (Grad Students Assoc) funding opportunities 

Tax Resources

Your W2 and 1095 (health coverage statement, if you need it) should be in UCPath (log in with your kerberos ID and password) but your 1098-T  (Tuition/Fellowship/Reimbursement/Stipend Statement) should come via email from UCD Student Accounting. 

Tax info on UC Davis sites: W2 information & Tax information from Student Accounting

Steps to Earn Your Master's Degree as a Ph.D. Student

Steps to Completing a Master's in English:

1) You have completed 40 units of coursework (12 of which were graduate work in your major field).

2) You'll need a Thesis Chair and two Readers to form your Thesis Committee (your dissertation committee may serve as the chair and readers for the MA; you can also ask your primary mentor for guidance in forming an MA committee).

3) You have a 25-30 page paper that your thesis committee will sign off as a thesis.

4) Fill out a Petition to Change/Add Major(s) or Degree Objective(s) form. The reason will be: I am obtaining a Masters on my way to getting my PhD since I entered my degree program with only a BA.

5) Once approved, complete the Advance to Candidacy form in GradSphere (
    - To pay the $55 fee, you can visit the GS Forms Store online, or the Cashier's Office in Dutton Hall for an in-person option.

6) Once you are Advanced to Candidacy as a Master's student, have your thesis committee members sign your Thesis Title Page.

7) File the required paperwork.


Info and Title Page template

What does a thesis look like?  Talk with your faculty advisor/Thesis Chair about this process and your thesis - it's up to them & your thesis committee to determine if your paper meets the requirements for a thesis (see the Degree Requirements).  

The thesis requirement for the Emphasis in Literature is satisfied by revising a graduate seminar paper into a journal-quality scholarly article of 25–35 pages. There is no prospectus. In the quarter(s) leading up to submission of the thesis, the student will work with his or her Thesis Chair and, less closely, with the members of the Thesis Committee to develop a solid bibliography for the project, convey mastery of the particular critical discussion surrounding the thesis topic, and present an original argument. The thesis must be of appropriate length and must be assessed as being at an appropriate scholarly level—again, similar to that of a publishable scholarly article—in the view of all three committee members. There is no defense; the thesis may be revised by the student until it meets expectations, provided these changes can be made within one quarter of the submission of the final draft to all three readers. The student’s M.A. committee will determine whether the thesis meets the standard for its field of specialized inquiry.

For the thesis to be acceptable for the degree, all members must sign the title page certifying that the student has completed her/his thesis to their satisfaction.  Once the thesis has been approved, the student will submit a copy of the thesis and signed title page to the English graduate office. A copy will also be submitted to Graduate Studies according to posted requirements.


Academics and Registration

Academic Information from Graduate Studies at UCD

Academic Services from Grad Studies: registration, finishing your degree & filing deadlines, academic probation, policies and forms

PELP, In Absentia and Filing Fee

Cheat sheet below.  More information found for PELP & Filing Fee and In Absentia on the Graduate Studies site.

  In Absentia PELP Filing Fee

Indep Research or enrolled at another Univ outside of CA.

Planned Educ Leave Prog: Suspend academic work for personal reasons.

Dissertation is in final draft form. Must graduate at the end of the quarter.
Benefit? Reduced fees while out of CA doing research or finishing diss. No fees while you take a break from the program for various personal reasons. Reduced fees while finalizing diss & paperwork to graduate.
Deadline to Apply 10th day of instruction 10th day of instruction 1st day of the quarter
Keep SHIP? Yes May purchase health cards that entitle you to full student health benefits for 1 quarter**. Yes
Duration allowed? 6 Qtrs for PhD, 3 Qtrs for Masters 3 (new grad students not eligible); Extension may be requested.

One quarter. Extensions rare, case by case.

Eligibility PhDs must be AC; MFA must be 2nd year. All Must be AC.
Fees 15% of tuition, 15% of Stud Svcs Fee, Full SHIP, Full out-of-state fees. No fees - not a registered status. $162
Summer, too? No, only F/W/S NA No
Eligible to receive fellowship? Yes No No fellowships or financial aid.
Academic Appt?

GSR: Yes; TA/AI/Reader/Tutor: No

No Yes: GSR or TA/AI/Reader/Tutor
Misc No in-person collab with UC faculty  

If you go on FF in Spring, you could file in Sept. 

Must be a registered student in prior quarter (not PELP).

FF at same time? Yes No  
Registered Student? Yes No (do not register) No

** If students are out of the area, they may purchase an optional health insurance plan to provide coverage. If students intend to continue UC SHIP benefits, they must notify Student Health & Couseling Services before the first day of the quarter in which PELP status begins.

Academic Assistance

Writing Across the Curriculum (Grad Writing Program tutors): offers individual consultations and writing workshops 

Student Academic Assistance & Tutoring Centers: offers one-on-one tutoring and support 


Teaching, Research & Professional Development 

Teaching Resources - Remote & In-Person

The English Dept Canvas site should be your first stop! (Need access? Ask Aaron)

The English Department website with tips and instructions on remote teaching.

Zoom is available to all UC Davis faculty, staff, AND students at no direct cost.

AggieVideo -- lets you upload mp4s from any source, including Zoom if you're using it to record. This might be useful for those who are tired of the Zoom video access requirements changing without warning.

UCD Library Resources during the Coronavirus.

The Keep Teaching website is the hub for resources related to online instruction, including advice, tools, policy guidance, and links to upcoming events.

Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology is the oldest yearly teaching institute at UC Davis, providing opportunities for faculty to collabotrate with other colleagues and staff who are excited about enhancing student learning.  Take a look at the recorded live events and 10-minute microtalks by faculty and staff here.


Research Funding & Opportunities

PhD Funding opportunities compiled by the English Department

Miller Funds for conferences and workshops (links to Box)

Davis Humanities Institute (DHI) opportunities

Grad Studies Travel Awards - for travel to present a research paper at professional meetings.  Due annually on March 15th and October 15th.

External Fellowships from Graduate Studies

UC Davis Office of Research - Funding Opportunities and Limited Submissions

Pivot:  ProQuest funding search

Graduate Student Organizations

EGSA - English Graduate Student Association

GSA - UC Davis Graduate Student Organization


Mentor & Mentee Resources

Graduate Studies has a lot of information for mentors and mentees.

How To Meet With Me by Katie Peterson (MFA Program Director)

The Cross Cultural Center - contacte the CCC to become a part of the Graduate Students of Color Mentoring Program.

First-Generation Graduate Student Initiative - email for more information.

Professional Development

Professional Development from Graduate Studies

The GradPathways Institute for Professional Development.  Over 200 workshops, seminars, and panel discussions are offered throughout the year

Careers in the Humanities (links to Box) - MLA webinar presentation, Aug 2020

Graduate Student Instructor Union

UC Student Worker's Union - UAW 2865 – Union for Teaching Assistants (TAs), Associate Instructors (AIs), Tutors & Readers at UC  

Join the Union - you only need to join once!  If you're not sure that you're a member, filling it out again doesn't hurt.

Undergraduate Resource page to pass on to your undergrad students and include in your course Canvas page.



Health & Wellness

Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP)

Find SHIP Info here

What does SHIP cover?  Medical & Mental Health benefits

SHIP Waivers - already have health insurance?  Fill out a form every year to waive your SHIP.

Food & Nutrition

Aggie Compassstudent community space where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables during Fruit & Veggie Up!, get CalFresh enrollment assistance and find resources to help you find stable housing and financial assistance.  Memorial Union, M-F, 9a-5p  

The Pantry: M/Th 11:30a-6:30p, T/F 10a-5:30p, Wed 10a-6:30p, Memorial Union 154 

Student Health cooking class: offered quarterly. 

Student Farm weekly produce box: approx. $235/quarter  

Davis Farmer’s Market: Year-round at Central Park: Saturdays, 8a-1p. March-Oct: Wednesday evenings. Reduced cost produce at the end of the market

CalFresh: state benefits for food  

Other Food Resources in the community

UCD Farmer’s Market: Fall (the 6 weeks before Thanksgiving) & Spring, noon hour on the Quad.  M-F various hours. 

Healthy Aggies: nutrition/wellness peer counseling and support. MU Aggie Compass desk. M-F various hours. 

Fruit and Veggie Up: Mondays and Friday, 11am-12:30pm at the Memorial Union (MU)  

Health & Mental Health

UCD Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS): offers crisis and ongoing counseling; individual and groups; suicide prevention; sexual health, etc.  Counseling referrals from SHCS can be made to a Sacramento location.  

Counseling Services for graduate students (in the Office of Graduate Studies) 

UCD Office of the Ombuds: a confidential, independent, impartial, and informal problem-solving and conflict management resource for all members of the UC Davis community.  The Ombuds can assist by listening to concerns, clarifying issues, identifying policies and resources, and providing coaching and communication strategies.     

Activities & Rec Center (The ARC): Free for students during academic year.   

Campus Recreation: Aquatics, Craft Center, ARC classes, sports clubs, etc.    

Yolo County Communicare: offers off-campus health and mental health services on a sliding scale and through other insurance. Located in Woodland      

Sutter Davis Hospital: Emergency room & after hours emergency care


Around Davis - Local Resources

Travel In & Around Davis

Unitrans (buses): grad students do not qualify for free rides but you can purchase discounted 10 Ride Tickets & Monthly passes.  

UCD-UCD Medical Center, Sacramento shuttle

UCD- UC Berkeley Shuttle for UCD/UCB faculty, staff and registered students: 

UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services

UC Davis Bike Barn: Although there are several bike shops in Davis, the Bike Barn is run by the UC Davis student government (ASUCD – who also run Unitrans) and benefits from a central-campus location for easy bike sales and maintenance. If you're comfortable doing your own work, they run a self-service Bike Garage with tools and parts. Used bikes are also sold at the UCD TAPS Bicycle Auction.

Davis Wiki

Davis Wiki:  Good resource for Davis & UC Davis.  Explore, discuss, compile.

         Wiki: Getting the most out of your student fees

         Wiki: Spots & Places

Entertainment - free & low cost

Xfinity: Free access on Campus.

Mondavi Center: First ticket free.

Manetti Shrem Museum of Art: Free to all.

UC Davis Arboretum Events

UC Davis Athletic Events: Free admittance to many UCD sporting events with ID card.

UCD Outdoor Adventures: Varying costs to experience the outdoors. 


Graduate Students with Families 

Grad Students with Families

UC Davis offers a number of childcare options and resources, including childcare grants.  See our family resources page for more info.

Current MFA Students 

MFA Year One

Your first year in the program should be about getting to know the resources available to you about the university, learning how to balance what is often a challenging array of responsibilities, getting to know your professors as potential committee members, completing most of your curricular requirements, preparing to be a good teacher, and in the midst of all this practicing putting the development of your writing first in your life, which is something that is new for almost everyone in the program. It can be daunting, but it should be the exciting kind of daunting. Because everyone is different, our aim is to provide many kinds of support for you. Make the best of this time by really understanding what is here for you so you can access it and have the most productive, generative, and fulfilling experience possible.

        SPRING: Take ENL391.  English 391 prepares first year students in the Creative Writing program to teach English 5, the introductory class in Creative Writing offered in three genres: fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. We meet for two hours once a week to talk about how to teach an intellectually challenging, thought-provoking, memorable undergraduate writing course.

        SPRING: Form your thesis committee. In the spring of the first year, the student nominates 3-4 faculty to serve on the Thesis Committee, ranking his or her preference for Committee Chair. The thesis committee consists of a Thesis Director and typically two additional readers from the faculty. The Director of Creative Writing, in consultation with faculty, then assigns the committee.

MFA Year Two

During the second year, students complete their required coursework, teach ENL 5 and/or TA for Literature courses, and, most importantly, work closely with their committee to create a book-length creative work, which they will defend/celebrate in May.

Writing Hours: In their second year in the program, students prepare a substantial, completed, copyedited, and formally presented collection of original writing as their creative Final Project, taking 299D “writing units” with their Chair and 299 units with other members of their committee. Use 299 and 299D units to “fill up” your schedule to the required 12 units after you have enrolled in units for your remaining required courses and employment. 

To sign up for units with a committee member, ask the committee member if they’ll do these units with you, tell them how many you’d like to do with them, and ask the faculty member to cc an email confirmation to you and the Program Coordinator who will help you sign up for them. Talk to your committee members early in the academic year so that you can plan on taking 299 units during the quarter(s) when the faculty member will be available to work with you.

Teaching ENL5: Most students teach ENL 5, Introduction to Creative Writing, for one or more quarters during their second year in the program, and we provide the opportunity for every student who successfully completes their first year to do so.

WINTER: File paperwork to Advance to Candidacy (see "Planning for Graduation" below).

Defense: After both your Project and Aesthetic Statement have been submitted by the May deadline, there is a defense—a two-hour meeting, open to the public, in which the student gives a brief reading, then answers questions about their project and the Aesthetic Statement, first from the committee members, then from the audience at large.

You are welcome (but not required) to provide refreshments at your defense and to invite people with whom you would like to share the occasion. Typically, you will read your aesthetic statement and a selection from your work (usually between 20 and 30 minutes). The members of your committee will then ask you questions about the project. When they are satisfied, there will usually be an opportunity for guests to ask questions, and usually there is some time at the conclusion for informal socializing and congratulations.

In the event of a successful defense, the committee then signs off on the project and the student submits it in its current form. Occasionally the committee may request further revisions from the student; thesis must be completed by the filing date of the relevant quarter (usually June). For the project to be acceptable for the degree, all members must sign the title page certifying that the student has completed her/his project to their satisfaction. Once the project has been approved, the student will submit a copy of the project and signed title page to the English graduate office. A copy will also be submitted to Graduate Studies according to posted requirements. In the event that a project is deemed unacceptable by the committee, the members will recommend to the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student be disqualified from the program.

Planning for Graduation – Second-Year Writers

Note: Across different campus websites, you may see the words “Final Project”, “Thesis”, and “Dissertation” used to describe your culminating manuscript. MFA program language is evolving toward “Final Project” – that description is used below, but do be aware that Grad Studies pages and forms often use the word “Thesis” to describe the same work (although that is presently being addressed). Please contact program staff if a Grad Studies page is not presenting the information you need on this point in a clear way. 

Timeline for June Graduation
During Winter Quarter: Turn in the Advancement to Candidacy form to the Grad Office (see Advancing to Candidacy below). This is a bit of a flexible timeline, but "March or earlier" is ideal. 

March & April: The Grad Office will schedule your Defense. Timing depends on faculty schedules, but we’ll do our best to give you some options! More information on the Defense can be found in the “MFA Year Two” section above.

April: More information is pending from Grad Studies, but the deadline to register for Commencement will likely be mid-April. 

April & May: Speak with members of your committee to confirm the date by which they need to have the final version of your Project in advance of your Defense.

June 8th: File final, signed Project with Grad Studies by this date, or earlier. See Filing a Final Project below.

June: As above, the details are pending, but Commencement will take place during the month. 

If you are considering a later Summer or Fall graduation, or indeed earlier, please contact the grad office for situation-specific dates. 

Advancing to Candidacy
This is an important step toward your graduation – the Advancement to Candidacy form is a bit of culminating paperwork. It’s a multi-step process:

1.    You can find the form at this link: Candidacy for the Master of Fine Arts (GS339)
2.    Fill it out – leaving the signatures blank for now. Do let us know if you need an unofficial transcript to fill out the course section.

a.    The "Program Code" is GECW.

b.    The "Degree Sequence" is 1, unless you have an undergrad degree from UC Davis -- in which case your MFA Degree Sequence number is 2 :)

3.    There’s a $55 fee:

a.    Open the online Form Store and select your candidacy type – MFA. You do not need to identify a candidacy plan.

b.    Enter your name and SID, add the fee to your cart, and embark upon the checkout process.
c.    After payment is confirmed, an email receipt will be sent to you at the address you specified during checkout.

4.    You can forward your Advancement to Candidacy form, alongside the email receipt for the fee, to Aaron. We collect faculty signatures, and submit everything to Grad Studies (copying you!). 

Filing a Final Project 

The timeline for finalizing your Final Project is rather flexible and dependent on your committee’s availability. However, it should be submitted to Grad Studies on or before June 8th. 

Specifically, the material we will need to submit to Grad Studies is:
-    A separate, signed title page of your Project, emailed to by either your committee chair or Aaron.
-    Your complete form Master of Fine Arts Report (GS340)
-    Your complete form Graduate Program Exit Info (GS312)

Once those documents are complete, they get sent to Grad Studies. The Senior Advisors there may request that you make a 15-minute appointment with her to assist with her tracking, but either way they will then file you to graduate and email you a degree conferral letter.

Do also note that for the department’s purposes, your full manuscript must be accompanied by an aesthetic statement, a critical essay accompanying the Project that discusses your poetics or aesthetics of fiction or non-fiction. In this discussion, such matters as history of influences (literary and extra-literary), sense of artistic growth, and questions about one’s art and practice may be covered. This aesthetic statement should be three pages at minimum, but may be longer. The aesthetic statement does not need to be submitted to Grad Studies.

Lastly, MFA students are no longer required to deposit your final projects with ProQuest, nor does the UC require the Copyright/Embargo Agreement (GS341) form to be completed. This change does not affect the copyright status of your work (you own it!), but it does eliminate a potentially bothersome step. 


Last Check-Ins Before Filing
-    Do you still need to advance to candidacy? 
-    Have you made any changes to your committee since advancing to candidacy?
-    Does your “official UC Davis name” need any changes before it appears on a diploma?
-    Do you still need to clear any Incompletes or NGs on your transcript?
-    Do you still need to fulfill any remaining degree requirements

If the answer to any of the above is “Yes”, please speak with Aaron.


Current PhD Students

PhD Year 1


  • 2 or 3 breadth and 2 or 3 electives. Roughly works out to 2 graduate seminars per quarter, including CRI200A “Approaches to Critical Theory” or CRI200C “History of Critical Theory” and:
  • Fall Quarter - Enroll in ENL 200 “Introduction to Graduate Studies” and
  • May begin Designated Emphasis (DE) coursework, at some point be sure to submit a DE Application.
  • Spring Quarter - Enroll in UWP 390 “Theory and Practice of University-Level Composition Instruction” in order to teach UWP1 the next year.

Language Requirement:

  • Complete #1 (fulfilled before Prelim Exam) and begin Language Requirement #2 (must be fulfilled before Qual Exam).

Preliminary Exam:- choose 2 of the Historical fields and 1 Critical/Focus field.


  • Teaching Assistant positions for Literature Courses.


  • 1st Year Advisor assigned in consultation with the student and in relation to research interest
PhD Year 2


  • 2 or 3 breadth and 2 or 3 electives. Roughly works out to 2 graduate seminars per quarter.

  • Fall Quarter - Enroll in UWP 392 “Teaching Expository Writing” (2 units) while teaching UWP1.

  • Continue DE coursework, don't forget to submit your DE Application.

Language Requirement:

  • Complete #1 (fulfilled before Prelim Exam) and begin Language Requirement #2 (must be fulfilled before Qual Exam).

Take Prelim Exam: Spring Quarter of Year 2 or Fall Quarter of Year 3.

Employment: Teach in 1st-Year University Writing Program (UWP1).

Summer: Read for Prelim Exam and Language Requirement #2.

PhD Year 3


  • Take final seminar or DE course, if needed.

  • Winter Quarter – Enroll in ENL 288, Prospectus Workshop

  • Spring Quarter - Enroll in ENL 393 “Teaching Literature & Composition” in order to teach ENL3 the next year.

  • Complete DE coursework, if applicable.

Language Requirement: Finish Language Requirement #2 (must be fulfilled before Qual Exam).

Take Prelim Exam: Spring Quarter of Year 2 or Fall Quarter of Year 3.

Qualifying Exam: 

  • Contact 5 Qual Exam committee members: 3 core committee, 1 out of field but in English, 1 out of department; qual exam chair must be different from dissertation chair.  If doing a DE, one core committee member must be DE-affiliated.

  • Write prospectus draft.

  • Take Qualifying Exam by end of 3rd year or beginning of 4th year.

Employment: Teach in 1st-Year University Writing Program (UWP1).

Summer: Finalize prospectus & committee.

Qualifying Exam

Students are responsible for scheduling their QE.  The application (via GradSphere) is due to Graduate Studies at least 30 days prior to the expected exam date. To allow sufficient time for review, it is recommended that students submit this application at least 40 days in advance. Information about the QE application process, committee eligibility, and exam outcomes is available in the Doctoral QE Policy and the Doctoral Qualifying Examination website.

Submit the following documents to the Graduate Program Coordinator:

• Qualifying Exam Checklist (the PhD Program Planner may help with completing this)

• Qualifying Exam Application

• Designated Emphasis Application (if applicable)

Important Notes on Exam Application: 

If you are carrying an incomplete, Grad Studies will not approve your application.  If you are pursuing a Designated Emphasis, one of the committee members must be someone qualified to examine you on that subject.  It's not too late to add a DE, if desired.  Just turn in the form with your QE Application. The Exam Chair cannot be the same person as your Dissertation Chair/Major Prof.

Here is the Qualifying Exam folder on Box.


You will need to give your Committee a FINAL copy of your prospectus & bibliography at least two weeks before your exam.  Faculty will have had time to see 1-2 drafts at that point.  Your first draft prospectus needs to go to your Committee approximately one month before your exam. 

PhD Years 4-6

  • Dissertation writing
  • Article Writing Workshop
  • Employment

On the Job Market

Late Spring
Have a serious conversation with your director about whether to go on the market or not.  Alert the Placement Committee and the Grad director that you will be on the market.

See Academic Job Candidate's checklist (links to Box) for more information on writing samples, cover letters, recommendation letters.

Plan to attend ALL Placement Committee workshops as well as mock interviews in early December.

Use your Miller Funds (links to Box)

Ready to File My Dissertation

You're almost there!
If you've completed your coursework and your dissertation has been approved by your committee, the next step is to have Graduate Studies process your final paperwork and add you to the degree list.  You'll find all the information you need on the Grad Studies site:

Finishing your degree

Details about filing your dissertation, including deadlines, required paperwork and formatting instructions

Degree verification, including the very important Diploma Mailing Form and your degree conferral letter