Advising for TPC MA and Certificate Students

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Advising and Registration

If you are enrolled in the MA or Certificate program, you are required to participate in academic advising before registering for classes each semester. The TPC graduate advisor is Brent Henze (

The advising process is a collaborative planning process: we talk about your goals for the program, your performance in previous coursework, and the course options for upcoming semesters. Although the most immediate goal of advising is to select courses for the next semester, it's also an opportunity to touch base, reflect on your experience in the program, and address how the program can better support you going forward. So, please tell us what you need and what your evolving goals are; we'll help you get there.

Steps in the advising process

Step 1: reviewing your plan of study

When advising period is announced (about week 6 of the semester), review your Plan of Study (or compare your academic transcript with your degree or certificate program's requirements) on your own so that you have a firm idea of your progress and what you still need to do. Prepare questions if you're unsure about any program-related requirements.

Step 2: reviewing upcoming courses

Review the upcoming semester's course offerings in TPC (and in other areas, if you're an MA student and you'd like to consider non-TPC electives). The English graduate studies office will post course numbers and descriptions on its website, and you can also find the full list of available courses in Pirateport. Consider how many courses you can reasonably take in a semester. As a very rough benchmark, you should budget 10-15 "good hours" per course per week in the fall and spring semesters, and 30-40 hours per course per week in each of the five-week summer sessions. By "good hours" I mean times when you are awake and alert, have quiet and privacy to work, and have access to necessary resources (books, articles, a good Internet connection, etc.)  Don't count on time between meetings or the super-late shift for most graduate course work; instead, budget good blocks of time for most of this work.

A "full load" is 3 courses per regular semester and up to two courses per summer session, though very few students take a full four courses in the summer. Part-time students should limit their course load to no more than two courses per regular semester, and no more than one course per summer session.

Again, prepare questions for your advisor regarding courses, schedules, needs, and goals.

Step 3: dialogue with your advisor

Contact the TPC graduate advisor ( Start with e-mail, well labeled (e.g., Subject: TPC advising). In your e-mail, indicate your course preferences (which courses and how many) and, briefly, why you'd like to take those courses. I will reply, possibly with additional suggestions or other comments, or possibly just to "bless" your proposed schedule and tell you to register for your selected courses when registration begins.

If you are uncertain what to take, describe your thoughts about the available options. Are you interested in several courses and not sure which is best for you? Are you considering some out-of-area courses? Are you looking for a particular subject matter but not sure which courses fit best? Pose whatever questions you have in order to begin a dialogue about your options, interests, constraints, and needs.

If you would prefer to meet in person or by phone, indicate which days/times next week are best for you. We can talk by phone, meet in the office, or continue the conversation by e-mail—whatever works best.

Step 4: register for courses

After you and your advisor have agreed upon your schedule for the upcoming semester, you can enroll yourself in courses through Onestop. Register as early as possible during the registration period; classes fill very quickly!

Certain courses may require special permission to register; we'll assist with that process. Special permission is generally needed for internships, degree completion hours, some special topics courses, and some courses taken outside the English department.

Advising for internships

If you're interested in completing an internship, e-mail the internship coordinator, Brent Henze, at Before you can be enrolled in an internship section, we need to discuss the details of an internship placement. For some of you who have completed some TPC courses and would like to connect that work to your past or current professional work experience, you might consider completing a research-based internship. Talk with your advisor and/or the internship coordinator (Dr. Henze) about this possibility and other internship options.
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