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Resources for Current Graduate Students

Diagnostic Assessment

At the midterm of their second semester (after six hours are complete, inclusive of ENG 501*), students will choose a paper to revise, and they will identify a potential publication or presentation venue for their revised work, such as a conference CFP, a creative writing journal, a professional/trade publication, digital exhibit, online forum, or another appropriate publishing or public speaking venue where they can submit their revised work. Students will then turn in a cover letter that includes an abstract of the paper as well as details on the publishing venue they wish to submit their work, along with a draft of the paper.

The paper and cover letter will then go for blind review to two faculty members (one in the student’s area of study and one outside of it—whom the DGS will identify with the aim of distributing the workload evenly across faculty). Students will revise the paper according to the readers’ reports under the guidance of her/his academic advisor. The advisor will work with the student to develop a revision plan based on readers’ comments, establish deadlines, and meet with the student to ensure revisions are completed. The revised paper, along with a new cover letter from the student detailing the changes made, will go back to the blind reviewers for final assessment.

Based on the reviewers’ assessment, students will be either 1) recommended for MA capstone project, 2) asked to further revise and resubmit their previous revisions, or 3) asked to further revise and resubmit their previous revisions as well as being assigned additional graduate classes that will further develop their writing abilities or knowledge in subject areas as determined by the diagnostic reading committee.

Note: exceptions to this requirement will be considered for students whose course plans prevent them enrolling in ENG 501 within the first six hours of graduate study.


After the assessment, students will begin constructing a proposal over the summer for their MA capstone project. In consultation with the DGS, students will identify an advisor, and begin research and reading. The standard for the project would be 30 pages or the equivalent in other media/3 credits (case by case adjustments are possible); as with the diagnostic assessment, students would be encouraged to consider where their work might ultimately appear as they develop their proposal. The proposal should include a rationale for the project topic, potential venue of publication, and the form of the project.

The MA capstone project timeline for the student’s second year in the MA program (submit to modification):

  • By the end of August: student has advisor and readers for their committee and has submitted the proposal to the committee
  • Late September: students turn in an annotated bibliography and/or an appropriate collection of source materials
  • Early October: students turn in a two-page abstract/precis of the MA capstone project
  • December: students turn in a full draft of their MA capstone project
  • January: students will meet with committee to receive feedback on draft of project; committee will schedule subsequent meetings with students, depending upon draft (either one or two)
  • March: No later than the end of this month (2 weeks prior to submission of the project to OhioLink’s ETD system), students will schedule, in coordination with their advisor, a defense of the MA capstone project. Based on this defense, students will make final revisions to the project.
  • April: (1 week prior to submission of the project to OhioLink’s ETD system) students will submit final project for format check.
  • April: final submission of MA capstone project. Students whose pieces are deemed ready for publication will graduate with distinctions. To streamline the timeline for the MA capstone process, there will be a procedural signature form that will be used to track student progress; students will need to collect signatures from the DGS, advisor, and committee along the way to document their progress towards completion.

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