Graduate Study Requirements


In addition to completing your advanced-level coursework, you’ll create a graduate portfolio to prepare for graduation and you’ll present at the Graduate Research Symposium in your final semester.

Once you decide which research paper you want to write, you’ll meet with Dr. Elizabeth Zold, English Graduate Program Director, to declare which option you want to pursue.


Thesis/Non-Thesis Option

All graduate students must fulfill the graduate research requirement by:

  • taking ENG 601 or 614, and writing a master's thesis or
  • choosing the non-thesis option, which requires five more credit hours of coursework (Note: Students enrolled in the graduate program through an agreement with an international partner institution may be required to select the non-thesis option.)

Students who select the master's thesis option may choose to write a scholarly thesis on a literary, linguistic, or Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) topic, or a creative thesis with a scholarly introduction.

If you intend on writing a master's thesis, you need to do the following:

  • secure a director
  • find a prospectus and two thesis readers
  • have the prospectus and two readers approved by the director
  • email the Prospectus Submission & Thesis Committee form (PDF) to Dr. Zold at EZold@winona.edu between your first and second academic years—you won't be able to register for ENG 699 until this form has been filed

After you’ve written and revised your thesis while consulting your director and readers, you must defend your thesis (PDF) and complete the bindery process (PDF) at least one month before your anticipated graduation date.


Graduate Portfolio

Your second requirement is to complete a graduate portfolio while enrolled in the portfolio course (ENG 695).

The portfolio is designed be a way to demonstrate both the breadth and depth of your mastery in the discipline.

Your portfolio will include the following materials:

Introductory Statement


This is a critical reflection that explains how you believe your graduate coursework relates to your future career goals.

Your statement should articulate your professional objectives and explore your artistic vision.

It should also set a collection of your work within a scholarly framework.


Supporting Evidence for Introductory Statement

  • curriculum vitae
  • publishable work that’s a significant contribution to the field related to your professional aspirations, such as a traditional scholarly article or pedagogical tools, texts, or electronic materials
  • annotated bibliography with 20-25 scholarly works that support the introductory statement
  • one additional supporting piece
    • TAs must submit a teaching philosophy
    • All other graduate students may submit a teaching philosophy, a pedagogical tool, another substantial and revised seminar paper or research work, a creative work, or another piece at the discretion of the Graduate Program Director

Graduate Symposium Presentation


The final component of your portfolio is presenting a scholarly paper of your choice at the Life and Work of the Scholar Graduate Symposium.

This paper can be based on the publishable work included in your portfolio.

Ready to Apply?


Learn more about the admissions process, so you don’t miss a step when applying to an English graduate program.