Graduate Program in English - How Long?
How much time will the program take?
In terms of time, we should consider both the number of semesters the programs take and the commitment each course requires in any given week.
How many semesters your program will take depends upon a number of factors—which program you select, how many courses you take per term, and whether or not you intend to take classes in the summer (although note that summer sessions often offer relatively few course options). The standard M.A. (with Thesis or Capstone project) will take approximately 4 terms if you take a full load each semester. Other options include more coursework and consequently take longer. All coursework, per Graduate Studies policy, must be completed within 6 years of beginning the program or (with course reauthorizations) within 10 years. Those longer times only become an issue for students taking just 1 course per term; most students take at least 2 to 3 courses per term.
In terms of time in any given week, please note that the standard guideline for graduate coursework is that you will require an average of 3 hours out of class for every hour in class. That workload may fluctuate up or down in any given week, because that average generally will not be sufficient in weeks where you are writing papers or preparing for presentations. For that reason, a 3-credit hour course should be assumed to be a 12-hour per week commitment. Full-time, or 9 hours, generally requires around 36 hours of work per week.
Because UAH now offers block tuition for graduate students (starting Fall 2014), you may be tempted to take more than 9 hours a semester. Under certain rather rare circumstances, doing so may be an option for you. However, prior to enrolling in more than 9 semester hours, you MUST MEET WITH THE DIRECTOR OF GRADUATE STUDIES to discuss your specific situation and receive permission for the overload.
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