Each year the University of Wisconsin offers a small number of fellowships earmarked for minority candidates. These are Advanced Opportunity Fellowships (AOFs). A small number of the minority students who apply for admission to the Afro-American Studies Department receive one of these for one year and a second year of support by way of a TAship or Project Assistantship in the Department. Students who apply to both the Afro-American and English Departments at the same time to do the MA/PhD Bridge Program, may receive a second year of AOF support as part of their five-year English Department fellowship/Teaching Assistantship package. This is one advantage of applying to the two departments simultaneously.
Minority students who are recruited into this program with an AOF (Advanced Opportunity Fellowship) for their first year can expect to receive a second year of financial support from the department in the form of a TA-ship or a Project Assistantship (assisting a professor with his or her research in ways defined by the professor). If a student does not complete the MA degree by the end of two years (four semesters), the department assumes no further financial responsibility for that student. Students who apply to the Bridge Program and do not complete the Afro-American Studies MA by the end of the summer of their second year will not be permitted to proceed into the PhD program until they fulfill that requirement.
Students admitted to the English Department’s graduate program in their first application to UW-Madison receive a guarantee of a TA-ship for four years to support them during their PhD years. TA-ships include complete tuition remission (i.e., the University pays the student’s tuition), an excellent package of health benefits, and a salary. Bridge Program students who begin their studies in the Afro-American Studies Department are evaluated for possible TA contracts at the time their applications for the PhD program are considered. The English Department does not normally admit students to the PhD program without some guaranteed support. Most often this takes the form of a four-year TA contract.