University of Northern Iowa

Posted on April 29, 2013


The University of Northern Iowa is located in Cedar Falls, Iowa and has a student body of roughly 13,165. It is considered to be an urban campus, but more urban in the sense of University of Minnesota-Mankato or Winona State University. The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are significantly larger universities and are located in larger cities.

UNI offers a M.A. in English and offers three different emphasis to choose from; Literature, English Studies, and Creative Writing. Depending upon the emphasis offered, the prospective student has the option of either a thesis or a non-thesis choice. UNI also requires their graduate students to take a two part (written and oral) Comprehensive Examination to receive their degree. This in some ways seems to replace the GRE, even though it is specific to the school.

Ranking: On the US News Ranking website, which I have been attempting to reference to on every page, there is no ranking for UNI. However,  UNI has consistently been named one of the “Best in the Midwest” in the Princeton Review Best 351 College Rankings guide, and has ranked second in the category “regional universities (Midwest)” by U.S. News & World Report for twelve consecutive years. (source)

Application Fee: $50

Requirements: This is where I ran into some trouble with UNI. Their requirements are pretty vague. They do not have a minimum GPA requirement listed and all that it is explicit in not needing GRE test scores to be considered. I did send an email to one of the contacts to try and find out what the prefer prospective students to have as far as a minimum GPA goes.

Funding: UNI offers a pretty wide range of funding, including assistantships with scholarships or stipends. Actually finding the information on funding for the English program is difficult. The only mention of it on their page is this

“Applications for graduate funding, both scholarships and stipends, can be found at:”

Faculty: Their faculty page is not the easiest to navigate either. The department needs to be searched first and then not only do you not get to see any of their specialties, they are only listed under Languages and Literature. This is not helpful because this school also teaches graduate programs in Spanish and English as a Second Language. Instead of just finding English Faculty, we get the combined department. Then each of the professors web pages serve more as a directory than a profile, only giving their contact information and their professional status. There are no specialties, publications, of even a list of their earned degrees.

UNI was a school that had really piqued my interest when I found out that it offered the program that I wanted. However, I am now apprehensive after visiting their website. Their various reviews are promising but the actual program was vague and difficult to navigate. I am not completely turned off to it, I am just not sure whether I want to spend the $50 dollars on an application that I am not even certain that would make the first cut. I suppose I will wait to hear back from the woman I contacted and see if she can give me some clarification.