Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

Advising and Supervisory Committee

The Program Director will serve as your first advisor.  Any time after admission you may select a faculty advisor based on your own preference.  Any Boise State University faculty member who is also a member of the BSU Graduate Faculty may serve as your advisor, although the English Education Faculty probably know this degree program best.  In the first half of your program, your advisor can discuss with you course selections, portfolio strategies, and degree requirements and deadlines.

Supervisory Committee  

After one year in the program, or else by the time you have earned 12-15 credits (whichever comes first), you need to select and meet with your Supervisory Committee.  The Supervisory Committee consists of three or four BSU faculty members who know you and your work or who may have an expertise in an area of study of interest to you.  Committee members need not be members of the BSU English department, but it is strongly recommended that at least one of your committee members be an English Education faculty member.  Your committee will give you guidance and feedback on your degree progress and your portfolio plans and materials.  They also make the final determination about your final completion of the portfolio and degree requirements.

Most students begin to form their Supervisory Committee by selecting a faculty member to be the committee Chair.  This person then also officially becomes your advisor.  Then you can discuss with the Chair some ideas about other faculty members who might serve on your committee.  Normally you are the person who asks faculty members if they would be willing to serve on your committee, and at that time they may ask you about your work and your interests.  (They do this partly to determine whether they think they have something to offer you.)  You are free to pick whomever you want on your committee; university faculty members are used to this process and do not take it personally if you do not pick them.  You may even change committee members later if you want to.

When you have selected your faculty committee members and they have agreed to serve, then fill out and submit the “Appointment of Supervisory Committee” form on the Graduate College web site.  Bring it to your first committee meeting for the faculty to sign, then turn it in to the Graduate College office.  Graduate academic regulations require you to turn in this form within one year of the onset of your coursework in the degree program.


You will, of course, select and take your graduate courses based degree requirements, topics that interest you and you presume will advance your professional development, and on when the courses are offered.  Here are a few more things to keep in mind.

You can find course choices in your BSU Student Center.  After logging in to your My Boise State account, click on Student Center (left menu).  On the next screen, click on Search for Classes (upper right), then select the desired semester and courses numbered greater than 499 (500).

Be careful not to take too many workshop-numbered courses.  Boise State Writing Project courses and workshops are intended to be included in your degree work.  However, keep in mind that many BSWP offerings have workshop course numbers, and the Graduate College limits the number of workshop credits you can count toward your Masters degree.  As the catalog and check sheet note says:

“The total number of credits cannot exceed 10 (inclusively) for ENGL 590, 594-598, 696, 697, and any pass-fail and undergraduate courses (or equivalent transfer credits); see Restrictions on Certain Courses for details.  No more than 6 credits of 400-level G courses may be counted toward the degree.  No teacher in-service credits may be used.”

However, if you took the 6-credit summer Invitational Institute, ENGL 579 BSWP Invitational Institute, those credits are not counted in the workshop credit total.

 The research course often supports the Project in your Portfolio.

Research courses often ask you to do a research project as you learn research skills.  We advise you to pick a research project that connects to your teaching and could be used as the basis of the Project portion of your Portfolio.

Among the research course options is ENGL 577-578 TEACHER RESEARCH IN LITERACY.  Designed specifically for our grad students, this course spreads the work across a school year (1 credit in fall and 2 in spring).   This course focuses on classroom-based research that teachers can do.  It introduces teacher research traditions in areas such as ethnography, action research, reflective practice, frame experiments, quasi-experimental methods, and narrative inquiry.  Participants will be guided through the process of developing, pursuing, completing, and presenting a teacher research project.  The process of teacher research helps teachers to use student work and classroom activity as data, and to develop conscious competence about their pedagogical practices.  Teacher research also helps teachers to enter data driven discussions about educational practices and policies.  Participants will be coached across a school year through the creation, pursuit and sharing of a complete study, which is why the course will be conducted over a complete academic year.

Q & A about Courses

Q: What if I try to register for a graduate course and I get a “Conditional” registration or get blocked?

A: The computer does not always recognize that students in one program (MA in TELA) may take courses offered primarily in another program (e.g. MA in English, or in Education Literacy).  Email the instructor and explain which program you are in and why you want the course.  If there is room in the course, that usually takes care of it (unless you have missed a prerequisite course).  However, you may be trying to get into a course reserved only for students in a particular program, as are many of the courses in the English M.F.A. in creative writing.  Again, try emailing the instructor.

Q: What if I want to use a course in my degree program that is not listed on the Degree Requirements list?

A: Talk to your advisor and/or the Program Director about why you think the substitution makes sense.  If they agree, fill out a form called the “Request for Adjustment of Academic Requirements” available on the Graduate College web site, get the necessary signatures and submit the completed form to the Graduate Office.  Then the course can be counted toward your degree.

Q: What if I want to use a course that I took more than seven (7) years before my graduation?

A: This could be a problem.  The official rule is that you cannot use courses more than seven (7) years old to meet your current degree requirements.  To try to get an exception to this rule, complete the “Request for Adjustment of Academic Requirements” form available on the Graduate College web site.  Your advisor (chair), the program director, and the Graduate College dean or associate dean must be persuaded by your explanation.

Q: What if I need a course for a specific degree requirement (like a Language Study class) and I don’t see any course offerings in that area?

A: Remember to check both the English and Education Literacy offerings.  But if you continue to have trouble getting a course in an area that you need, let the Program Director know.

Course and Program Assessments

Your feedback helps us continually improve our program and do our best for you.

Student course evaluations for English Education and Ed Literacy courses should address the following goals:

(1) Course produced new knowledge, skills, and awareness

(2) Course employed perspectives from a variety of resources, including research, in order to inform the analysis of professional situations

(3) Course blends theory and research with professional application in order to guide what I might do in practical/professional settings

We will also consider carefully what you tell us during mid-point and final committee meetings, and what you say about your courses in your portfolio.  However, if at any time you wish to share a perspective on an aspect of the program or a suggestion for improvement, please speak to one of the English Education faculty members.

Application for Admission to Candidacy

This form reports to the Graduate College Office the courses that you have taken and the courses you intend to take in order to complete your degree.  It mirrors your list of coursework on your Program Check Sheet, from which you should be able to simply copy.  (Do not include courses if the grade is lower than a C or P.)  This form allows the Grad Office staff to make sure that your plans will meet university and program degree requirements and you won’t have any rude surprises at the end.  It also lets the Graduate College know how close you are getting to completion of your degree.  You are not allowed to schedule a final portfolio review or apply for graduation until this form has been turned in.  With this form and review you become a “Candidate” for graduation.

Complete and turn in the Admission to Candidacy application after you are pretty sure which courses you will take to finish up.  After you have filled out the form, submit it to your Advisor/Chair and to the Program Director for approval signatures.  Then the form must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office no later than the semester prior to the semester you expect to graduate.  You must submit the Admission to Candidacy form BEFORE you may apply for graduation.

You may find the form on the Graduate College web site under Forms.  You may type on the form and then print it, or else print a blank form and hand-print on it.

On the form, please list the requirement category, followed by the courses you took in each category.  Your form should begin something like this:


ENGL 579 Boise State Writing Project Invit.               6 cr, A, Su 10

ENGL 501 Teaching Writing.                              3 cr., B, Sp 09


ED-LTCY 547 Advanced Young Adult Literature. 3 cr., A-, F10

(And so on)

Q: What if after I turn in my Admission to Candidacy form I need to substitute a different course than one I listed?

A: As soon as possible, complete a “Request for Adjustment of Academic Requirements” form available on the Graduate College web site (under Forms), get the necessary signatures and submit the completed form to the Graduate Office.

Q: What if I took a course that my Advisor or Committee approved that is not specifically listed in the degree requirements?

A: Same answer as above: use the “Request for Adjustment of Academic Requirements” form to show that this course was approved for you.