Ph.D. in English

General

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Program Description

The English Graduate Program in the School of Humanities offers a Ph.D. degree, with an emphasis in literature or creative writing. It provides engaged course and workshop experiences, making for a lively and dynamic intellectual environment. Our program makes available the unique possibilities for scholarly and creative growth, offering classes and public forums on craft and criticism while proudly highlighting the advantages of literary scholars and creative writers studying alongside one another.

English (Creative Writing)

The English Ph.D. with a creative writing emphasis allows students to develop their creative writing and literary criticism, culminating in a dissertation of fiction or poetry. The distinguished faculty in the Center for Writers offers workshops in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, along with courses in craft, literary forms, and teaching creative writing. The program is also home to the Mississippi Review, a nationally recognized literary magazine. Our graduate programs pay particular attention to professional development, including scholarly and creative publishing. With its dual emphases in literature and creative writing, the English program offers students a unique hybrid experience in which emerging writers and critics study alongside one another and work with specialists in both fields, preparing students for creative, academic, and professional careers.

Admission Requirements

Successful applicants for regular admission to the Ph.D. program usually have a GPA of 3.5 in all (undergraduate and graduate) English courses and will typically have completed a BA and/or an MA in English. Application materials include GRE general test scores, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a substantial writing sample. Letters of recommendation should be from persons qualified to assess the applicant's readiness for graduate study.

Conditional admission is sometimes possible for applicants who do not meet all the criteria for regular admission. To remove conditional status, students must meet the Graduate School requirements described in the Admission Requirements and Procedures section of this Bulletin, and they must satisfy all additional requirements stipulated by the school.

Members of all underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Program Requirements and Academic Policies
  • Students must complete one research tool: either proficiency in one foreign language OR six graduate hours of coursework in an allied field of study approved by their advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator.
  • No more than 6 hours at the 500-level classes will count towards the degree.
  • Students must take ENG 690 - Practicum in the Theory and Teaching of Composition if they hold an assistantship that includes teaching as one of their duties.
  • Students must successfully complete a Doctoral Qualifying Examination.
  • Students must successfully complete a written Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam.
  • Students must write a dissertation and complete an oral defense of the dissertation (for fiction, 100 pages of fiction plus short introduction; for poetry, 60 pages of poetry plus introduction).
  • A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.
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English (Literature)

The English Ph.D. with a literature emphasis allows students to develop their literary criticism and scholarly interests, culminating in a dissertation of literary analysis. With a dedicated Graduate Faculty across all primary fields of literary studies, the program allows graduate students to either specialize in one of these fields or pursue broad preparation as a generalist. Our graduate programs pay particular attention to professional development, including scholarly and creative publishing. With its dual emphases in literature and creative writing, the English program offers students a unique hybrid experience in which emerging writers and critics study alongside one another and work with specialists in both fields, preparing students for creative, academic, and professional careers.

Admission Requirements

Successful applicants for regular admission to the Ph.D. program usually have a GPA of 3.5 in all (undergraduate and graduate) English courses and will typically have completed a B.A. and/or an M.A. in English. The Ph.D. with an emphasis in literature offers direct admission to the doctoral program from the B.A. For specific details, see program requirements below. Application materials include GRE general test scores, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a substantial writing sample. Letters of recommendation should be from persons qualified to assess the applicant's readiness for graduate study.

Conditional admission is sometimes possible for applicants who do not meet all the criteria for regular admission. To remove conditional status, students must meet the Graduate School requirements described in the Admission Requirements and Procedures section of this Bulletin, and they must satisfy all additional requirements stipulated by the school.

Members of all underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Program Requirements and Academic Policies
  • Students must complete one research tool: either proficiency in one foreign language OR six graduate hours of coursework in an allied field of study approved by their advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator.
  • 500-level classes count towards a degree only with the approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator or the Dean of the Graduate School; at least 6 hours (2 courses) must be at the 700-level.
  • Students must take ENG 690 - Practicum in the Theory and Teaching of Composition if they hold an assistantship that includes teaching as one of their duties.
  • Students must successfully complete a Doctoral Qualifying Examination in August, after the first year of study. The exam may be retaken once, in the following December. Students who fail the exam twice will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program.
  • Students must successfully complete a Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam.
  • Students must write a dissertation, a substantial project embodying the result of significant and original research on a subject chosen by the candidate and approved by the student's Doctoral Committee.
  • A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.

Study Abroad

The English program offers study abroad courses every summer through USM’s British Studies Program, a one-month, six-credit program in London, England. These courses are open to graduate students. Courses in frequent rotation include British Children’s Literature and Victorian Gothic Literature. All courses include an exciting slate of activities and site visits inside London, as well as multiple day-trips outside of London.

Career Options

  • Educator: University to Secondary School
  • Academic and University Press Publishing
  • Professional Creative Writer
  • Higher Education Administrator
  • Creative & Professional Journal Editor
  • Technical or Professional Writer
Last updated November 2019

About the School

Home to 13 schools and over 100 academic programs, the College of Arts and Sciences operates at the heart of the University’s mission to educate students, lead the state and nation in the creative art ... Read More

Home to 13 schools and over 100 academic programs, the College of Arts and Sciences operates at the heart of the University’s mission to educate students, lead the state and nation in the creative arts, and produce knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, mathematical and natural sciences, and engineering. Its faculty integrate innovative research with exceptional teaching and outreach, thereby providing paths to understanding the past, solving the problems of the present and imagining the possibilities of tomorrow. Read less
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