The Department of English offers programs of study leading to the Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The M.A. program involves course work at the graduate level in English and American literature or in language studies. Work toward this degree is designed to supplement and complete the student’s undergraduate study in the field of English and to familiarize the student with professional standards, methods of research, and modes of thought in the discipline. Possession of this degree normally leads to professional advancement for the secondary school or community college teacher; to a career in writing, publishing and editing; or to further study in English at the doctoral level.
The M.F.A. program is designed to be a three-year, intensive studio arts terminal degree with a strong international emphasis and requires the writing of a book-length creative thesis in either fiction or poetry. The objectives of the M.F.A. degree are to enable the student to master the craft of writing in the chosen genre to a publishable level; to train the student in both traditional literary topics and writing pedagogy to the end of a teaching career at the college or university level; and to provide the student with an international perspective on both the creation and publication of fiction or poetry and on the teaching and appreciation of literature.
The Ph.D. program is a highly specialized program designed to train a student for a career in teaching at the college or university level through the acquisition of skills in research, original thought, and academic writing. The doctoral program is focused on literary study although a concentration of six credits may be earned in composition studies. At the time of admission the student chooses, with the approval of her or his advisor, three areas in which to specialize: (1) a chronological period, (2) a literary genre, and (3), an additional chronological period, a major author chosen from outside the selected chronological period, or a special topic. All subsequent course work is devoted to developing a high degree of professional competence and knowledge in the three chosen areas of specialization. Such knowledge is tested in a qualifying examination and is also the basis upon which the student writes a doctoral dissertation.
The department, in conjunction with the International Institute of Modern Letters, also offers a program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English with a Creative Dissertation. This program centers on the study of English and American literature and is designed to train a student for a career in the teaching of English at the college or university level, as well as for a career in writing, editing, and publishing. The program of study includes course work in English and Creative Writing, a Qualifying Examination, and a Creative Dissertation. Differences in admission requirements and degree requirements between the two Ph.D. programs are indicated below. Additional details for the admission requirements and the degree requirements for each degree can be found on the English Department website.
Richard L. Harp, Ph.D., Chair
Darlene H. Unrue, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator
Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
Master of Arts - English
Doctor of Philosophy - English