Jul 19, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 


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 coursework at the graduate level in English and American literature or in language/composition studies. Work toward this degree is designed to supplement and advance the student’s undergraduate study in the field of English and to familiarize the student with professional standards, research methods, and modes of thought in the discipline. Possession of this degree typically leads to professional advancement for the secondary school or community college teacher; to careers in writing, editing, and publishing; or to further study in English at the doctoral level.

The MFA 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 MFA 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 development of skills in research, original thought, and academic writing. The doctoral program is primarily devoted to literary studies, although a concentration of six credits may be earned in composition studies. Upon admission a student chooses, with the approval of his or her advisor, three areas in which to specialize: (1) a chronological period, (2) a literary genre, and (3) a major author from outside the chosen chronological period, an additional chronological period, or a special topic. All course work is then dedicated to acquiring knowledge and a high degree of professional competence in the three chosen areas of specialization. Such knowledge is tested in a qualifying examination, the successful completion of which allows the student to advance to the writing and defense of the doctoral dissertation.

The department 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. 

Gary Totten, Ph.D., Chair
Kelly Mays, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator

Program Information 

English Faculty   

English Courses   

Department Website


Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing  

Master of Arts - English   

Doctor of Philosophy - English