Feb 04, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 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 MA program involves coursework at the graduate level in British and American literature or in writing and rhetoric. Work toward this degree is designed to supplement and advance the student’s undergraduate study in 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 fiction, literary nonfiction, 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 traditional literary studies and writing pedagogy; and to provide the student with some practical knowledge of literary translation and literary publishing. The goal of the three-year course of studies is to prepare the student for a teaching career at the university, college, or community college level and/or for writing as a profession outside the academy; to provide the student with an international perspective on both the creation, publication, and teaching of the literary arts, specifically fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry; to encourage an appreciation of literature and writing in all its forms in a global context; and to inspire literary activism of the public intellectual and person of letters.

The PhD program is a highly specialized program designed to develop a capacity for research, original thought, and writing and to equip students for careers in the teaching of English at the college or university level and in writing, editing, and publishing. The doctoral program has two tracks. The traditional PhD focuses on literary studies, although a concentration of six credits may be earned in composition studies. Each student chooses three areas in which to specialize: (1) a chronological period, (2) a literary genre, and (3) either an additional chronological period, a major author, or a special topic approved by the student’s advisory committee. Coursework is devoted to developing a high degree of professional expertise in these areas of specialization. Such knowledge is tested in a qualifying examination and is also the basis upon which the student writes a doctoral dissertation.

Offered in partnership with the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, the PhD with Creative Dissertation Track centers on the study of British and American literature and includes coursework in English and creative writing, a qualifying examination (based on three areas of specialization, as described above), and a creative dissertation, typically a collection of poems, literary nonfiction, or short stories; a novel; or a cross genre-manuscript.

Megan Becker, Ph.D., Chair

Kelly Mays, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator

Claudia Keelan, 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