The mission of the graduate programs in English centers on the production, interpretation, and use of texts. MA students study and interpret texts; MFA students create original works of fiction, poetry, or drama; PhD students study the uses of texts in a variety of settings and conduct original research about texts.
The Master of Arts in English is a 36-hour program with options in literature and writing. We offer graduate seminars in a range of periods, genres, and movements. These courses enable students to extend their breadth of knowledge and prepare for professional careers as writers, teachers, and scholars. Students do reqired work in literary research, literary theory, and digital humanities. In a capstone project (thesis or independent study), they pursue a topic in depth.
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a 48-hour terminal degree program that includes at least 15 hours of workshops as well as courses in form and theory and new media writing. The MFA program emphasizes a broad acquaintance with the literary tradition and a mastery of new forms of writing as well as calling on students to focus on and publish in a single literary genre: fiction, poetry, or drama. The program prepares students for careers as both writers and university-level professors.
The PhD requires 60 hours of coursework (including master's level credits) plus a dissertation. It prepares graduates to be researchers. The program brings the knowledge about academic writing (from composition) and of corporate, governmental, and nonprofit writing (from technical and professional writing) to bear on public problems, such as the environment, the management of information, education, international relations, and distribution of resources. Most graduates become university or college professors.