English

http://www.english.illinois.edu

Head of the Department: Michael Rothberg
Director of Graduate Studies: Eleanor Courtemanche
210 English Building
608 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-3646
E-mail: engl_resources@ad.uiuc.edu

Major: English
Degrees Offered: M.A., Ph.D.
Graduate Concentrations: Medieval Studies (available to all degrees), Writing Studies (Ph.D. only)

Medical Scholars Program: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) through the Medical Scholars Program

Affiliated Programs offering certificates or minors:

  • Department of African American Studies
  • Asian American Studies Program
  • American Indian Studies
  • Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Gender and Women's Studies Program
  • The Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies Initiative
  • Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
  • Latina-Latino Studies Program
  • The Program in Jewish Culture and Society
  • Unit for Cinema Studies
  • Unit for Criticism and Theory

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of English offers programs of study leading to the Master of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees. We welcome qualified students who wish to pursue their interests in English, American, and Anglophone language, literature and film beyond the undergraduate level. The Ph.D. program is, in general, designed to educate and train teacher-scholars who will take positions in colleges and universities throughout the country. We consider the Master of Arts program to be the first step toward the Ph.D. degree; we expect students admitted to the M.A. program to receive the M.A. and go on to complete a Ph.D.  We therefore do not offer a formal terminal M.A. program.

Both the M.A. and Ph.D. may be earned with a specialization in Writing Studies. Also, doctoral students specializing in other fields may earn a graduate concentration in Writing Studies. 

For information on the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) program in Creative Writing, see Creative Writing.

Admission

A student who wishes to be considered for admission to graduate studies in English must present the equivalent of at least 20 semester hours of undergraduate work in English and American literature, excluding required work in rhetoric or composition. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the verbal and subject tests are required for those applying for the literature program. The GRE subject test for literature in English is not required of writing studies applicants. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Currently, a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test (213 on the computer-based test) is required. Before a teaching assistantship involving classroom instruction or student consultation can be awarded to a non-native speaker of English, the applicant must take the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and achieve a score of 50 or higher (230 or higher before 1996). Because applications for admission usually far exceed capacity, in recent years undergraduate grade point averages of students admitted have been significantly higher than the 3.0 (A = 4.0) required by the Graduate College. The committee on admissions tends to select those applicants who have a solid array of undergraduate courses, knowledge of a foreign language, strong recommendations, and a compelling writing sample: in short, an academic record that shows promise of doing outstanding work in the field and earning degrees within a reasonable time. We do not admit part-time students. Applicants are considered only in spring for fall admission, and the deadline for submitting applications is noon on December 2nd.

Medical Scholars Program

The Medical Scholars Program permits highly qualified students to integrate the study of medicine with study for a graduate degree in a second discipline, including English. Students may apply to the Medical Scholars Program prior to beginning graduate school or while in the graduate program. Applicants to the Medical Scholars Program must meet the admissions standards for and be accepted into both the doctoral graduate program and the College of Medicine.  Students in the dual degree program must meet the specific requirements for both the medical and graduate degrees. On average, students take eight years to complete both degrees.  Further information on this program is available by contacting:

Medical Scholars Program
125 Medical Sciences Building
(217) 333-8146
or at www.med.illinois.edu/msp

Graduate Teaching Experience

Experience in teaching is considered a vital part of the graduate program and all M.A. and Ph.D. candidates will have ample opportunity to teach undergraduate writing classes.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to students in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and waivers of tuition and service fees. For complete information about the program, prospective applicants should consult our website at www.english.illinois.edu/graduate/program/ or write to the above address.

Master of Arts in English

A full-time student can complete this program in two academic years. Students must choose to complete a specialization in Literature or Writing Studies.

Virtually every student will teach rhetoric classes, and is required to enroll in a teaching proseminar (ENGL 593). 4
Course work selected from list below in consultation with advisor
Language Requirement: Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language.
Total Hours32

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
At least two semesters or the equivalent in residence
Minimum Hours Overall Required Within the Unit: 24 (12 at 500-level)
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall: 16
Minimum GPA: 3.0

Course work listing for M.A. requirements for the Literature Specialization:

Eight semester-long courses in British and American Literature and Critical Theory.

Courses (worth four hours of credit each) must be taken in six of the following nine areas:

  • Medieval British Literature (beginning to 1485)
  • Renaissance British Literature (1485-1660)
  • Restoration/Eighteenth-Century British Literature (1660-1800)
  • Nineteenth-Century British Literature (1800-1900
  • Twentieth-Century British Literature (1900-2000)
  • Early American Literature (beginning to Civil War)
  • Later American Literature(Civil War to present)
  • Anglophone Literature (other than British and American)
  • Critical Theory

Candidates may substitute another area (such as film) for one on the above list with the permission of the Director of English Graduate Studies. However, all students must take at least one course in a period before 1660, and one course in either Early or Later American Literature.

At least four of the eight courses must be in 500-level graduate seminars (limited to 14-18 students). The others may (but need not) be in 400-level courses (limited to 36 students) in which graduate students complete work beyond that expected of undergraduates.

In their first year of teaching, students are required to complete a Professional Seminar in the teaching of composition or business and technical writing for four hours of credit. (ENGL 593)

The Foreign Language Requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating a reading knowledge of an appropriate foreign language in one of the following three ways:

  1. By completing the equivalent of three full years of undergraduate work
  2. By passing a proficiency exam administered by a UIUC foreign language department
  3. By passing a non-credit 501 language course with a grade of B or better

Course work listing for M.A. requirements for the Writing Specialization:

Eight semester-long courses in Writing Studies, Literature, and Theory.

Courses (worth four hours each) must be taken as follows:

At least 16 of the 32 required hours must be in 500-level courses. Eight of the 16 hours must be ENGL 505 and 1 course from the following list: ENGL 582, ENGL 583, ENGL 584. In addition, students must take two courses in Literature or Theory and four courses approved by the Writing Studies advisor.

At least four of the eight courses must be 500-level graduate seminars (limited to 14-18 students). The others may (but need not) be 400-level courses (limited to 36 students) in which graduate students complete work in addition to that expected of undergraduates.

In their first year of teaching, students are required to complete a Professional Seminar (ENGL 593) in the teaching of composition or the teaching of business and technical writing for four hours of credit.

The Foreign Language Requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating a reading knowledge of an appropriate foreign language in one of the following three ways:

  1. By completing the equivalent of three full years of undergraduate work
  2. By passing a proficiency exam administered by a University of Illinois foreign language department
  3. By passing a non-credit 501 language course with a grade of B or better.

Doctor of Philosophy in English

Students in the program who have earned their master's degrees must apply formally to the Ph.D. program. Applicants who have completed their master's degrees elsewhere may also apply. Seldom are applicants accepted with graduate grade point averages below 3.5. Students must choose to complete a specialization in Literature or Writing Studies. In addition, students may choose to complete the graduate concentration in Writing Studies.

Interdisciplinary work is encouraged. Students may take courses outside of English. The special field examination is taken as the student completes coursework and prepares to write the thesis. The student then goes on to complete and defend the thesis under the direction of a committee composed of four professors. A full-time student can complete this program in four years beyond the master's degree.

Virtually every student will teach rhetoric classes, and is required to enroll in a teaching proseminar (ENGL 593) if s/he has not taken such a class at the Master's level.
Elective hours selected from the list below in consultation with advisor, to bring total course work hours to 3232
Language Requirement: Students must demostrate knowledge of one foreign language in a level equivalent to that required of master's candidates in the English Department's program.
ENGL 599Thesis Research (32 max applied toward degree)32
Total Hours64

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
The special field examination is taken as the student completes coursework and prepares to write the thesis.
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD? Yes
Qualifying Exam Required No
Preliminary Exam Required Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required Yes
Minimum GPA: 3.0

Course work listing for Ph.D. requirements for the Literature Specialization:

  • Eight additional semester-long courses at the 400 and 500 level. These, selected in consultation with a faculty advisor, either focus on the proposed field of specialization and allied fields--in English or in other disciplines--or fill gaps in the student's background.
  • Doctoral students in literature will either take a Professional Seminar in the teaching of literature or film or act as a teaching assistant for two semesters in a large lecture course before they teach literature courses. They are expected to teach at least one literature course during their Ph.D. work.
  • The Foreign Language Requirement (if not already satisfied at the M.A. level) may be satisfied by demonstrating a reading knowledge of an appropriate foreign language in one of the following three ways: By completing the equivalent of three full years of undergraduate work; By passing a proficiency exam administered by a UIUC foreign language department; By passing a non-credit 501 language course with a grade of B or better.
  • Completion of a Special Field Examination (oral, written, or both). The exam, administered by a committee of four faculty members selected by the student, is based upon the student's approved Special Field list of primary and secondary sources, including a discussion of its rationale and relation to the proposed dissertation topic. Approved fields include historical periods, genres, film, and critical theory.
  • Completion and two-hour oral defense of a dissertation. Students working on their dissertations are eligible for fellowship support or released time from teaching. All students in good standing and making good progress will ordinarily receive at least one semester free from teaching. A few students receive a year or more of fellowship aid to work full-time on their dissertations.

Course work listing for Ph.D. requirements for the Writing Studies Specialization:

  • Eight additional semester-long courses at the 400 and 500 level. These selected in consultation with a faculty advisor, focus on the proposed field of specialization and allied fields--in English or in other disciplines--or fill gaps in the student's background and include ENGL 505 and 2 methodology courses (at least one of which is an ENGL 582; the second methodology course should be approved by the advisor and typically will be approved by the Center for Writing Studies for the methodology requirement in its Writing Studies Graduate Concentration). In addition, students must take one course in Literature or Theory. Specific courses taken at the MA level (ENGL 505 and ENGL 582) are counted as fulfilling those specific requirements at the PhD level.
  • Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. from another institution must show demonstrated reading knowledge of a foreign language.
  • Completion of a Special Field Examination (oral, written, or both). This exam, administered by a committee of four faculty members selected by the student, is based upon the student's approved special field list--which includes a discussion of its rationale and relation to the proposed dissertation topic. Lists are representative of the field of Writing Studies and include two or three concentrations within it. Approved fields include: Cognition and Composition, Computers and Composition Studies, Classical Rhetoric, Critical Theory, Discourse Processes, Gender and Writing, Literacy Studies, Technical Communication, Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing in the Disciplines, and Writing Assessment. Other combinations of fields are possible, including those that combine disciplines (e.g. African-American Studies, women's studies, and literacy).
  • Completion and two-hour oral defense of a dissertation. Students working on their dissertations are eligible for fellowship support or released time from teaching. All students in good standing and making good progress will ordinarily receive at least one semester free from teaching. A few students receive a year or more of fellowship aid to work full-time on their dissertations.