University's English Department offers two degree programs in advanced literary study, an M.A. and a Ph.D. Candidates for a literature degree have the opportunity to study with accomplished specialists in a diverse array of literary periods and genres. The coursework is conducted in small seminars, ensuring a high level of interaction between graduate students and faculty. The deliberately small size and friendly atmosphere of the program allow for considerable interaction and camaraderie among graduate students themselves, creating a close, supportive community for the development of each candidate's strengths.
M.A. candidates are expected to complete two years of study and write either an extended essay or a thesis in their chosen area. The M.A. student's essay or thesis often grows out of his or her coursework. The essay or thesis is completed under supervision of a faculty member who specializes in the student's chosen area.
Doctoral candidates take literature seminars both in and out of their areas of specialization, as well as courses in theory, language, pedagogy, and rhetoric and composition. After completion of all course work, candidates take comprehensive exams both in their dissertation area and in an area of literary tradition connected to the dissertation area. The dissertation project itself culminates with a public oral defense.
- Marilyn Atlas, Associate Professor: American, women's studies.
- Thom Dancer, Assistant Professor: Twentieth-century British Literature.
- Marsha L. Dutton, Professor: Medieval England, Cistercian writing.
- Andrew Escobedo, Associate Professor: 16th & 17th century British.
- Loreen Giese, Professor: Shakespeare, Renaissance drama.
- George Hartley, Associate Professor: 20th-century poetry.
- Ayesha Hardison, Assistant Professor: 20th century African American Literature, critical race theory, gender and sexuality studies.
- Janis Butler Holm, Associate Professor: Renaissance, bibliography, women's studies.
- Mary Kate Hurley, Assistant Professor: Medieval Literature.
- Jill Ingram, Associate Professor: Renaissance.
- Paul Jones, Professor: American Literature
- Katarzyna Marciniak, Professor: Transnational literature, feminist theory, film studies.
- Joseph McLaughlin, Associate Professor: 19th-century British literature and postcolonialism.
- Robert Miklitsch, Professor: Critical theory, cultural studies.
- Ghirmai Negash, Professor: African Literature and Critical Theory.
- Beth Quitslund, Associate Professor: English Renaissance and Reformation.
- Nicole Reynolds, Associate Professor: British Romantic Literature and Culture, Feminist Literature and Theory
- Thomas Scanlan, Associate Professor: Early American, Director of Undergraduate Studies.
- Amritjit Singh, Professor: African-American Literature.
- Carey Snyder, Associate Professor: British and American Modernism, 20th Century, Victorian Literature
- Jeremy Webster, Associate Professor: Restoration and 18th-century, drama, GLBT literature.
- Linda Zionkowski, Professor: Restoration and 18th-century, Graduate Director.
Graduate seminars range widely across periods, genres, and approaches to literary and cultural studies. Standard periods are covered (American Literature to the Civil War, for example), as well as thematic and special topics courses. A sample of courses from the 2012 - 2013 academic year include:
- Old English Poetry, Marsha Dutton
- Early Modern British Literature: Shakespearean Action, Andrew Escobedo
- The Gift and the Market in Eighteenth-Century Literature, Linda Zionkowski
- The Problem of Sympathy in 19th-Century American Literary Studies, Paul Jones
- 20th-Century British Literature: New Woman Fiction, Carey Snyder
- Modern American Literature, Marilyn Atlas
- A Chronological and Conceptual Mapping of the African Novel, Ghirmai Negash
- Transnational Narratives: Literature, Cinema, Theory, Katarzyna Marciniak
- Bibliography and Methods, Janis Butler Holm
If you would like to view the current course catalog, please go here: Current Course Catalog
In addition to the general PhD requirements, doctoral students in Literature take two literary history seminars in the period of specialization, two literary history seminars in periods other than their period of specialization, and one additional literary history seminar in whichever period they choose. They also take Critical Theory I or II, and two courses total in Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Composition, or a combination of the two.
In addition to the general MA requirements, masters students in literature take one seminar covering literature before 1640, one in British or American literature from 1640-1830, one in British or American literature from 1830-present, and one in multi-ethnic / cross cultural literature. They also take two additional masters level courses or one additional course and the thesis option.