The Department of English offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees; particular strengths of the department include early British literature, especially that of the Renaissance; American literature; literature of the African diaspora;postcolonial and transnational literary studies; digital humanities; feminist theory and gender studies; and composition and rhetoric. The Department also offers a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (See listing for Creative Writing). Most students enrolled in graduate programs in English Language and Literature seek employment in higher education, but many also seek non-academic employment in publishing, business and technical writing, administration, and personnel management. To assist with placement, the department has a Placement Director and the university has a Career Development Center.
In addition to fulfilling Graduate School requirements, applicants to the M.A. degree program should present a 3.5 GPA in English and 24 hours of upper-level English courses. Applicants to the Ph.D. degree program should present at least a 3.7 GPA and a B.A. degree, normally in English Language and Literature. All M.A. and Ph.D applicants should submit a single critical writing sample of 12-20 pages as indicated on the application guidelines. General GREs are also required. For best consideration, complete applications for all degree programs should be submitted by December 8. Applications are not accepted after December 8. The Admissions Committee will begin reviewing applications immediately. Admission is for the Fall semester only.
Type of Applicant Fall Spring
Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents with foreign credentials; International Applicants seeking admissions under A, E, G, H, I and L visas and immigrants
Deadline: December 8
Preferred: December 8
International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
Deadline: December 8
Preferred: December 8
- GRE General required
- 3 Letters of Recommendation from current or former teachers
- Unofficial list of relevant coursework
- Official transcripts from all schools attended
- A single critical writing sample (12-20 pages)
Master of Arts (M.A.)
The M.A. degree program requires 30 credit hours of graduate work distributed to assure coverage of major historical fields. The student either may take 24 hours of coursework and write a thesis for the other six hours, or may take 30 hours of coursework and do a capstone writing project. The department also offers a special M.A. with a Concentration in Composition and Rhetoric; this degree program requires 30 credit hours of graduate work, provides thesis and non-thesis options, and balances courses in literature with courses in the theory of composition and rhetoric.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The Ph.D. degree program requires a total of 36 credit hours of graduate work. PhD students must also 1) pass a qualifying examination in their areas of specialization; 2) demonstrate, through examination or coursework, evidence of reading competence in a foreign language related to their areas of specialization; and 3) complete a dissertation. Applicants to the Ph.D. program normally must have a B.A in English Language and Literature. Applicants who wish to pursue a Ph.D. but who do not have a B.A.in English Language and Literature may apply to the M.A. program. In exceptional cases the Admissions Committee may decide to admit a student with a B.A. degree other than in English Language and Literature with the requirement that the student complete extra course work as deemed necessary.
Resources for research in the College Park and Washington, D.C. area are unsurpassed. The university's libraries hold over 2,000,000 volumes. In addition to the outstanding holdings of the Library of Congress, the area also offers the specialized resources of the Folger Shakespeare Library, Dumbarton Oaks, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Center for the Study of the Visual Arts.
UMCP is a member of the Consortium of Institutions in the Washington area, which permits graduate students at College Park to enroll in courses at other universities for graduate credit at UMCP. Graduate students in English also may take courses for graduate credit at the Folger Institute of Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century Studies, which runs a series of seminars by distinguished scholars each year.
The English Department, in conjunction with the College of Arts and Humanities and the Graduate School, awards a small number of fellowships to exceptional PhD candidates. The English Department also awards teaching assistantships, the primary form of financial aid. Currently, about 8-10 teaching assistantships are available each year to incoming students.
Additional information on admission, degree requirements, and financial aid can be obtained from: