Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of English
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The Department of English at Michigan State University (MSU) offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in literary, cultural, and film studies. Our programs seek to promote innovative approaches to the study of literature, culture, and film that cut across traditional periods and national and disciplinary boundaries. Comprised of a diverse faculty who publish in literary, cultural, visual, and ethnic studies, the Department of English fosters rigorous intellectual exchange in and out of the classroom, as well as with scholars from other universities through our Speaker Series and annual Critical Institutions Symposium. English graduate studies also allows for productive interaction with a variety of other graduate programs at MSU, including African and African American StudiesChicano/Latino Studies, and the Center for Gender in Global Context. The Department of English is the editorial home of CR: The New Centennial ReviewJournal of Popular CultureThe American Indian Studies Series, and Contagion. The Department of English considers racial and gender diversity central to a vibrant and competitive graduate program.

The graduate program in English at MSU educates students for successful careers in English Studies, particularly as active scholars in institutions of higher learning. The M.A. degree provides advanced general training in English literature, theory, and criticism. The Ph.D. enables students to cultivate areas of expertise, culminating in the doctoral dissertation. Doctoral education in English trains scholars for the breadth of knowledge necessary to the pedagogical and programmatic needs of most English departments, as well as the expertise necessary to make a significant scholarly contribution. To prepare students for the diversity of the discipline we provide them with,

  • A critical understanding of the various methods and theoretical approaches to the field, as well as thorough knowledge of literary canons and traditions;
  • Opportunities to interpret and analyze texts, genres, and media;
  • Training in research and writing for expert audiences;
  • Training in the teaching of college literature and critical thinking;
  • Training in the Digital Humanities.

The department provides graduate students with opportunities to acquire a wide range of academic experiences in order to prepare themselves for professional careers as scholars and educators in universities and colleges in the U.S. and beyond. In addition to completing the program requirements to receive a Ph.D. in English and gaining classroom experience as teaching assistants, graduate students participate in the professional life of the department by attending lectures, organizing conferences, presenting their work to peers, and attending dissertation defenses. There are a number of opportunities for students to engage in departmental activities; for example, they can serve as graduate student representatives on standing committees, such as the Policy Committee, the Speakers Committee, the Graduate Committee, and the Undergraduate Committee. There is also a graduate student representative on all faculty search committees. Students are encouraged to join graduate student associations inside and outside of the department such as the Association of English Graduate Students (AEGS), the Council of Graduate Students (COGS), the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA), and the Alliance for Graduate Education & the Professoriate (AGEP). Through such activities, students experience more fully the professional expectations of an academic career.

Our graduate students regularly present at conferences, receive grants and awards, and publish. For examples, see Graduate Student News.

In addition to completing the graduate program requirements (see Graduate Handbook), students have the option of supplementing their degree with the Graduate Certificate in College Teaching, the Graduate Certificate in the Digital Humanities, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Specialization in Women and Gender, or the Graduate Specialization in Animal Studies: Social Science and Humanities Perspectives.