• Peer interaction adds a valuable dimension to graduate study
  • Students study with award-winning writers
  • Campus seminars and conferences offer rich opportunities for developing scholars
  • At MTSU, faculty members pursue a variety of scholarly interests

English M.A., Ph.D.

Pursue the M.A. and/or the Ph.D. in English with a nationally and internationally recognized faculty, whose members have published more than 90 books. The lively, dynamic program looks at texts ranging from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Study in both traditional fields (medieval literature, the Renaissance, American lit, rhetoric and composition, linguistics) and new interdisciplinary areas (popular culture, film studies, Anglophone lit, folklore, children's and adolescent literature). Students are encouraged to think and create freely within a structure that provides support from peers, guidance from faculty, resources for research, challenging goals, and rigorous standards. The relatively small size of graduate seminars allows for highly individualized attention to students. Assistantships are available, as well as awards, fellowships, and other financial support. 

English professors works on display in e-bookstore

English professors’ published works on display at an e-bookstore

Click here to see all the books of MTSU English faculty, as well as some recent alumni. Dr. Allen Hibbard, also director of MTSU’s Middle East Center, is author of two books on Paul Bowles and editor of a collection of interviews with William Burroughs. Dr. Phil Phillips’ major publications include John Milton's Epic Invocations: Converting the Muse (2000) and A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages (2012). Dr. Linda Badley has authored or co-edited books on horror fiction and film, international film traditions, and Lars von Trier. Dr. Michael Neth was co-recipient of the 2013 Richard J. Finneran Award for his work on volume three of the Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Dr. Gaylord Brewer is author of numerous books of poetry and literary criticism and his work appeared in The Best American Poetry 2006.

Scholars speak at Doctor Who conference

MTSU scholars speak at ‘Doctor Who’ 50th conference in UK

Middle Tennessee State University was the best represented school in the world at the 50th anniversary Doctor Who conference in the United Kingdom in September 2013. Dr. David Lavery, director of the English graduate program, gave the final keynote speech. Doctoral student Laura Black, M.A. candidate Stephanie Graves, and Ph.D. graduate Cynthia Burkhead (2010) all presented at the event. Lavery has lectured around the world on the subject of television and has authored or edited more than 20 books, including Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait: From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers (2013). Burkhead (Ph.D., 2010), now an English professor at the University of North Alabama, co-edited Joss Whedon: Conversations (2011) with Lavery. She also directs the annual George Lindsay Film Festival.

The graduate programs in English have enjoyed a highly successful placement record for students. The department's M.A. degree also has a national reputation for preparing students for doctoral study at prestigious programs throughout the nation. Some potential professional careers include

  • academic/university official advertising/public relations executive
  • author
  • college professor
  • content manager
  • creative writer
  • director/support staff for non-profit organizations
  • editor
  • lawyer (after law school)
  • librarian
  • manager
  • playwright
  • professional/technical writer
  • public servant
  • publisher
  • researcher
  • reviewer
  • school administrator
  • software developer
  • teacher
  • writing coach

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Alabama State University
  • Appalachian State University
  • C. S. Lewis Foundation (Oxford, England)
  • University of the Cumberlands
  • Ingram Books
  • Ingram Content Group
  • Judson College
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Lipscomb University
  • Metro-Nashville Public Schools
  • Michigan State University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • University of Montana
  • Motlow State Community College
  • University of North Alabama
  • Rutherford County Schools
  • Savannah State University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Tennessee Tech
  • Volunteer State Community College
  • Watkins College of Art and Design
  • Western Kentucky University

Master’s graduates are studying for doctorate degrees at a number of institutions including

  • Boston College
  • University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Georgia State University
  • Kent State University
  • University of Louisville
  • Southern Illinois University
  • SUNY-Albany
  • Texas Tech

Dr. Mohammed Albakry
Associate Professor,Director of Graduate Admission
mohammad.albakry@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Linda Badley
Professor
linda.badley@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Julie Barger
Assistant Professor
julie.barger@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Claudia Barnett
Professor
claudia.barnett@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Aleka Akoyunoglou Blackwell
Associate Professor
aleka.blackwell@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Patricia Bradley
Professor
pat.bradley@mtsu.edu

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Dr Will Brantley
Professor
will.brantley@mtsu.edu

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Dr. W. Robert Bray
Professor
robert.bray@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Gaylord Brewer
Professor
g.brewer@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jimmie Cain
Professor
jimmie.cain@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Elvira Casal
Professor
e.casal@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Maria A. Clayton
Associate Professor
maria.clayton@mtsu.edu

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Dr. James Nick Comas
Associate Professor
james.comas@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Ellen R. Donovan
Professor
ellen.donovan@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Laura Jo Dubek
Professor
laura.dubek@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Patricia Gaitely
Associate Professor
p.gaitely@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Angela Hague
Professor
angela.hague@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Elyce Rae Helford
Professor
elyce.helford@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Allen Hibbard
Professor
allen.hibbard@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Martha Hixson
Professor
martha.hixon@mtsu.edu

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Dr. George Wes Houp
Assistant Professor
wesley.houp@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Mark Allan Jackson
Associate Professor
mark.jackson@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Newtona Tina Johnson
Professor
nt.johnson@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Ronald Kates
Professor
ron.kates@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Amy S. Kaufman
Assistant Professor
amy.kaufman@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Becky King
Associate Professor
rebecca.king@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Justyna Kostkowska
Professor
justyna.kostkowska@mtsu.edu

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Dr. David Lavery
Professor
david.lavery@mtsu.edu

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Dr. William Levine
Professor
william.levine@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jennifer Marchant
Associate Professor
jennifer.marchant@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Pete McCluskey
Associate Professor
pete.mccluskey@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Rhonda McDaniel
Associate Professor
rhonda.mcdaniel@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Michael Neth
Professor
michael.neth@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Carl Ostrowski
Professor
carl.ostrowski@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Philip Edward Phillips
Interim Associate Dean of University Honors Coll.
philip.phillips@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Alicia Mischa Renfroe
Associate Professor
mischa.renfroe@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Ted Sherman
Professor
ted.sherman@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Allison Smith
Professor
allison.smith@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Tom Strawman
Professor, Department Chair
tom.strawman@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Laura White
Assistant Professor
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Graduate

The Department of English offers the Master of Arts (M.A.), the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and a minor at the graduate level. Both degree programs provide students with opportunities to integrate advanced training in traditional and emerging areas of English studies with teaching experience and pedagogical training.

The English M.A. degree, one of the oldest in the state, is a non-specialized program that offers advanced studies in American and British literature, popular culture and film, the English language, rhetoric and composition, and linguistics. Thesis and non-thesis options are offered.

The Ph.D. program allows for specialization in a number of areas, including American Literature; Anglophone Literature; British Literature; Children's and Young Adult Literature; Folklore; Linguistics; Literary Theory; Popular Culture and Film; and Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy.

Admissions decisions for both programs are based on the department’s judgment of the applicant’s capacity, suitability, and preparation for graduate study.

Master’s or doctoral applicants should have completed at least 30 semester hours of English at the undergraduate level. Ph.D. candidates without an M.A. will be expected to have completed at least 20 hours of graduate coursework in English.

A foreign language requirement must be met for graduation for both advanced degrees.

Undergraduate

MTSU has five undergraduate major programs in English, all leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. These include the traditional English major and concentrations in Writing, Cultural Studies, Literary Studies, and Secondary Education Teaching Licensure.

The department offers an undergraduate minor in English and coordinates four interdisciplinary minors: Film Studies, Great Books, Jewish and Holocaust Studies, and Writing.

The English Department also participates in several interdisciplinary minors including African American Studies; American Culture; Classical Studies; Early Modern European Studies; Environment and Human Society; Global Studies; Latin American Studies; Linguistics Studies; Media, History, and Culture; Medieval Studies; Middle East Studies; Native American Studies; Russian Studies; Southern Studies and Twentieth-Century European Studies.