• 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 works on display in 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

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.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS  tab above.

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.

Apply Now!

English M.A. English Ph.D.


English, M.A.

Kevin Donovan, Program Director
(615) 898-2665
Kevin.Donovan@mtsu.edu

The Department of English offers the Master of Arts, the Doctor of Philosophy, and a minor at the graduate level.

Graduate study in English is primarily an engagement in the deep and intense study of literature and language, theory, and writing, undertaken for the special pleasure in knowledge and understanding of the world and its semiotic systems that such studies bring. It also provides preparation and training for careers within and without the academy.

The Master of Arts in English curriculum allows students to explore traditional areas of literary study (Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, etc.) as well as topics related to popular culture, film, gender, folklore, linguistics, and children's literature. Opportunities are also available for concentrated studies in rhetoric, pedagogy, and composition theory.

Please see the undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admissions decisions are based on the department's judgment of the applicant’s capacity, suitability, and preparation for graduate study. Admission to graduate study is not automatically guaranteed by meeting minimum admission requirements.

Applicants should have earned at least 30 semester hours of undergraduate English.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Application for Summer/Fall admission must be complete by March 1. Application for Spring admission must be complete by October 1. Those seeking teaching assistantships must apply by February 1 for the following Fall semester. All application materials, including the assistantship application, should be sent directly to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit three letters of recommendation from professors or professionals that address the applicant's potential to successfully complete an M.A. program in English;
  3. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (English subject test optional);
  4. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  5. submit a 500-word statement of purpose outlining academic interests and professional goals.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in English requires 30 hours coursework including three credit hours of thesis research or 33 hours for students choosing the portfolio option.

Candidate must

  1. successfully complete a directed portfolio (ENGL 6913) if in the non-thesis option;
  2. successfully complete and defend a thesis (ENGL 6640) if in the thesis option.

Curriculum: English

Candidate must complete 30 hours (thesis option) or 33 hours (directed portfolio option) in the one of the following emphases:

Literary Studies, choosing one of two options

M.A. with Thesis (30 hours)

Core Requirements (6 hours)

  • ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

 

  • ENGL 6350 - History of Criticism

    3 credit hours

    Examines significant critical movements in Western literature from classical times into the twenty-first century.

  • ENGL 6380 - Contemporary Critical Theory

    3 credit hours

    Covers major critical trends in literary theory since 1965, including feminist, Marxist, structuralist, and deconstructive approaches to literature. Students explore background and implications of these theories and analyze selected works of literature in light of these approaches.

Distribution Requirements (12 hours)

  • British or American literature up to 1700 3 credit hours
  • British or American literature from 1700 to 1900 3 credit hours
  • British or American literature since 1900 3 credit hours
  • Global literatures in English 3 credit hours

Electives (9 hours)

May be fulfilled by any combination of English courses. One 5000-level Foreign Language for Reading Knowledge course may be used as an elective. Students are expected to take 3 credit hours of directed reading and research (ENGL 6620) with their proposed thesis director the semester before enrolling for thesis hours.

Thesis (3 hours)

At least 3 credit hours of ENGL 6640 - Thesis Research must be completed with a grade of S, and the completed thesis must be successfully defended and accepted by the College of Graduate Studies.

M.A. with Portfolio (33 hours)

Core Requirements (6 hours)

  • ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

 

  • ENGL 6350 - History of Criticism

    3 credit hours

    Examines significant critical movements in Western literature from classical times into the twenty-first century.

  • ENGL 6380 - Contemporary Critical Theory

    3 credit hours

    Covers major critical trends in literary theory since 1965, including feminist, Marxist, structuralist, and deconstructive approaches to literature. Students explore background and implications of these theories and analyze selected works of literature in light of these approaches.

Distribution Requirements (12 hours)

  • British or American literature up to 1700 3 credit hours
  • British or American literature from 1700 to 1900 3 credit hours
  • British or American literature since 1900 3 credit hours
  • Global literatures in English 3 credit hours

Electives (12 hours)

May be fulfilled by any combination of English courses. One 5000-level Foreign Language for Reading Knowledge course may be used as an elective.

Directed Portfolio (3 hours)

Three credit hours of ENGL 6913 must be completed with a grade of S. The  portfolio is made up of three course papers revised according to the recommendations of the assigning professors into short essays appropriate for submission to relevant academic journals and an essay of at least 1,500 words addressing the choice of essays and reflecting on the process of revising them into publishable articles. Final submission of the portfolio to the English Office of Graduate Programs should include the originally assigned papers, the revised articles, the reflective essay, and a sign-off sheet for each paper signed by the assigning professor attesting the professor's satisfaction with the revisions.

Language and Writing Studies with Thesis (30 hours)

Core Requirements (6 hours)

  • ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

 

  • ENGL 6505 - History of Rhetoric: Ancient to Renaissance

    3 credit hours

    An examination of the major theorists and themes, including literary and pedagogical implications, from the ancient period to the Renaissance.

Required Courses in the Concentration (12 hours)

  • ENGL 5540 - Approaches to Teaching ESL Grammar and Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 4510/ENGL 5510. A survey of the background and basic methods needed to teach English grammar and composition to students for whom English is a second language. Emphasizes understanding the problems nonnative speakers face and developing techniques for helping nonnative speakers express themselves in written English.

 

  • ENGL 6520 - Essentials of Linguistics

    3 credit hours

    Major linguistic approaches to the study of language-dominant trends and current issues in linguistics; the phonological, morphological, and syntactic structure of the English language.

  • ENGL 6530 - Studies in Composition and Rhetoric

    3 credit hours

    An introduction to the intellectual foundations of composition studies focusing on influential theories as well as the field's intellectual and disciplinary history.

 

  • ENGL 6535 - Special Topics in Composition and Rhetoric

    3 credit hours

    Intensive examination of themes, periods, figures, and texts in composition and/or rhetoric. Subject will vary with instructor. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 6500 - Selected Topics in Literature and Language

    3 credit hours

    A specialized field of literary or linguistic inquiry, its bibliography, critical problems, and probable solutions. Topics vary with the professor assigned to the course. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

Electives (9 hours)

  • ENGL 6505 - History of Rhetoric: Ancient to Renaissance

    3 credit hours

    An examination of the major theorists and themes, including literary and pedagogical implications, from the ancient period to the Renaissance.

  • ENGL 6525 - Special Topics in the History of the English Language

    3 credit hours

    Advanced study of various aspects of the English language from its beginnings in Proto-Indo-European to the present day (writing systems, Indo-European, phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon, stylistics, semantics, etc.). Subject will vary with instructor.

  • ENGL 6550 - Writing Center Theory

    3 credit hours

    Examines the theoretical and practical components of writing center work, including collaborative, composition, learning, writing center, and postmodern theories. Open to all graduate students.

  • ENGL 6570 - Practicum in Composition Methodology

    3 credit hours

    In-depth study of how composition theory and research inform methodology. Topics covered vary according to interests of instructor and students.

  • One 5000-level Foreign Language for Reading Knowledge course 3 credit hours

Culminating Project/Thesis (3 hours)

Either a thesis ( ENGL 6640 - Thesis Research) or a culminating project in which the student revises a seminar paper into an essay appropriate for submission to relevant academic journals. The revised paper must be accompanied by a rhetorical analysis of the target journal, a process narrative discussion the student's writing process, and a reflection piece articulating what the student learned through the process.

Language and Writing Studies with Portfolio (33 hours)

Core Requirements (6 hours)

  • ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

 

  • ENGL 6505 - History of Rhetoric: Ancient to Renaissance

    3 credit hours

    An examination of the major theorists and themes, including literary and pedagogical implications, from the ancient period to the Renaissance.

Required Courses in the Concentration (12 hours)

  • ENGL 5540 - Approaches to Teaching ESL Grammar and Writing

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 4510/ENGL 5510. A survey of the background and basic methods needed to teach English grammar and composition to students for whom English is a second language. Emphasizes understanding the problems nonnative speakers face and developing techniques for helping nonnative speakers express themselves in written English.

 

  • ENGL 6520 - Essentials of Linguistics

    3 credit hours

    Major linguistic approaches to the study of language-dominant trends and current issues in linguistics; the phonological, morphological, and syntactic structure of the English language.

  • ENGL 6530 - Studies in Composition and Rhetoric

    3 credit hours

    An introduction to the intellectual foundations of composition studies focusing on influential theories as well as the field's intellectual and disciplinary history.

 

  • ENGL 6535 - Special Topics in Composition and Rhetoric

    3 credit hours

    Intensive examination of themes, periods, figures, and texts in composition and/or rhetoric. Subject will vary with instructor. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 6500 - Selected Topics in Literature and Language

    3 credit hours

    A specialized field of literary or linguistic inquiry, its bibliography, critical problems, and probable solutions. Topics vary with the professor assigned to the course. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

Electives (12 hours)

  • ENGL 6505 - History of Rhetoric: Ancient to Renaissance

    3 credit hours

    An examination of the major theorists and themes, including literary and pedagogical implications, from the ancient period to the Renaissance.

  • ENGL 6525 - Special Topics in the History of the English Language

    3 credit hours

    Advanced study of various aspects of the English language from its beginnings in Proto-Indo-European to the present day (writing systems, Indo-European, phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon, stylistics, semantics, etc.). Subject will vary with instructor.

  • ENGL 6550 - Writing Center Theory

    3 credit hours

    Examines the theoretical and practical components of writing center work, including collaborative, composition, learning, writing center, and postmodern theories. Open to all graduate students.

  • ENGL 6570 - Practicum in Composition Methodology

    3 credit hours

    In-depth study of how composition theory and research inform methodology. Topics covered vary according to interests of instructor and students.

  • One 5000-level Foreign Language for Reading Knowledge course 3 credit hours

Directed Portfolio (3 hours)

Three credit hours of ENGL 6913 must be completed with a grade of S. The  portfolio is made up of three course papers revised according to the recommendations of the assigning professors into short essays appropriate for submission to relevant academic journals and an essay of at least 1,500 words addressing the choice of essays and reflecting on the process of revising them into publishable articles. Final submission of the portfolio to the English Office of Graduate Programs should include the originally assigned papers, the revised articles, the reflective essay, and a sign-off sheet for each paper signed by the assigning professor attesting the professor's satisfaction with the revisions.

Teaching Writing and Literature with Thesis (30 hours)

Core Requirements (6 hours)

  • ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

 

  • ENGL 6350 - History of Criticism

    3 credit hours

    Examines significant critical movements in Western literature from classical times into the twenty-first century.

  • ENGL 6380 - Contemporary Critical Theory

    3 credit hours

    Covers major critical trends in literary theory since 1965, including feminist, Marxist, structuralist, and deconstructive approaches to literature. Students explore background and implications of these theories and analyze selected works of literature in light of these approaches.

Required Courses in the Concentration (12 hours)

  • ENGL 6520 - Essentials of Linguistics

    3 credit hours

    Major linguistic approaches to the study of language-dominant trends and current issues in linguistics; the phonological, morphological, and syntactic structure of the English language.

 

  • ENGL 6505 - History of Rhetoric: Ancient to Renaissance

    3 credit hours

    An examination of the major theorists and themes, including literary and pedagogical implications, from the ancient period to the Renaissance.

Electives (9 hours)

From any 6000-level English classes or one 5000-level English class. One 5000-level Foreign Language for Reading Knowledge course may be used as an elective.

Capstone Project/Thesis (3 hours)

At least 3 credit hours of ENGL 6640 must be completed with a grade of S, and the completed thesis must be successfully defended and accepted by the College of Graduate Studies. The thesis may be a conventional academic investigation or it may be a hybrid pedagogical project involving classroom research/inquiry supported by scholarly research.

Teaching Writing and Literature with Portfolio (33 hours)

Core Requirements (6 hours)

  • ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

 

  • ENGL 6350 - History of Criticism

    3 credit hours

    Examines significant critical movements in Western literature from classical times into the twenty-first century.

  • ENGL 6380 - Contemporary Critical Theory

    3 credit hours

    Covers major critical trends in literary theory since 1965, including feminist, Marxist, structuralist, and deconstructive approaches to literature. Students explore background and implications of these theories and analyze selected works of literature in light of these approaches.

Required Courses in the Concentration (12 hours)

  • ENGL 6520 - Essentials of Linguistics

    3 credit hours

    Major linguistic approaches to the study of language-dominant trends and current issues in linguistics; the phonological, morphological, and syntactic structure of the English language.

 

  • ENGL 6505 - History of Rhetoric: Ancient to Renaissance

    3 credit hours

    An examination of the major theorists and themes, including literary and pedagogical implications, from the ancient period to the Renaissance.

Electives (12 hours)

From any 6000-level English classes or one 5000-level English class. One 5000-level Foreign Language for Reading Knowledge course may be used as an elective.

Directed Portfolio (3 hours)

Three credit hours of ENGL 6913 must be completed with a grade of S. The  portfolio is made up of three course papers revised according to the recommendations of the assigning professors into short essays appropriate for submission to relevant academic journals and an essay of at least 1,500 words addressing the choice of essays and reflecting on the process of revising them into publishable articles. Final submission of the portfolio to the English Office of Graduate Programs should include the originally assigned papers, the revised articles, the reflective essay, and a sign-off sheet for each paper signed by the assigning professor attesting the professor's satisfaction with the revisions.

Popular Culture/Culture Studies (30 hours)

Core Requirements (6 hours)

  • ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

 

  • ENGL 6350 - History of Criticism

    3 credit hours

    Examines significant critical movements in Western literature from classical times into the twenty-first century.

  • ENGL 6380 - Contemporary Critical Theory

    3 credit hours

    Covers major critical trends in literary theory since 1965, including feminist, Marxist, structuralist, and deconstructive approaches to literature. Students explore background and implications of these theories and analyze selected works of literature in light of these approaches.

Required Courses in the Concentration (12 hours)

  • ENGL 6305 - Special Topics in Children's and Adolescent Literature

    3 credit hours

    Selected genre, period, ethnicity, tradition, or literary focus on children's and/or young adult literature. Subject will vary with instructor. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 6310 - Popular Culture Studies

    3 credit hours

    Major trends and significant debates in the development of popular culture theory and criticism.

  • ENGL 6320 - Postcolonial Literature and Theory

    3 credit hours

    Introduces postcolonial studies through an exploration of seminal literary and critical writings in the field. Primary focus on the critical thought and discursive practices that define postcolonial discourse and their application to literature that engages issues of colonialism, its aftermath, and other forms of imperialism.

  • ENGL 6650 - Special Topics in Popular Culture Studies

    3 credit hours

    A theme, genre, period, text, or artist in one or more popular cultural media. Subject will vary each time the course is taught. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 6390 - Reading Postmodernism

    3 credit hours

    Theoretical discourse which works to define the cultural mindset known as postmodernism. Theories examined will be applied to examples of postmodern literature, film, and/or television. Topics emphasized include the instability of social and cultural categories, the dissolving boundaries between high and low culture and art, and the subversion of realist narrative strategies.

  • ENGL 6470 - Studies in Narratology

    3 credit hours

    Examines modern and contemporary theories of narrative (modernist, rhetorical, structuralist, dialogical) with particular application to selected authors and texts.

  • ENGL 6700 - Studies in Folklore

    3 credit hours

    Study of folklore with focus on the history of the discipline.

  • ENGL 6710 - Special Topics in Folklore

    3 credit hours

    Selected area of folklore: folk narrative, folklore and literature, folk song, folk religion, proverb, or folklore of a particular group. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 6750 - Film Studies  3 credit hours  

    ENGL 6750 - Film Studies

    3 credit hours

    Covers such topics as the film text, adaptation, narratology, genres, ideology, authorship, theory, history, schools, movements, national cinemas, and film audiences.

  • ENGL 6760 - Special Topics in Film Studies

    3 credit hours

    Examines a theme, genre, director, period, school or movement, national cinema, etc. Subject will vary each time course is taught. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • WGST 6000 - Feminist Theory  3 credit hours  

    WGST 6000 - Feminist Theory

    3 credit hours

    Study of selected theorists with a focus on the way women’s voices contribute to the social, political, and ideological discourses addressing fundamental issues in sex and gender reflected in culture across time; how the contributions of feminist theory interact with ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic class and shape personal experience.

Electives (9 hours)

From any 6000-level English classes or one 5000-level English class. One 5000-level Foreign Language for Reading Knowledge course may be used as an elective.

Thesis (3 hours)

At least 3 credit hours of ENGL 6640 - Thesis Research must be completed with a grade of S, and the completed thesis must be successfully defended and accepted by the College of Graduate Studies.

Open Degree Plan (30-33 hours)

M.A. with Thesis (30 hours)

Students choosing this option take 30 hours of coursework including ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research. At least 3 credit hours of ENGL 6640 - Thesis Research must be completed with a grade of S, and the completed thesis must be successfully defended and accepted by the College of Graduate Studies.

M.A. with Portfolio (33 hours)

Students taking this option take 30 hours of coursework including ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research plus a minimum of 3 hours of ENGL 6913 - Directed Portfolio, completed with a grade of S. The portfolio is made up of three course papers revised according to the recommendations of the assigning professors into short essays appropriate for submission to relevant academic journals and an essay of at least 1,500 words addressing the choice of essays and reflecting on the process of revising them into publishable articles. Final submission of the portfolio to the English Office of Graduate Programs should include the originally assigned papers, the revised articles, the reflective essay, and a sign-off sheet for each paper signed by the assigning professor attesting the professor's satisfaction with the revisions.

Graduate Assistant Requirements

Graduate teaching assistants are required to take ENGL 6560 - Seminar in Teaching Composition in their first year of the program.

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which the student intends to graduate.


English, Ph.D.

Kevin Donovan, Program Director
(615) 898-2665
Kevin.Donovan@mtsu.edu

The  Department of English offers the Master of Arts, the Doctor of Philosophy, and a minor at the graduate level.

Graduate study in English is primarily an engagement in the deep and intense study of literature and language, theory, and writing, undertaken for the special pleasure in knowledge and understanding of the world and its semiotic systems that such studies bring. It also provides preparation and training for careers within and without the academy.

The Ph.D. in English offers a generalist program that 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. Courses are designed as seminars, and graduate students may expect highly individualized attention from the graduate faculty.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admissions decisions are based on the department's judgment of the applicant's capacity, suitability, and preparation for graduate study.  Admission to graduate study is not automatically guaranteed by meeting minimum admission requirements.

Candidates will be expected to have completed at least 30 semester hours of English at the undergraduate level. Applicants without an M.A. will be expected to have completed at least 20 hours of graduate coursework in English.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Application for Summer/Fall admission must be complete by March 1. Application for Spring admission must be complete by October 1. Those seeking teaching assistantships must apply by February 1 for the following Fall semester. All application materials, including the assistantship application, should be sent directly to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit three letters of recommendation from professors or professionals that address the applicant's potential to successfully complete a Ph.D. program in English;
  3. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (English subject test optional);
  4. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  5. submit a 500-word statement of purpose outlining academic interests and professional goals.

Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in English requires 60 hours.

Candidate must

  1. demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language. (Committees may require more than one language.) The language requirement must be fulfilled in one of the following ways:
    1. completing two 3-hour foreign language courses of 3000- or 4000-level work emphasizing reading, translation, or composition;
    2. earning a final grade of A or B in a foreign language course numbered 5990 or in SPAN 5920;
    3. passing a reading examination administered by the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department;
    4. earning a final grade of B or better in both ENGL 7010 - Old English Language and Literature and ENGL 7020 - Beowulf, which must be taken sequentially; or
    5. meeting this requirement at the M.A. level.
  2. successfully complete a qualifying exam, comprehensive in scope, before the completion of two semesters of coursework above the M.A. level (12 hours of 7000-level work). Ph.D. students must pass this exam in order to proceed in their program. (The examination may be taken no more than twice.)
  3. upon the completion of coursework, successfully complete two written Ph.D. exams in chosen concentrations from among the following areas: Old and Middle English Literature; Early Modern British Literature (1500-Milton); Restoration and 18th Century British Literature; Long 19th Century British Literature (1770-1900): 20th Century and Contemporary British Literature; Early American Literature (through 1900); 20th Century and Contemporary American Literature; Anglophone Literature; Children's and Young Adult Literature; Composition and Rhetoric; Popular Culture and Film; Criticism and Critical Theory; Folklore; and Linguistics. An oral exam will be given upon the successful completion of each written exam.
  4. complete a dissertation (12 hours minimum) and oral dissertation defense.

Curriculum: English

All Ph.D. candidates must complete the following course of study:

Core Courses (6 hours)

 

  • ENGL 6660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

  • ENGL 7660 - Introduction to Graduate Study: Bibliography and Research

    3 credit hours

    Literary scholarship: its nature and scope; traditional and modern methods; the definition and solution of research problems; the production of literary scholarship. Required of all master's students enrolling in English.

 

  • ENGL 7350 - History of Criticism

    3 credit hours

    Examines significant critical movements in Western literature from classical times into the twenty-first century.

  • ENGL 7380 - Contemporary Critical Theory

    3 credit hours

    Covers major critical trends in literary theory since 1965, including feminist, Marxist, structuralist, and deconstructive approaches to literature. Students explore background and implications of these theories and analyze selected works of literature in light of these approaches.

Two courses from each of the following groups (18 hours)

 

British Literature through the Renaissance

 

  • ENGL 7010 - Old English Language and Literature

    3 credit hours

    Introduction to Old English language (grammar, phonology, syntax, and vocabulary) and literature (poetry and prose) and to the historical and cultural background of the Anglo-Saxon period.

  • ENGL 7020 - Beowulf  3 credit hours  

    ENGL 7020 - Beowulf

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: ENGL 7010. Intensive line-by-line study of Beowulf in Old English, with special emphasis on its sources and analogues, significant criticism, and current dating studies of the poem.

  • ENGL 7030 - Chaucer Seminar  3 credit hours  

    ENGL 7030 - Chaucer Seminar

    3 credit hours

    Close study of Chaucer's major and minor works in Middle English, with attention to Chaucer's historical and cultural context (including his sources) and to significant scholarly criticism.

  • ENGL 7040 - Medieval English Literature

    3 credit hours

    A study of Middle English literary types (in poetry, prose, and drama) and of the major authors and texts of the Middle English period. Includes study of Middle English dialects.

  • ENGL 7110 - Spenser Seminar  3 credit hours  

    ENGL 7110 - Spenser Seminar

    3 credit hours

    Seeks to develop an understanding of individual works in Edmund Spenser's oeuvre and some sense of their place in the larger cultural systems of the sixteenth century. Philosophical meditations, pastoral eclogues, shorter poems are engaged fully to consider Spenser's range and engagement with lyric forms, as well as complete study of his major works, The Faerie Queene.

  • ENGL 7120 - Studies in Sixteenth-Century English Prose and Poetry

    3 credit hours

    Considers works of prose, fiction, romance, and poetry of the sixteenth-century to investigate changing vocabularies, genres, and literary practices that emerge in the Renaissance in response to various cultural, social, and historical pressures.

  • ENGL 7130 - Studies in Seventeenth-Century English Prose and Poetry

    3 credit hours

    Selected nondramatic literature of the century, with primary emphasis on the seventeenth century before the Restoration. Included are Donne, Herbert, and the metaphysical poets and Jonson and the Cavalier poets.

  • ENGL 7140 - Studies in Milton

    3 credit hours

    The major poetry of John Milton, including "Lycidas," Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes, and Paradise Regained.

  • ENGL 7150 - Studies in Shakespeare

    3 credit hours

    Advanced study of Shakespeare's poems and plays, emphasizing poetic and dramatic techniques in his works and critical reaction to those works.

 

Other courses when appropriate:

  • ENGL 7230 - Major British Writers

    3 credit hours

    An in-depth study of one, two, or three British writers. Course varies according to interests of instructor and students. May be taken for multiple credit up to 6 hours.

  • ENGL 7455 - Special Topics in Women's Literature

    3 credit hours

    Study of selected women authors with a focus on the way women’s voices contribute to literary discourse. Subject will vary with instructor. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 7500 - Selected Topics in Literature and Language

    3 credit hours

    A specialized field of literary or linguistic inquiry, its bibliography, critical problems, and probable solutions. Topics vary with the professor assigned to the course. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 7620 - Directed Reading and Research

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of the director of graduate studies. Individually supervised reading and research either in a historical period of English or American literature or in a major literary genre. Students may take no more than three directed reading courses.

British Literature since the Renaissance

 

  • ENGL 7200 - Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature

    3 credit hours

    Designed to give students a definite critical knowledge of the major literary works of Restoration and eighteenth-century England, 1660-1800. Course may focus on either drama, poetry, or prose or a combination.

  • ENGL 7210 - Studies in English Romanticism: Wordsworth and Coleridge

    3 credit hours

    Covers the major lyrical and narrative poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge as well as select prose, e.g., Wordsworth's Preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads and Coleridge's Biogaphia Literaria.

  • ENGL 7220 - Studies in English Romanticism: Shelley, Byron, and Keats

    3 credit hours

    Covers the major lyrical, narrative, and dramatic poetry of the three principal younger generation Romantics as well as select prose, e.g., Shelley's A Defence of Poetry and Keats's letters.

  • ENGL 7270 - Studies in Victorian Literature

    3 credit hours

    Intellectual backgrounds of the Victorian period; major prose writers: Macaulay, Carlyle, Newman, Mill, Ruskin, Arnold, Pater; major poets: Tennyson, Browning, Arnold.

  • ENGL 7290 - Modern British Literature

    3 credit hours

    Intellectual backgrounds of modern British literature; major novelists: Forster, Woolf, Joyce, Lawrence; major poets: Yeats, Eliot, Auden, Thomas; selected minor writers.

 

Other courses when appropriate:

  • ENGL 7230 - Major British Writers

    3 credit hours

    An in-depth study of one, two, or three British writers. Course varies according to interests of instructor and students. May be taken for multiple credit up to 6 hours.

  • ENGL 7455 - Special Topics in Women's Literature

    3 credit hours

    Study of selected women authors with a focus on the way women’s voices contribute to literary discourse. Subject will vary with instructor. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 7490 - Studies in the Novel

    3 credit hours

    The novel as a literary genre may be approached from a variety of perspectives, including generic, historical, theoretical, or single-author approaches. Course varies according to interests of instructor and students.

  • ENGL 7500 - Selected Topics in Literature and Language

    3 credit hours

    A specialized field of literary or linguistic inquiry, its bibliography, critical problems, and probable solutions. Topics vary with the professor assigned to the course. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 7620 - Directed Reading and Research

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of the director of graduate studies. Individually supervised reading and research either in a historical period of English or American literature or in a major literary genre. Students may take no more than three directed reading courses.

American Literature

 

  • ENGL 7340 - African American Literature

    3 credit hours

    An in-depth study of the African American literary tradition with emphasis on significant authors, genres, texts, and contexts.

  • ENGL 7360 - Studies in Southern Literature

    3 credit hours

    Themes, theories, movements, and types of literature produced in the American South with particular emphasis on selected authors and texts.

  • ENGL 7400 - American Literature to 1800

    3 credit hours

    Surveys literature associated with the discovery and colonization of America from the first recorded European encounters with the New World until just after the founding of the United States. The readings represent a rich variety of genres (reports, letters, poetry, histories, journals/diaries, autobiographies, sermons, novels, slave/captivity narratives, trickster tales, drama, etc.) in accordance with the broad definition of literature characteristic of the period.

  • ENGL 7410 - Studies in American Literature: 1800-1860

    3 credit hours

    Surveys literature associated with the Romantic period in American literary history, from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the 1860's.  Writing across a variety of genres including essays, short stories, poetry, novels, and slave narratives. Authors of this era answered the calls that had been made since the nation was founded for an artistically sophisticated and distinctive national literature.

  • ENGL 7420 - Studies in American Literature: 1860-1910

    3 credit hours

    Covers the development of American literature from roughly the Civil War to World War I, including the rise of realism, naturalism, regionalism, and local color. Considers historical and cultural contexts.

  • ENGL 7430 - Studies in American Literature: 1910-1950

    3 credit hours

    Covers the rise of American modernism, including experiments in fiction, drama, and verse; considers the phenomenon of expatriation, the radical visions of the depression decade, and the literary experience of the two world wars.

  • ENGL 7480 - Studies in Contemporary Literature

    3 credit hours

    Intellectual backgrounds of contemporary literature; significant developments in fiction, nonfictional prose, poetry, and drama.

 

Other courses when appropriate:

  • ENGL 7330 - Major American Writers

    3 credit hours

    An in-depth study of one, two, or three American writers. Course varies according to interests of instructor and students. May be taken for multiple credit up to 6 hours.

  • ENGL 7455 - Special Topics in Women's Literature

    3 credit hours

    Study of selected women authors with a focus on the way women’s voices contribute to literary discourse. Subject will vary with instructor. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 7490 - Studies in the Novel

    3 credit hours

    The novel as a literary genre may be approached from a variety of perspectives, including generic, historical, theoretical, or single-author approaches. Course varies according to interests of instructor and students.

  • ENGL 7500 - Selected Topics in Literature and Language

    3 credit hours

    A specialized field of literary or linguistic inquiry, its bibliography, critical problems, and probable solutions. Topics vary with the professor assigned to the course. May be taken for multiple credit up to 9 hours.

  • ENGL 7620 - Directed Reading and Research

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of the director of graduate studies. Individually supervised reading and research either in a historical period of English or American literature or in a major literary genre. Students may take no more than three directed reading courses.

Electives (24 hours)

Chosen from the above courses or any other English graduate courses to complete the required number of hours.

Cognate Option (6-9 hours)

The cognate option in the Ph.D. degree plan allows doctoral students to take graduate-level courses (6000 and 7000 level) in other disciplines related to their areas of concentration or professional goals that would apply as electives toward the degree in English. The cognate option is limited to a minimum of six (6) hours and a maximum of nine (9) hours. Courses taken in other departments beyond the nine hours for the cognate may not apply toward the Ph.D. in English, even as elective hours. Likewise courses taken outside the department by students who have not declared a cognate or received permission of the graduate advisor or program director will not count as credits toward the degree. 

Dissertation (12 hours)

 

  • ENGL 7640 - Dissertation Research  1 to 6 credit hours  (12 hours minimum)

    ENGL 7640 - Dissertation Research

    1 to 6 credit hours

    Selection of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, collection and analysis of data, and composition of dissertation. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of doctoral research each semester until completion. S/U grading.

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file an approved Advancement to Candidacy form listing the members of the candidate's doctoral committee with the Graduate Office upon successful completion of the written and oral preliminary examination;
  3. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which the student intends to graduate.

Contact and Student Information

Dr. Kevin Donovan
Kevin.Donovan@mtsu.edu
615-898-2665

Dr. Kevin Donovan
Kevin.Donovan@mtsu.edu
615-898-2665

Department of English
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 70
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132


College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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