Letter to Prospective Students

2019/20 Academic Year

Dear Prospective Graduate Student:

Welcome to our Community of Scholars! Please use this website to learn more about the opportunities and resources that are making UConn such an ideal place for graduate study in English.

We are proud to be among the nation’s highest-ranking doctoral programs and to be the top public doctoral program in the Northeast, according to the National Research Council rankings.

Admission into our program is highly competitive, but all English graduate students are fully funded, teaching one section of Freshman English or literature each semester.  With complete tuition remission and excellent health benefits, our students earn attractive stipends. As of 2019, entering MA and MA/PhD students earn $23,836.61, while PhD students start at $25,081.68, but can increase their salaries up to $27,885.78.  We make every attempt to allow our PhD students to teach two sections of literature or advanced composition prior to degree completion, contingent upon their qualifications, good standing, advisor’s permission, and past performance of professional responsibilities.  Over the past 5 years, students have taught surveys of World, British, and American literature, major author courses such as Chaucer and Shakespeare, and numerous other upper-level courses in their fields of specialization.

Our program is unique in its efforts to help graduate students meet the demands made on them by an increasingly competitive academic job market.  All MA and MA/PhD students take two professional seminars in their first semester: a 3-credit course on pedagogical theory, and a 1-credit practicum on research methods.  MA/PhD and PhD students take a 3-credit practicum on professional skills, such as publishing, attending conferences, and grant writing.  PhD students on the job market participate in workshops and receive training in cover letter/CV writing, interviewing, and giving job talks.  This commitment to our students’ professional development explains why we are able to place most of our PhDs in tenure-track jobs, despite a national market in which only 1 in 3 candidates obtain such jobs.  Our recent placement record testifies to our success.

Our department features a graduate faculty of more than 50 distinguished full-time members, whose books, articles, and reputations help make UConn one of the top public research institutions in the nation.  The department boasts considerable strengths in a variety of research areas–such as early modern British literature, early and later American literature, Irish literature, children’s literature, and ethnic literature–and also prides itself on its coverage of nearly all major areas of study, including world literature, literary theory, and rhetoric and composition.  As diverse as these specializations are the research methodologies that faculty and graduate students employ–from archival and textual research, to political and gender theory, to historicism and cultural studies.  All members of our research community benefit from our affiliations with programs such as Medieval Studies and American Studies.  The University of Connecticut Homer Babbidge Library has the largest public research collection in the state.  The collection includes books, print and electronic periodicals, microfilm, maps, sound and video recordings, musical scores, and an ever growing array of electronic resources, including ebooks, streaming audio and video collections, as well as art and photographic image databases.

We are housed in the Austin building on the dynamic main campus in Storrs, nestled among the lovely hills and woods of northeastern Connecticut.  An additional benefit of our location is our proximity to so many wonderful places: we are just over an hour from Boston, Northampton, and Providence, half an hour from Hartford, and about 2 hours from NYC. Members of our community benefit from the high quality of life that comes with living in an affordable suburban area located among several of America’s greatest cities.

Studying and teaching at the University of Connecticut is a deeply enriching experience, and we hope you will consider becoming a member of our scholarly community. To learn more about us, please explore the site, and feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss any aspect of our program.  For your convenience, here is more information about submitting an application.

I wish you the best of luck in your studies!


Victoria F. Smith
Director of Graduate Studies