Dear prospective student:
Welcome! This page is designed an overview of UConn’s graduate programs in English for prospective students.
Our English Department is home to more than 50 full-time graduate faculty members, whose books, articles, scholarly reputations, and engaged teaching help make UConn one of the top public research institutions in the nation. We pride ourselves on our coverage of nearly all major areas of study and invite prospective students to get acquainted with the rich array of research areas our faculty represent, including British literature, American literature, multiethnic literature, world literature, rhetoric and composition, children’s literature, creative writing, and Irish literature. Our faculty approach their work as archivists and cultural studies scholars, as literary theorists and creative writers, using methodologies from areas as diverse as disability studies, gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial theory, and childhood studies. This intellectual diversity is matched by the work of our graduate students. You can browse their recent work through their dissertations in literary studies and creative writing, listed here.
All members of our research community benefit from our affiliations with programs such as American Studies, Digital Humanities and Media Studies, Africana Studies, Asian and Asian American Studies, the Human Rights Institute, Medieval Studies, First-Year Writing, the Aetna Chair of Writing, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Our faculty and graduate students are also actively engaged with UConn’s Humanities Institute, which offers competitive internal fellowships for graduate students completing their dissertation work.
The English Department offers three graduate programs: a discrete MA program, an MA/PhD program, and a PhD program. Full-time students in all three programs receive tuition waivers, medical insurance, and a living stipend. (That stipend, for the 2019–20 academic year, was $23,836 for MA and MA/PhD students and $25,081 for PhD students.) This funding is supported by guaranteed teaching assistantships, through which our graduate students gain valuable classroom experience in our innovative First-Year Writing Program, which is dedicated to writing across technology, collaborative learning, and small class sizes. You can read more about that program here. MA/PhD and PhD students are also guaranteed one semester in which they teach two courses that speak to their professional interests, such as genre courses, literature surveys, major author courses, advanced writing courses, or courses focused on a literary period or theoretical approach. Our department values and strives to support our graduate students as teachers as well as scholars.
Our program is distinctive in its support of graduate students as they meet the demands of an increasingly competitive job market. All MA and MA/PhD students, in their first semester, enroll in a three-credit course on pedagogical theory, a one-credit teaching practicum, and a one-credit survey of research methods. MA/PhD and PhD students also take a three-credit seminar on professional development, in which they explore research activities such as academic publishing, conferencing, and grant writing while learning about classroom strategies and careers open to English PhDs. Graduate students have the opportunity to apply for funding to attend conferences, and when our PhD students begin their job search, they participate in a series of workshops on interpreting job ads, interviewing in person and remotely, and talking about teaching and research. Students also receive one-on-one support from a member of our Job Market Committee as they develop materials from cover letters and CVs to diversity statements and teaching philosophies. This support has helped our students earn positions in academic settings and beyond across the country. You can see our graduate students’ most recent job landings here.
Our graduate students are part of a welcoming, collaborative community. They are active participants and advocates in UConn’s graduate employee union and work together through the English Graduate Student Association on committees dedicated to diversity, pedagogy, hospitality, and professional development, among other topics.
We are housed in the Austin building on the dynamic main campus in Storrs, nestled among the lovely hills and woods of northeastern Connecticut. We are half an hour from Hartford, just over an hour from New Haven, Boston, and Providence, and about two hours from New York City. Members of our community therefore benefit from the high quality of life that comes with living in an affordable suburban area located among several of America’s greatest cities, and they enjoy the proximity of archives such as the American Antiquarian Society, the Beinecke Library, the New York Public Library, the Pierpont Morgan Library, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. And, of course, there is our own Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn’s Homer Babbidge Library, with strengths in human rights, children’s literature (including the Maurice Sendak papers), alternative press publications, and fine press and artist’s books.
Please explore our website to learn more about the opportunities and resources that are making UConn such an exciting place for graduate study in English.
Victoria Ford Smith
Director of Graduate Studies