Program Overview

The University of Missouri English Department is dedicated to the study of English language and literature in all of its various historical, cultural, and theoretical aspects. Created in 1881 as part of the humanities division in the College of Arts and Science, the English Department houses over 35 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members and over a eighty graduate students enrolled in MA, MA/PhD, and PhD programs with emphases in all the major literary periods, including Medieval, Early Modern, Restoration and 18th Century, Romantic, Victorian, American to 1914, Modern and Contemporary and African Diaspora Studies. We also have special emphases in Creative WritingCritical Theory, and Language and Linguistics (MA only). The program also offers a variety of interdisciplinary studies along with interdepartmental graduate minors available in Women and Gender StudiesMedieval and Renaissance Studies, College Teaching, and others listed here.

The mission of the graduate program in English is to train students across this wide range of interest areas to become scholars and teachers. Our program is designed to give students ample teaching opportunities – both in freshman composition and in courses in literature and other specializations housed in the department – and coursework is meant to provide a broad knowledge of literature in its theoretical and historical dimensions. The department supports its students throughout the entirety of their graduate careers by offering advanced students the Professional Writing Seminar, which helps PhD candidates write their dissertations and prepare pieces for publication, and the Job Placement Workshop, which helps them prepare themselves for the academic job market. In addition to coursework, students may have the opportunity to assist faculty in editing for The Missouri Review, Persea Books, and Oral Tradition.

Despite the rigor of our requirements, our completion rate has been well above the national average, as more than 90% of students in recent years have finished the degree programs in which they enrolled. We have a number of initiatives in place to ensure that students are integrated into the life of the department, including all-department colloquia on four or five afternoons per semester, a student reading series sponsored by the Creative Writing Program, and a one-hour year-long Introduction to Graduate Studies course for first-year students to help acclimate them to department culture and the field of graduate studies in English. Additionally, candidates for faculty positions in the department present work in the early spring as part of the colloquium series, and the department encourages graduate students to participate in its search for these candidates by including one graduate student on each search committee and asking job candidates to meet with graduate students in their fields of interest. The English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) also has representatives on all major departmental committees, and its officers work closely with English Department officers on matters related to graduate education.

The English Department is proud of the success of its graduate students, who have been recognized in various national forums and have published books, poems, stories, and articles in leading journals and with prestigious presses. Most of our successful PhD candidates pursue teaching careers at two- and four-year colleges. Some of our MA degree recipients pursue further degrees, either at Mizzou or elsewhere, teach at two-year colleges or schools, or follow other careers inside or outside of academia. Please see the placement page of our web site for the employment of recent Mizzou PhDs.

For more information, please consult the MU Graduate School's Prospective Student Information or contact:

Emma Lipton, Director of Graduate Studies for Advising and Admission