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Graduate Degree Programs

The Master of Arts in English

Admission. The University of Georgia Department of English accepts into its M.A. programs students who present a B.A. in English or its equivalent, and a solid undergraduate grade-point average (at least a 3.0), especially in English courses (3.65 or better), as well as positive letters of recommendation and other evidence of scholastic achievement, including proficiency in writing.

Course work. The M.A. program at the University of Georgia encourages students to take courses in a variety of areas to broaden and deepen their literary and critical backgrounds. The program offers a two-year degree, which requires 30 hours of course work (one course is three hours of credit), at least three hours of which must represent research on their thesis. Students must also demonstrate reading knowledge of an approved foreign language.

Students will complete a core requirement of one course from each of three literary divisions:

  1. English literature before 1800
  2. English literature after 1800
  3. American literature. 

Students will also specialize in an area of concentration (defined as three related courses) from one of our Thematic Arcs.  Students will round out their program of study with a course from another Thematic Arc plus two electives.  Major professors and advisory committees help students plan appropriate courses of study and otherwise offer advice and encouragement.

General Examination. At the end of their course work, students must pass an oral examination covering their course of study, a portfolio of three essays written in their courses, and a selective list of major works studied.  The student's major professor will offer guidance on selecting the papers and compiling the reading list.

Thesis Project. The M.A. thesis project of about 50 pages is submitted for approval in the student's final semester of study. It may be developed from a class paper or be the product of original research and study. It may take the form of an academic thesis (necessary for those considering a Ph.D. program here or elsewhere); a pedagogical study, such as a curriculum or a teaching approach to a text; or a project employing methods from one of the concentrations, such as a computer program or an edition. All options require a written component, referred to institutionally as the thesis.

The thesis project is prepared under the guidance of the major professor and advising committee. Once the thesis project is approved in final form, the student must pass a one-hour oral examination, given by the candidate's committee.

The Doctor of Philosophy in English

Admission. To qualify for admission, an applicant must hold at least a B.A., and preferably an M.A., in English; have a high grade-point average (at least 3.0 in undergraduate studies), especially in English courses (3.65 or better in undergraduate English classes). In addition, applicants should provide supportive letters of recommendation and other evidence of scholastic achievement, including proficiency in writing. While most of the applicants who are admitted in the Ph.D. program already hold a Master's degree in English, applicants with exceptional undergraduate records may be admitted directly into the doctoral program without an M.A.

Course work. Students entering the program with the M.A. will take a minimum of 27 hours of course work (one course is three hours of credit) before admission to candidacy, three hours of which must be dissertation research (9300). Students entering the program with a bachelor's degree will take a minimum of 45 hours of course work, exclusive of research hours, before admission to candidacy. The program allows students to select courses and areas for examination with the advice and direction of a major professor and advisory committee.

Advisory Committee. For each entering student, the graduate coordinator serves as the first advisor and then appoints a temporary major advisor, who provides counsel on course work and general directions for study.  Before the end of the first year of study, the student should select a Major Professor and constitute an Advisory Committee. The chair of the Advisory Committee (the Major Professor) will usually be the prospective director of the dissertation. For many students the success of their program of study depends on a close and productive relationship with the Major Professor.

Course Requirements. Ordinarily, the student who enters with an M.A. spends the first two years of study completing course work, the third year studying for the written and oral examinations, and the fourth year completing the dissertation. The student who enters with a B.A. devotes the first three years to course work, the fourth year to studying for the examination, and the final year to completing the dissertation. Some students move through the program at a faster pace. There are no required courses, but the student's Advisory Committee may recommend or require specific courses that provide a foundation for the dissertation, address particular gaps in a student's preparation, or round out a special area of concentration.

Research Skills Requirement. Doctoral students must fulfill the Research Skills Requirement, which can be done so--as detailed in the Graduate Student Handbook--in a variety of ways.  The first way to to demonstrate reading knowledge of two foreign languages; the second way is to demonstrate proficiency (a higher level of language fluency) in one foreign language; the third way is to demonstrate reading knowledge of one foreign language and competence in specified research skills. The student's Advisory Committee must approve the language or languages offered, and the Graduate Committee must approve any proposed set of research skills (such a plan of study should involve substantial study taken at the graduate level outside the English Department). New graduate students should plan to satisfy this portion of their degree requirements as soon after matriculation as possible.

Comprehensive Examinations. No later than the end of the third year, the student will complete his or her written and oral comprehensive examinations. These examinations are administered by a three-member examining committee (the student's Advisory Committee) appointed by the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the student's Major Professor. The examinations cover three areas chosen from the approved areas listed in the Graduate Student Handbook by the student and approved by the student's Advisory Committee.  A reading list is composed for each area of examination in consultation with the examining faculty member of the Advisory Committee.  The written portion of each of the three exams is typically a field survey or literature review of approximately 20 pages (excluding bibliography) of each examination area, as directed by the examining faculty member of the Advisory Committee.  An oral portion of the exam provides time to follow up on the written component, as well as to discuss the items on the reading list.

In addition, all students prepare a "project description," which is a preliminary discussion on the students' dissertation topic. This is an 8-10 page document, with an accompanying annotated bibliography.  The Project Description defines a research question that is worth pursuing and demonstrates the student's ability to answer it.  The Oral Exam provides the opportunity for early feedback on the dissertation project.

The Creative Writing Program

The University of Georgia offers the Ph.D. in English with creative dissertation.  The Ph.D. is not a creative writing degree.  Rather, it gives students enrolled in an academic program the opportunity to do creative work. Academic standards and program requirements for are the same for creative writing students as those for non-creative writing students (see above) with the following exception:

Creative writing students are expected to take at least one creative writing class per year (ENGL 6800 or 8800) as part of their required course work.

6800: Topics in Form and Craft (3 hours---maximum 9 hours)---an exploration of topics and issues around the act of writing. Sample courses include The First Book of Poetry, The Art of Translation, The Art of the Book, Novel Form, Novel Genres, and Publishing and Editing.

8800: Seminar in Creative Writing (3 hours---maximum 9 hours for credit) Advanced instruction in the craft of writing, including all genres, such as fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Please see the Creative Writing website for further information about the opportunities afforded to students who join us in the pursuit of their Ph.D.

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