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Graduate Studies for English Majors

The job market for college teachers promises to be brighter in the coming years than it has been for several decades. To teach in junior college or to teach introductory courses at four-year colleges, you need at least an M.A. or M.F.A; for permanent employment at four-year institutions, you need a Ph.D. An M.A. requires two years of graduate study, and usually requires a thesis. A Ph.D. involves at least three years of graduate courses, excellent scores on comprehensive exams, and a book-length dissertation consisting of original work in a chosen field. Most programs also require proficiency in at least one foreign language.

As you prepare for graduate school, be aware that graduate study in literature has changed a great deal in the past few years; there is increased study in non-traditional genres, more emphasis on literary theory, and more opportunity for degrees in rhetoric and composition. Even so, more graduate programs require familiarity with traditional literature and literary study for entrance into a program. Finally, good clear writing is essential to graduate work; take responsibility for your papers, and learn from them.

If you are interested in graduate studies, make an appointment to talk with the Department Head and the Graduate Studies' Advisor early in your junior year.