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About the Graduate Program

Graduate Program Mission Statement

The graduate program in the Department of English has a long tradition of fostering both scholarly and creative inquiry. Our faculty in literature and cultural studies is nationally prominent, and our PhD track in literature and creative writing was recently ranked among the top five in the nation by The Atlantic Monthly. The department also offers an MFA in creative writing, MA and PhD degrees in literature and cultural studies, and MA and PhD tracks in rhetoric and composition.

By contrast with many similar departments, students in our graduate programs are not segregated by field and take many of the same courses together. They benefit throughout their course of study from the insights of students with different knowledge, critical skills, and experience. Students also benefit from a diverse and intellectually rigorous course of study. Particular faculty interests and strengths include nineteenth- and twentieth-century American Literature, early modern and modern British literature, critical theory, and creative writing. Our highly regarded creative writing faculty is especially notable for its diversity of approaches, ranging from avant-garde poetry and experimental novels to more traditional poetics and realist fiction. The English department maintains close ties with other programs, departments, and centers at the University of Utah, notably Environmental Humanities, Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, and the Tanner Humanities Center.

Students enjoy rich intellectual and creative opportunities outside of the classroom as well. The department houses two highly respected journals—The Western Humanities Review and Quarterly West—both of which afford students opportunities to gain editorial experience. Our students also run the Working Dog reading series, which features graduate student writers in the department, and contribute to the very successful Confatuti Humanities Graduate Student Conference. The department regularly hosts visiting scholars and writers. Recent visitors have included the scholars Alison Booth, Marjorie Perloff, James Chandler, Sharon Cameron, Mark McGurl, Russ Castronovo, Gordon Hutner, and Stanley Corngold; and poets and fiction writers {{Susan Howe, Ron Carlson, Grace Paley, Jorie Graham, Richard Powers, Janette Turner Hospital, Mark Strand, Edward P. Jones, Brian Evenson, Robert Haas, and Chris Abani.}} The University of Utah is one of the sites for the Tanner Lectures on Human Values and hosts the biennial Symposium on Science and Literature. Salt Lake City is a beautiful and livable city, with affordable housing, a thriving arts scene, and some of the very best outdoor recreational opportunities in the world. The world-renowned Sundance Film Festival takes place every January in Salt Lake and nearby Park City. 

All PhD students, and many of our MA and MFA students, receive a comprehensive support package and gain valuable pedagogical training and experience in addition to their scholarly training. As a result, our students have been very successful on the academic job market. Recent students PhD have gone on to tenure-track positions in literature and creative writing at such notable universities and liberal arts colleges as the Mary Washington University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Franklin and Marshall College, the University of Alabama, the University of Rhode Island, Bowling Green State University, Denison University, Brigham Young University, the University of Wyoming, Boise State University, Western Washington University, Lawrence University, the University of North Dakota, New Mexico State University, Idaho State University, and California State University at San Bernardino. Graduate of the program publish widely in top scholarly and creative journals, and have been the recipients of major awards, including NEA grants, AWP Intro Awards, and the Barrow Street Book Contest. 

Book and Advising Appointment with Gerri Mackey, Graduate Student AdvisorFurther information about the English Department, including current graduate course descriptions and information about faculty interests and publications, as well as application instructions, may be found on the graduate section of the department web site. Please do not hesitate to contact the Graduate Advisor Gerri Mackey with any questions you may have.

Last Updated: 11/2/16