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Masters and PhD Programs

Masters Studies

Masters studies is an integral part of the English Department at the University. To learn more about the programs offered, choose from the following:

The MA in English is designed to help students develop their knowledge of British and American literature and explore a range of cultural studies fields and interdisciplinary areas, including American studies, film studies, digital humanities, race and ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, and religious studies. In addition, students develop a strong background in literary criticism and theory.

 Students will take ten courses of at least three credit hours each.

 Coursework Requirements

 English 6480: Introduction to Critical Theory

  •  Three courses in literary history, including one covering literature before 1700 and one covering literature between 1700 and 1900
  •  Six additional courses (up to two of which may be taken in departments other than English, with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies)

 MA Essay

 The MA degree culminates in the writing of a scholarly essay that develops a sustained critical argument over the course of 25 to 30 pages. The MA essay generally arises out of a student’s coursework; it is written during the second year of the MA program under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. The essay gives students the opportunity to pursue topics suggested by their coursework in greater detail and at greater length, and it reflects a substantial course of independent reading and research. Students present their projects publicly at the MA symposium held at the end of the Spring semester, which is attended by faculty sponsors and readers, other interested faculty members, and graduate and undergraduate students in English as well as other disciplines. The symposium provides students the opportunity to discuss and defend their work.

 Most MA essays are scholarly, critical papers. With the support of the faculty sponsor and the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, however, students may also satisfy the requirement with an equivalent project that takes a different form (for example, a digital humanities project).

The English MFA program in creative writing is small and selective. It gives students the opportunity to study literature, participate in intensive writing workshops, and work in a close community of writers. Studies may focus their literature coursework in any area of English or American literature.

During their residence, MFA students are expected to work closely with members of the creative writing faculty and write book-length thesis of publishable quality—a novel, a collection of stories, or a collection of poems.

Students will take a minimum of nine courses of at least three credit hours each.

Coursework Requirements

  • Four creative writing workshops
  • English 7450: Narrative Theory and Practice or English 7460: Theory and Practice of Poetry (depending on the genre of the thesis)
  • Four other courses, including at least two literary history courses

MFA Thesis and Thesis Defense

A complete draft of the thesis should be submitted to the committee chair at least three weeks before the desired defense date. After the thesis has been approved by the chair, a defense date is scheduled and cleared with the other committee members. When the date and time have been set, the student should inform the Graduate Advisor, who will schedule a room for the defense and post an announcement so that the public may attend.

The Modular MFA Program at the University of Utah

The University of Utah Creative Writing Program offers a modular MFA program in poetry, fiction and nonfiction that allows students to take courses in Environmental Humanities, the History of the American West and Book Arts while completing a manuscript in the genre of their choice.

The modular MFA is the only MFA program in the nation that allows students to create courses of study that would capitalize on these three distinct areas, to use the historical, aesthetic and cultural knowledge gained from these subjects in their own creative writing. Upon entering the MFA program, students interested in the modular MFA would declare whether they wanted to pursue a single track (MFA with an Environmental Humanities emphasis, for instance) or a multidisciplinary track (MFA with an American West/Environmental Humanities emphasis).

While enrolled in a writing workshop of their choice each semester, students will also take a wide variety of graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses from departments across campus, including History, Communication, Art and Art History, Philosophy and Film, as well as English. These courses include topics such as Environmental Ethics, Film Directors of the American West, Bookbinding, Digital Arts, Global Environmental History, Videogame Studies, Sound Poetry, Artists’ Books, and Art and Architecture of the American West. Students are also encouraged to take our hybrid graduate writing workshop called Experimental Forms in which students combine poetry, fiction, nonfiction and new media in diverse and original ways.

Modular MFA Requirements

Our traditional MFA program requires nine graduate courses, plus six hours of thesis research. Of these nine courses, four are creative writing workshops, one is a theory and practice in the genre of the student’s thesis, and at least four courses are in literary history and special topics.

Our modular MFA program requires the same number of courses and hours of thesis research, but allows students in particular modules (or multi-disciplinary modules) to take courses outside English to fulfill their four literary history/special topics requirements.

Approved Modular Courses

Below is a list of possible approved courses regularly offered at the university in each of the three modules that modular MFA students might take. This list is not exhaustive; modular MFA students are encouraged to research their departments of interest to find other graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses that might apply.  Courses not on this list must be pre-approved by both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Director of Creative Writing for the student to receive credit towards her modular MFA degree.

Environmental Humanities 

ENGL 5080: Studies in Environmental Writing
ENGL 5050: Ecocriticism and Spiritual Imagination
ENGL 6240: Literature of the American West

COMM 6360: Environmental Communication
COMM 7200: Environmental Communication

HUM 6900: Eco-Science Literature
American West Center Tertulia Workshops (grad level): Topics in Bioregionalism 
HUM 6101: Foundations in Environmental Humanities

HIST 6840: Global Environmental History
HIST 6380: Environmental History of the U.S.
HIST 7670: Colloquium in Environmental History
HIST  4380: Environmental History

PHIL 5530: Environmental Ethics
PHIL 6520: Advanced Bioethics

American West

ENGL 6200: Introduction to American Studies
ENGL 7700: Special Topics in American Studies

ARCH 6231: Art and Architecture of the American West

HIST 6910: Special Studies in American History
HIST 7620: Colloquium in the History of the American West
HIST 7870: Colloquium in the American West

FILM 7870: Special Topics in American West Film and Filmmakers

Book Arts/Publishing/New Media

ENGL 7050: Experimental Forms
ENGL 7810: Publications Workshop: Lit and American Studies
ENGL 6680/7740 or 7720 (whichever number applies):

*Seminar in the Theory and Practice of NewMedia Writing
*New Media and Poetry
*Sound Poetry
*Critical Studies in Artists’ Books

ARCH 6052: Digital Media

ART 3360: Letterpress Printing
ART 3365: Bookbinding
ART 3630: Digital Studio
ART 4060-065-070: Nonmajor Letterpress II
ART 4075: Nonmajor bookbinding III
ART 4090: Nonmajor Artist’s Books

COMM 6520: Interactive Narrative
COMM 6550: Digital Imaging
COMM 6640: Comm Tech and Culture
COMM 6650: Videogames Studies
COMM 6670: Activism & New Media
COMM 6680: Computer Mediated Communication
COMM 6690: New Media, Special Topics
COMM 7640: New Media, Special Topics

Funding Opportunities for the Modular MFA:

Students interested in pursuing the Modular MFA have the option of applying or being considered for a number of fellowship opportunities. Students primarily interested in Environmental Humanities will be considered for a half-teaching fellowship that will cover half their tuition expenses and fees. Students interested in the American West and/or Book Arts/New Media studies will be eligible to apply for The Center for American West/ J.W. Marriott Special Collections Fellowships after they have been accepted into the MFA program. These fellowships will require that students work as archivists and transcribers in one of four areas:  Science and Technology in the West, Multimedia Archives of the West, Utah Oral Histories, and Utah Outdoor Recreation Oral Histories.

Students who are selected for one of these fellowships will receive first-year funding for tuition and fees of up to $12,400 with the possibility of the same amount of funding for a second year. Students who receive the Center for American West/J.W. Marriott Special Collections Fellowship will also be given credit for a one-credit independent study course in Archival Research that will be noted on their transcripts.

Publishing internships also may be made available with FC2, Eclipse, University of Utah Press, Red Butte Press/Book Arts, and other local journals and presses. Credit for internships may fall under the heading of ENGL 7810, the publications workshops for Literature and American Studies.

The English MA in rhetoric and composition is designed to help students understand theories of persuasive discourse and related pedagogical, public, and scholarly practices. Through coursework in the English, Writing and Rhetoric Studies, and allied areas, students will develop their knowledge of rhetoric and writing as they interact with faculty members and fellow students in a range of fields, including literary studies, communication, education, and linguistics.

Students will take ten courses of at least three credit hours each.

  • English 6480: Introduction to Critical Theory
  • Three core courses in rhetoric and composition selected from: (1) WRTG 6020: Responding to Student Writing; (2) ENGL/WRTG 6350: Composition Theory and Research; (3) Studies in Writing and Pedagogy; (4) ENGL/WRTG 6770: Studies in Discourse Analysis; and (5) ENGL/WRTG 7760: Rhetoric/ Composition/Discourse
  • Three 6000- or 7000-level courses in ENGL
  • Three 6000- or 7000-level courses in CMM, ECS, ENGL, or LING, to be approved by the WRS Graduate Coordinator and the English Director of Graduate Studies

MA Exam

Administered during the spring semester, the exam will be in two parts: (1) one question that addresses perspectives on rhetoric and composition from allied disciplines, including English/literary studies, communication, education, and linguistics (timed); and (2) one question exploring a topic that arises from the student’s core courses in rhetoric and composition (take-home). Students have three opportunities to pass the exam; students who fail the exam three times are dismissed from the program. Students must be registered for at least three hours during the semester in which the exam is taken.

The Department of English participates in the College of Humanities' Environmental Humanities program by offering courses and mentoring students. For information on admission to this program, please visit the program web site environmental-humanities.utah.edu 

(801) 585-7052 
Environmental Humanities Graduate Program
1995 De Trobriand Street, FD 618A
Salt Lake City, UT 84113

Additional information can be obtained by calling the Dean's Office inside the College of Humanities

(801-581-6214)
Languages & Communications BLDG
255 South Central Campus Drive, Room 2100
Salt Lake City, UT 84112


Doctoral Studies

To find information about specific Doctoral Studies programs in the English Department, select from the list below:

English PhD candidates may specialize in a range of traditional literary-historical areas of study or develop a program that emphasizes such cultural studies fields or interdisciplinary areas as American studies, film studies, digital humanities, race and ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, or religious studies.

 Students will take ten courses of at least three credits each.

 Coursework Requirements

  •  English 6480: Introduction to Critical Theory
  • At least three courses in literary history, including one covering literature before 1700 and one covering literature between 1700 and 1900
  •  Six additional courses (up to two of which may be taken in departments other than English, with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies)

Qualifying Examinations

Students will be examined in four fields; lists in each field normally include 25-30 major works or their equivalent. Students must complete all required coursework and satisfy the language requirement before scheduling their qualifying exams. Examination lists in the following fields will be devised by students in consultation with the members of their committee.

  1. Literary-Historical Period

British: Medieval, Early Modern, Restoration and Eighteenth Century, Romanticism, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

American: Colonial and Early National, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century

  1. Second Literary-Historical Period or Topic

Topics are devised in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee, especially the committee chair, and might focus on specific literary, generic, or thematic areas (e.g., history of lyric, gothic literature, graphic novels, the literature of war, queer literature, etc.) or a cultural studies field or otherwise interdisciplinary area (e.g., American studies, digital humanities, film studies, race/ethnic studies, religious studies, gender/sexuality studies, art history, etc.).

  1. Topic

See the description of possible topics above.

  1. Criticism and Theory

The list of works for this field will be generated by the candidate in consultation with the supervisory committee. This field may be defined broadly (such as literary theory, cultural criticism, or ethnic studies) or more narrowly (such as feminism, Marxist theory, historicism, folklore, or narrative theory).

The English PhD with a specialization in Creative Writing is neither a fine arts degree nor simply a traditional literature PhD with a creative dissertation. The program is designed to help the student become a better writer, as well as a writer who knows the history of his or her chosen genre and who is aware of the critical theory relevant to it.

The PhD is generally recognized as a writer's best preparation for a teaching career at the college or university level. Many colleges cannot afford to hire someone to teach only creative writing; the PhD is strong evidence that the writer can also teach literature courses and that he or she can take a full and active part in the academic community.

Students will take ten courses of at least three credits each.

Coursework Requirements

  • English 6480: Introduction to Critical Theory
  • At least three workshops (one in a genre other than the dissertation is recommended)
  • At least three courses in literary history, including one covering literature before 1700 and one covering literature between 1700 and 1900
  • English 7450: Narrative Theory and Practice or English 7460: Theory and Practice of Poetry (depending on the genre of the dissertation)
  • One or two electives (depending on the number of workshops taken; one of these courses may be taken in a department other than English, with the prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies)

Qualifying Examinations

In creative writing, exams focus on the genre (poetry or prose) of the student’s dissertation. Students will be examined in four fields; lists in each field normally include 25-30 major works or their equivalent. Students must complete all required coursework and satisfy the language requirement before scheduling their qualifying exams. Examination lists will be devised by students in consultation with the members of their committee.

  1. First Historical Period

The genre from its beginnings until the end of the nineteenth century.

  1. Second Historical Period

The genre from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present.

  1. Topic or Theme

Topics or themes are devised in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee, especially the committee chair, and might focus on specific literary, generic, or thematic areas (e.g., history of lyric, gothic literature, graphic novels, the literature of war, queer literature, etc.) or a cultural studies field or otherwise interdisciplinary area (e.g., American studies, digital humanities, film studies, race/ethnic studies, religious studies, gender/sexuality studies, art history, etc.).

  1. Criticism and Theory

This list will focus on theoretical questions relevant to the genre or the dissertation.

The English PhD with a specialization in Rhetoric and Composition is an interdisciplinary program offered in conjunction with the Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies. Its aim is to give students solid preparation for academic careers in rhetoric and composition through courses, seminars, and independent study in composition theory, rhetorical theory and history, discourse analysis, literary studies, cultural studies, and pedagogical theory.

We encourage interested students to meet with Writing and Rhetoric Studies faculty members at conferences or elsewhere before applying. Individual faculty members will talk with applicants by phone or in person during the application process.

Coursework Requirements

  • Four course courses in rhetoric and composition, selected from the following:
      • (1) ENGL/WRTG 6350: Composition Theory and Research
      • (2) ENGL/WRTG 6500: Studies in Writing & Pedagogy
      • (3) ENGL/WRTG 6770: Studies in Discourse Analysis
      • (4) WRTG 7740: Rhetoric I
      • (5) WRTG 7750 Rhetoric II
      • (6) ENGL/WRTG 7760: Seminar: Rhetoric/Composition/Discourse
      • (7) WRTG 7770: Research in Rhetoric and Writing
  • Four additional courses in English
  • Two additional courses in Writing and Rhetoric Studies or another department (with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies and advice from Writing and Rhetoric Studies faculty)

Qualifying Examinations

After successfully completing the program of study described above, the student will take an oral examination covering the core fields. A member of the literature faculty will examine the student on the literary studies core.

Note on the Supervisory Committee in the Rhetoric and Composition Specialization

The supervisory committee chair must be a Writing and Rhetoric Studies faculty member jointly appointed in English. The other four members will be appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the candidate and the Committee Chair. Normally at least one other English Department faculty member and one other Writing and Rhetoric Studies faculty member will be on the committee. In addition, a faculty member from an appropriate department will be on the committee to represent the student’s allied field core.

During their first two years of study, BA-to-PhD track students will complete ten courses satisfying the course requirements for the MA degree. BA-to-PhD students will complete the MA Essay in their second year. BA-to-PhD students will be officially admitted to the PhD program after the successful completion of the MA Essay and will then complete a third year of coursework. All BA-to-PhD students are admitted with a guarantee of five years of funding.

 

Last Updated: 11/30/17