2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, PhD

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Harvey Teres, Director of Graduate Studies, 401 Hall of Languages, hmteres@syr.edu, 315-443-2174;


Crystal Bartolovich, Dorri Beam, Michael Burkard, Dympna Callaghan, Jonathan Dee, Susan Edmunds, Carol Fadda-Conrey, Arthur Flowers, Chris Forster, Ken Frieden, Mike Goode, Roger Hallas, Chris Hanson, Brooks Haxton, Mary Karr, Christopher Kennedy, Claudia Klaver, Erin S. Mackie, Kevin Morrison, Patricia Roylance, George Saunders, Will Scheibel, Stephanie Shirilan, Bruce Smith, Dana Spiotta, Scott Stevens, Harvey Teres, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Meina Yates-Richard, Christopher Eng

The Department of English offers a range of graduate programs: the M.A. in English, the M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and the Ph.D. in English. The department welcomes students who plan to become writers and scholar/teachers, and it makes a serious effort to tailor its programs to each student’s interests. Classes are small, usually from 5 to 15 students, and there is ample opportunity for independent study and supervised research.

One of the department’s greatest strengths is its faculty, which includes distinguished scholar- teachers and internationally known writers.

The graduate programs in English ask students to attain some coverage of literary periods, genres, and major authors, while also devoting substantial attention to those modes of theoretical inquiry that have disrupted and enlivened the study of literature in recent years. To that end our current course offerings represent both traditional approaches to English and important work in contemporary theory and cultural studies.

For more information about our graduate programs, degree and program requirements, course offerings, and specific application deadline dates, visit our department web site at http://english.syr.edu/

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Work independently, including a capacity to generate research questions and to revise their own writing

2. Ability to produce a sustained logical argument about literature, film and/or other cultural texts in both essay form and in a substantial dissertation (200-300) pages that makes an original contribution to the discipline of English

Ph.D. in English

The doctoral program is intended for the most promising students entering with a B.A. or M.A., who all receive five years of support. This is a research degree, aimed primarily at those expecting to teach on the college level. The department has particular strengths in early modern literature, 18th and 19th-century British studies, American studies, and film, but includes other areas as well. Small proseminars and advanced seminars, designed to develop both breadth and depth of knowledge, offer students intensive intellectual engagement with members of the faculty. The faculty all share a strong interest in literary history and forms, critical theory, and cultural studies. About four students are admitted each year. Applicants should use the intellectual statement on the application for graduate study to describe, as fully and specifically as possible, the intellectual projects they wish to pursue.


The formal requirements are 36 credit hours of coursework in English beyond the M.A. (54 credit hours of coursework for those entering with a B.A.); demonstrated competence in teaching; proficiency in a foreign language; a field exam of two parts: (a) a written test, and (b) a critical essay of 20-30 pages (students entering the program may, at the discretion of the Graduate Committee, have a part of the field examination requirement waived; this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.); a three-hour oral Ph.D. examination on two fields, to be taken after the third year of coursework, typically in the fall of the seventh semester (the first exam area will focus on the literary, critical, and/or cinematic/media texts of a major period, while the second exam area may focus on a particular topic, genre, or mode of inquiry); the prospectus of 10-20 pages and defense of an 18- to 30-credit dissertation.


ENG 631 - Critical Theory  is a required part of students’ coursework credit. Other courses are chosen from proseminars (ENG 630 ) and seminars (ENG 730 ). To fulfill the graduate proseminar requirement, students will need to take at least one proseminar in British Studies and one proseminar in American Studies. During the first two years of coursework, students will be required to take at least three graduate proseminars and three graduate seminars, in addition to other electives that will comprise the minimum number of cumulative hours.

A Ph.D. student may take up to two courses outside of the English Department. In special cases, the student may petition the Graduate Committee to have courses from other departments, or independent studies in English count as part of the coursework credit required for the degree. The Graduate Committee will grant such petitions if the student demonstrates how these courses form an integral part of his or her study in English.

For a fuller description of course offerings, write to the graduate studies coordinator, or submit your request online at our web site: http://english.syr.edu/

Graduate Awards

Teaching assistantships, include tuition scholarships for nine credits per semester (plus six credits in the summer) as well as stipends from $14,826 to $15,789. New teaching assistants at the M.A. level are assigned to courses offered by the Writing Program. Teaching assistants have full responsibility for three sections a year, are expected to attend regular staff meetings and workshops, and participate in a coordinating group. There is also an ongoing mentorship and review of each teaching assistant’s performance as a teacher. New teaching assistants take a teaching practicum (CCR 632 ) closely related to their classroom duties.

Beginning Ph.D. students serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate lecture courses taught by full-time faculty in the English Department for two to three years. They receive ongoing mentorship and faculty review of their performance.

Advanced Ph.D. students teach independent courses of their own design in the English department for one or two years, and participate in the Future Professoriate Project. This project offers mentored teaching and participation in teaching seminars every semester. Students who fulfill all the requirements receive at graduation a certificate in university teaching.

One Ph.D. University Fellowship is awarded to a new applicant of exceptional quality and determined by the Gaduate committe and the department also competes for other various fellowships such as African American Fellowships, Ronald E. McNair Fellowships. All fellowships include tuitision scholarships for full-time study as well as stipends from $15,125 to $25,290.

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