Graduate Studies in English at UNT
The UNT English graduate program is designed for students who wish to build a professional career as creative writers, educators, or academics. With distinguished scholars in every major period of American and British literature and nationally renowned writers in every genre, the English Department supports a broad range of graduate research and creative work. In a 2020 report by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the UNT English Department ranked #10 out of all R1institutions in doctoral degrees earned by minority students, and #19 in the number of Latinx PhD graduates. Our students appreciate the advantages offered by a dynamic department that is growing in size, strengthening its faculty, building its resources, and raising its national and international profile. They also enjoy being part of a warm and supportive community of fellow writers and scholars. As one 2018 graduate of the PhD in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing puts it, "I had so many great experiences at UNT and will be forever thankful for its nurturing environment, which made me a better writer and colleague."
The UNT English graduate program currently offers four degrees:
- PhD in English
- PhD in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing
- MA in Literature
- MA in Creative Writing
The PhD program is designed to give students a broad, solid foundation in the academic profession, while at the same time preparing them to conduct original, in-depth research, or to compose original works of literature. PhD students benefit from the guidance of a nationally recognized faculty with a strong record of publication in prestigious journals like PMLA, Philological Quarterly, The Paris Review, and Granta. Our faculty also places books with major presses like Stanford, Cambridge, and Picador. In 2017-2018, for example, Jeff Doty published Shakespeare, Popularity, and the Public Sphere (Cambridge), Jehanne Dubrow Dots and Dashes (Crab Orchard Series) and Bruce Bond Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems, 1997-2015 (LSU Press). For more information on faculty publications, consult UNT's Faculty Information System (http://facultyinfo.unt.edu/).
The coursework leading to the PhD dissertation (22 courses in all) usually takes 3 ½ years to complete; during the course of study, each student will take 10 required classes covering the main areas of American and British literature, critical practice, and pedagogy.The remaining 12 courses are electives which the student may use to pursue further research in his or her chosen field; these might include special problems courses along with relevant classes in other disciplines such as history, philosophy, linguistics, or religious studies. Doctoral students with a concentration in creative writing usually fill those 12 elective slots with workshops and courses in form and theory. The coursework done, all PhD students must take a comprehensive exam consisting of an eight-hour written exam over the student's primary field, a four-hour written exam over the secondary field, and a two-hour oral exam over the written exams and the reading lists. After successfully completing the PhD qualifying exams, the student must turn in a dissertation prospectus (10-20 pages) to his or her committee, and take 12 hours of directed research and 12 dissertation hours leading up to the dissertation defense.
The MA program in Literature gives students the opportunity to undertake advanced study in fields of their choosing through either the writing of a thesis or the completion of 36 hours of coursework. The foundational courses for the MA degree overlap with those of the PhD, and some MA students move directly from the Master's program to the doctoral program as their career plans develop. The MA program in Creative Writing offers training in the writing of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Each Master's student in Creative Writing divides coursework evenly between workshop and literature classes, leading to the writing of an original thesis submitted in fulfillment of the degree plan. Many recent MA students have gone on to further study in elite MFA or PhD programs, including the PhD Program at Stanford and the MFA program at the University of Houston.
We make every effort to foster our graduate students' success and help them attain their educational and career goals. While at UNT, our students have published their work in nationally and internationally recognized journals and magazines, including The New Yorker, Shakespeare, and SEL: Studies in English Literature. They have placed books with presses like Button Poetry, the University of Georgia Press, and the University of Wisconsin Press. And they have won prestigious awards and fellowships, including grants from the Newberry Library and from the National Endowment for the Arts. Given this level of achievement, it is not surprising that many recent Ph.D. graduates have gone on to tenure-track positions at other institutions all over the country, including Texas Women's University (Texas), Radford University (Virginia), St. Catherine University (Minnesota), Valparaiso University (Indiana), SUNY-Potsdam (New York), and Brigham Young University (Utah).