3220 English

Programs Offered:

  • Master of Arts in English
    • Concentration in Literary Studies
    • Concentration in Creative Writing
    • Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition
  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
    • Concentration in Fiction
    • Concentration in Poetry
  • Doctor of Philosophy in English
    • Concentration in Literary Studies
    • Concentration in Creative Writing
    • Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition

Department of English
23 Floor, 25 Park Place Building
404-413-5800
E-mail: ckocela@gsu.edu
english.gsu.edu

Lynee’ Gaillet, Chair
Audrey Goodman, Associate Chair
Chris Kocela, Director of Graduate Studies
Tanya Caldwell, Associate Director of Graduate Studies
Jody Brooks, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies

The Department of English offers the Master of Arts (M.A.), the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. The M.A. and Ph.D. degree programs provide concentrations in literary studies, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition; the M.F.A. degree program allows students to concentrate in either poetry or fiction. The M.A. degree program prepares students for further graduate study or for careers in writing, editing, technical communications, research, or business. Time to degree for the M.A. program depends on whether students choose the M.A. thesis track (available in all concentrations), or the M.A. independent study track, (available only in the literary studies and rhetoric and composition concentrations). The M.A. thesis track usually requires two to three years of study, while the M.A. independent study track is designed to enable students to complete the degree within four semesters. The M.F.A. and Ph.D. degree programs prepare students to write, to teach at the college level, and to conduct scholarly research. The M.F.A. degree usually requires three to four years of study, including coursework, examinations, and a substantial creative thesis. The Ph.D. degree usually requires four to six years of study, including coursework, examinations, and a dissertation. In addition to its course offerings in British, American, and Transnational Literatures, as well as literary theory, folklore, rhetoric, composition, technical/professional writing, and creative writing, the department provides opportunities for training in scholarly and textual editing through several long-term publishing and editing projects.

Applicants may obtain additional information about the Department of English by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies at the addresses above.

Transfer Credit

No more than six semester hours or two courses of graduate work completed at another accredited college or university and approved by Georgia State University may be applied to a graduate degree in English. All transferred coursework must correspond to courses offered in the Georgia State Department of English. Such transferred coursework must have a grade of B (3.0 grade-point average) or higher.

Financial Aid

Students interested in scholarships and student loans should consult the Office of Student Financial Aid. The Department of English currently provides financial support primarily in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships, which carry full tuition waivers. Graduate Teaching Assistantships are available on a competitive basis to a limited number of M.F.A., Ph.D., and second-year M.A. students with superior qualifications (the Department cannot fund M.A. students in their first years). The Paul Bowles Graduate Fellowship, the Virginia Spencer Carr Graduate Fellowship, and the Scholarship Endowment in Creative Writing are awarded to entering fiction writing students who have been admitted to the M.F.A. or Ph.D. program. Again, Graduate Teaching Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis, and admission alone to any graduate program in English does not automatically guarantee funding. Further information and application forms are available from the Department of English.

Grades

Throughout their coursework students must maintain a B average or higher. Only those courses in which students earn an A or a B will be credited toward a degree.

Academic Warning and Dismissal

A graduate student whose cumulative grade-point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 at the end of any semester will receive a warning from the associate dean for Graduate Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences. At the end of the next 18 hours of enrollment, the student must achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA, or the College of Arts and Sciences will dismiss the student.

Non-Degree and Transient Student Admission

Students may be admitted on a non-degree status only if classroom space is available. Preference will be given to degree students. Students must complete an application, submit two transcripts of all previous college or university work, and provide a list of courses they wish to take. Only six credit hours earned while on non-degree status may later be applied to degree programs. Transient students must reapply each semester.

Further Information

Application forms and information about the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and other materials are available at http://cas.gsu.edu/graduate-studies/admissions/. If you have any questions about graduate studies in English, please call 404-413-5800 to make an appointment to see the Director of Graduate Studies.

Master of Arts

The Department of English offers four master’s degree programs:
  1. Master of Arts, Concentration in Literary Studies;
  2. Master of Arts, Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition;
  3. Master of Arts, Concentration in Creative Writing; and
  4. Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (M.F.A.).

Admission

Applicants should be aware that admission is competitive and that meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the M.A. program. Before entering the program a student must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a major in English or its equivalent from an accredited college or university with at least a B average (3.0) in the undergraduate major. The Department of English admits students to its graduate programs only in the fall semester of the academic year. The Director of Graduate Studies in English will consider only complete admission files. Applicants are responsible for seeing that their admission files are complete by the deadlines for admission published in the current edition of this catalog.

The applicant should supply the following materials:

  1. A statement of purpose that includes a brief explanation of what the student hopes to accomplish, a clear indication of which degree program the applicant is seeking admission to, and (if the applicant has not yet completed a bachelor’s degree) an indication of the term in which the applicant expects to receive the degree;
  2. Competitive scores (no more than five years old) on the general GRE test;
  3. Official transcripts of all previous college or university work;
  4. Two letters of recommendation sent directly from persons who testify to the applicant’s ability to do graduate work;
  5. A critical writing sample of approximately eight to twelve pages. The critical sample is not required for the Creative Writing M.A. or M.F.A.
  6. Applications for the M.A., Concentration in Creative Writing, and the M.F.A. program must also contain the following:  a portfolio consisting of a minimum of 10 poems; or 2 or 3 stories totaling no fewer than 30 and no more than 50 pages.  One of the 2 or 3 fiction samples may be an excerpt of a longer work (novel, novella, etc.), but we ask that you send at least one complete, stand-alone example of your short fiction. On the first page of the creative sample, the applicant should list her or his name, email address, phone number, and program she or he is applying to (M.F.A. Fiction, M.F.A. Poetry, M.A. Fiction, M.A. Poetry.)

The M.F.A. is a more rigorous and substantial degree than the M.A. with an emphasis in creative writing. Only students whose portfolios show exceptional promise will be admitted to the M.F.A. program. The Master of Arts in English, Concentration in Creative Writing is appropriate for those prospective students who wish to complete a non-terminal degree, and can also serve as an initial graduate degree for those who plan to continue their work at the doctoral level.

Registration and Advisement

Approximately one week before registration begins, the Office of the Registrar will post registration time-ticket assignments on the web and students can find out the date and time of their registration by entering the GoSOLAR website. The Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English will act as adviser to all entering M.A. students. Students are responsible for making appointments with the Director of Graduate Studies for advisement and for being familiar with the requirements for their degree as set forth here. Students are encouraged to select a faculty adviser early in the program.

The Graduate Research Skill Requirement

The Graduate Research Skill Requirement will connect to, and further, a graduate student’s selected field of study and program emphases. Graduate Research Skill may be defined as the acquiring and practice of specialized skills, methods, and linguistic or language studies that include foreign languages (spoken fluency, written competency, reading knowledge, or translating from English into a foreign language, or translating from a foreign language into English), translation studies, or a specialized language system, such as digital humanities and/or emerging communication technologies.

The Graduate Research Skill Requirement may be fulfilled with or by:

  1. A sequence of undergraduate courses in a foreign language (French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc.) culminating in a grade of B or better in an intermediate course (numbered 2002 or higher) completed within five years of admission to the graduate program;
  2. A grade of B or better in a foreign language course numbered 2002 or higher taken while in the graduate program;
  3. Passing a CLEP examination in a foreign language;
  4. Passing a translation examination administered by the Department of World Languages and Cultures;
  5. Passing any other course (with a grade of B or better) or examination representing the acquisition and practice of a research skill that may be proposed by the student and approved by the Graduate Admissions and Review Committee.

The Graduate Research Skill Requirement may be fulfilled at the level of the M.A., M.F.A., or Ph.D. Students who fulfill the requirement during their M.A. or M.F.A. programs will have no further research skill requirement to fulfill at the doctoral level. Doctoral students who did not satisfy the requirement during their M.A. or M.F.A. programs must do so before taking any doctoral exams.

Time Limit

All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within seven years.

Master of Arts, Concentration in Literary Studies

Candidates for the M.A. with concentration in literary studies may choose either the thesis or independent study track.

Thesis Track

This track requires completion of 30 credit hours (10 courses), plus 6 hours of thesis credit, and a critical thesis (40-60 pages excluding notes and reference material) approved by a thesis committee consisting of a director and two other faculty members.

Coursework

In the interests of facilitating broad historical and disciplinary coverage across the areas of language, literature, and culture, the following courses are required:

  1. ENGL 8000 Bibliography and Research Methods (should be taken in the first semester);
  2. ENGL 8001 M.A. Proseminar (should be taken in the second semester);
  3. Three hours in English language study (8005: Practical Grammar; 8080: Modern Grammar; 8090: History of the English Language; 8210: Old English; 8250: Middle English; 8230: American English; 8245: African-American English);
  4. Three hours in literary theory/critical methodology/cultural studies (6020, 6100, 6110, or 8200: Folklore; 8060: Literary Criticism; 8065: Foundations of Modern Critical Theory; 8070: Contemporary Literary Theory; 8075: Feminist Literary Theory; 9050: Topics in Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism);
  5. Nine hours in literature before circa 1800;
  6. Nine hours literature after circa 1800;
  7. Of the eighteen hours in areas 5 and 6, six hours must be in British literature; six hours must be in American literature; and three hours must be in transnational, diasporic, multi-ethnic, racially diverse, and/or postcolonial Anglophone literature (African, African-American, Irish, Native-American, Caribbean, Asian-American, Southeast Asian, Hispanic, etc.)
  8. In the interests of fostering interdisciplinary study, and with written approval by the Director of Graduate Studies, up to six hours of electives may be substituted for any two courses described in areas 3-7 above. Electives may include transfer courses; GSU English Department courses outside the Literary Studies concentration (e.g., Rhet/Comp); courses taken from other GSU departments (History, Communications, Philosophy, etc.); or courses taken through the GSU cross-registration system. However, in ordinary circumstances, no substitutions within the Lit Studies concentration will be approved (no swapping a second course in theory for a pre-1800 lit); moreover, to be approved, any course proposed as a substitute must clearly and strongly relate to the area of the targeted course (Renaissance Art History or Colonial American History for a pre-1800 lit course, or a seminar on Hegel, Nietzsche, or Marx from Philosophy as a substitute for Foundations of Modern Critical Theory, for examples).
  9. Six hours of ENGL 8999 (Thesis Research).

Thesis

It is the student’s responsibility to select a topic and to find a faculty member who will direct the thesis and two others who will serve on the thesis committee. Only members of the graduate faculty may direct theses.

The semester before beginning to write the thesis, M.A. students must submit a written proposal for approval by their thesis committee. The proposal should include the following:

  1. A description of the subject, including a statement of the way the proposed approach to the subject differs from, contributes to, or modifies the existing scholarship on the subject;
  2. A description of the proposed method of treatment and an account of the research necessary to complete it; and
  3. A preliminary bibliography, including a discussion of the availability of materials.

The thesis must conform in all matters of documentation to the most recent edition of The MLA Style Manual. The Office of Graduate Services of the College of Arts and Sciences has specific standard requirements for format. The student is responsible for conforming to those standards. The thesis must be between 40 and 60 pages in length, excluding notes and reference material. By the time the thesis is completed, a student must have registered for at least six hours of English 8999 (Thesis Research).

Independent Study Track

This track requires completion of 27 hours of graduate coursework (9 courses), plus three hours of thesis credit, and an Independent Study Project (20-25 pages excluding notes and reference material) approved by a committee as described below.

Coursework

  1. ENGL 8000 Bibliography and Research Methods
  2. Three hours in English language study from among the following: ENGL 8005 Practical Grammar; ENGL 8080 Modern Grammar; ENGL 8090 History of the English Language; ENGL 8210 Old English; ENGL 8250 Middle English; ENGL 8230 American English; ENGL 8245 African-American English)
  3. Three hours in literary theory/critical methodology/cultural studies from among the following: FOLK 6020 America’s Folk Crafts, FOLK 6100 British Folk Culture, FOLK 6110 Irish Folk Culture, or FOLK 8200 Folklore; ENGL 8060 Literary Criticism; ENGL 8065 Foundations of Modern Critical Theory; ENGL 8070 Contemporary Literary Theory; ENGL 8075 Feminist Literary Theory; ENGL 9050 Topics in Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism)
  4. Nine hours in literature before circa 1800
  5. Nine hours in literature after circa 1800
  6. Of the eighteen hours in areas 4 and 5, three hours must be in British literature; three hours must be in American literature, and three hours must be in transnational, diasporic, multi-ethnic, racially diverse, and/or postcolonial Anglophone literature
  7. Up to three hours of internships can be used to satisfy requirements in areas 4 and 5.
  8. Three hours of ENGL 8999 Thesis Research.

Independent Study Project

This project will consist of a substantial, article-length treatment of a research topic 20-25 pages in length, excluding critical apparatus. The Independent Study Project could originate as an essay written in one of the courses taken by the student toward completion of the degree, in which case the Project Advisor may be the professor who taught that course. As per College of Arts and Sciences requirements, the Independent Study Project must also be read by two other faculty members in the department, one of whom, in addition to the Project Advisor, must approve the project by the appropriate College deadline for graduation. Readers of the Project are to be selected by the student in consultation with his/her Advisor.

Master of Arts, Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition

Information about the rhetoric and composition program is available at www.rhetcomp.gsu.edu.

Candidates for the M.A. with concentration in rhetoric and composition may choose either the thesis or independent study track.

Thesis Track

This track requires completion of 30 hours of graduate coursework (10 courses), plus 6 hours of thesis research credit, and a substantial (40–60 pages excluding notes and reference material) academic paper or a digital media project approved by a thesis committee consisting of a director and two other faculty members.

Coursework

In the interests of facilitating broad historical and disciplinary coverage across the areas of rhetoric, composition, professional writing, and technical communication, the following courses are required:

  1. ENGL 8125 Writing and Research Methodology (should be taken in the first semester, if possible, and at the latest, the semester before writing the thesis), ENGL 8170 Classical Rhetoric: Greek, ENGL 8120 Writing for Academic Publication (ProSeminar), and ENGL 8180 Composition Theory;
  2. Twelve additional hours of rhetoric and composition courses and strongly related courses;
  3. Six hours of electives (may be taken in any related fields of study);
  4. Six hours of 8999 (Thesis Research).

Thesis

Thesis research may involve digital and workplace projects as well as textual studies, and the thesis can be a substantial (40–60 pages) academic paper or a digital project with approval of the director. The proposal for thesis research must be submitted and approved by the student’s committee the semester prior to writing the thesis.

Graduate Research Skill Requirement

Candidates for the M.A. with an emphasis in rhetoric, composition, and technical and professional writing are expected to fulfill the graduate research requirement or to have received a grade of B or higher in both ENGL 8121 (Rhetoric of Digital Media) and ENGL 8123 (Digital Media Production).

Independent Study Track

This track requires completion of 27 hours of graduate coursework (9 courses), plus three hours of thesis credit, and an Independent Study Project (20-25 pages excluding notes and reference material) approved by a committee as described below. Completion of an internship as substitute for 3 to 6 hours of required coursework is strongly recommended.

Coursework

  1. ENGL 8180 Composition Theory (should be taken in the first semester); ENGL 8170 Classical Rhetoric: Greek (should be taken in the first semester); ENGL 8125 Writing and Research Methods and Methodology (should be taken in the second semester)
  2. Nine hours of rhetoric and composition or strongly related courses from among the following: ENGL 6510 Grant and Proposal Writing; ENGL 8115 Technical Writing; ENGL 8121 Digital Rhetoric; ENGL 8123 Digital Media Production; ENGL 8150 Modern and Contemporary Rhetorical Theory; ENGL 8005 Practical Grammar; ENGL 8080 Modern Grammar
  3. Three hours Directed Reading in the area of specialization in which Independent Study Project is to be written.
  4. Six hours electives (may be taken in related fields of study) and/or Internship(s).
  5. Three hours of ENGL 8999 Thesis Research.

Independent Study Project:

This project may involve digital and workplace projects as well as textual studies, and can be either a substantial (20-25 pages) academic paper or equivalent digital project. In any event, the Independent Study Project must originate as a text/assignment within one of the courses taken by the student toward completion of the degree, and the Project Advisor will be the professor who taught the course in which the text/assignment originated. As per College of Arts and Sciences requirements, the Independent Study Project must also be read by two other faculty members in the department, at least one of whom, in addition to the Project Advisor, must approve the project by the appropriate College deadline for graduation. Readers of the Project are to be selected by the student in consultation with his/her Advisor.

Graduate Research Skill Requirement

Satisfaction of this requirement remains the same as for the thesis track M.A in English, Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition.

Master of Arts, Concentration in Creative Writing

The Master of Arts in English, Concentration in Creative Writing is appropriate for those students who wish to complete a non-terminal degree, and can also serve as an initial graduate degree for those who plan to continue their work at the M.F.A. or doctoral level. Upon attaining the M.A. degree, students will have acquired a productive specific knowledge of their chosen genre/area of specialization (either Poetry or Fiction).

The M.A., Concentration in Creative Writing student must satisfactorily complete 27 credit hours of graduate coursework (9 courses), plus 6 hours of thesis research credit.

All Poetry and Fiction workshops (ENGL 8020 Poetry Writing, ENGL 8030 Fiction Writing), creative writing craft courses (ENGL 8201 Contemporary Poetry, ENGL 8202 Contemporary Fiction Craft, ENGL 8203 20th-Century American & British Poetry Craft I), and form and theory coursework (ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft ) must be completed at Georgia State University during the degree program.

Coursework

Candidates for the M.A., Concentration in Creative Writing must satisfactorily complete 27 hours of graduate coursework, including

  1. Twelve hours of either ENGL 8020 Poetry Writing or ENGL 8030 Fiction Writing depending on the program to which the student was admitted;
  2. Six hours of either ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft, ENGL 8201 Contemporary Poetry, ENGL 8202 Contemporary Fiction Craft, or ENGL 8203 20th-Century American & British Poetry Craft I depending on the program to which the student was admitted;
  3. Six hours of literature courses. (Rather than narrowly specializing in a particular area, a student should select courses that help her or him to achieve a lively understanding of a broad range of English, American, and World literature.);
  4. Three hours of literature, rhetoric and composition, or folklore courses;
  5. Six hours of ENGL 8999 Thesis Research.

Thesis

The M.A., Concentration in Creative Writing thesis must contain at least 35 pages of poetry or 60 pages of fiction. It must include an introduction or an afterword in which the student discusses his or her approaches, styles, methods, and influences. The semester before beginning to write the thesis, students must submit for approval by their thesis director and the Director of Creative Writing a written proposal detailing the thesis project.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a terminal degree that prepares students to write and to teach at the college level. It also provides students an excellent foundation if they choose to continue their graduate work at the doctoral level. Upon attaining the M.F.A. degree, students will have acquired a productive specific knowledge of their chosen genre/area of specialization (either Poetry or Fiction).

The M.F.A. student must complete satisfactorily at least 42 hours of graduate coursework (14 courses), plus 6 hours of thesis research credit.

All Poetry and Fiction workshops (ENGL 8020 Poetry Writing, ENGL 8030 Fiction Writing), creative writing craft courses (ENGL 8201 Contemporary Poetry, ENGL 8202 Contemporary Fiction Craft, ENGL 8203 20th-Century American & British Poetry Craft I), and form and theory coursework (ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft ) must be completed at Georgia State University during the degree program.

Coursework

Fiction Writers:

  1. Fifteen to eighteen hours of ENGL 8030 Fiction Writing;
  2. Six to nine hours of English and American literature and/or folklore; 24 hours are required for Areas 1 and 2 combined.
  3. Three hours of ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft in Fiction;
  4. Three hours of [Engl8202] Contemporary Fiction Craft; and
  5. Six hours of ENGL 8999 Thesis Research.

Poets:

  1. Fifteen hours of ENGL 8020 Poetry Writing;
  2. Six hours of English and American literature and/or folklore;
  3. Three hours of ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft in Poetry;
  4. Three hours of ENGL 8201 Contemporary Poetry;
  5. Three hours of ENGL 8203 20th-Century American & British Poetry Craft I;
  6. Six hours of 8999 Thesis Research.

M.F.A. Examination

Before students can take the M.F.A. examination, they must have completed all coursework and the graduate research skill requirement.

The M.F.A. comprehensive examination in Fiction is a one-day, on-site examination. The examination period is four hours. The examination includes a section of identifications and either two or three essays based on the M.F.A. reading list. The examination director will decide on the final format of the examination.

The M.F.A. comprehensive examination in Poetry is a two-part exam. Part 1 is on-site, and the examination period is four hours. The Part 1 examination includes a section of identifications and either two or three essays based on the M.F.A. reading list. Part 2 is a take-home examination, and the examination period is 72 hours. The student completes an essay based on a topic provided by her or his exam director and based on the MFA reading list. The examination director will decide on the final format for the examination.

Thesis

The M.F.A. thesis must be a minimum of 50 pages long for a manuscript of poems or a minimum of 150 pages for a manuscript of prose fiction. M.F.A. theses in fiction must include an introduction or an afterword in which the student discusses his or her approaches, styles, methods, and influences. The semester before beginning to write the thesis, students must submit for approval by their thesis director and the Director of Creative Writing a written proposal detailing the thesis project.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Ph.D. degree programs prepare students to write, to teach on the college and university levels, and to conduct scholarly research. At the end of their Ph.D. coursework, students will have acquired a productive general knowledge of the various fields of literary study in English and will have developed a concentrated preparation in their areas of specialization.

Admission

Applicants should be aware that admission is competitive and that meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program. Before entering the Ph.D. program, students are generally expected to have completed a master’s degree in English or a closely related discipline from an accredited college or university. The Department of English admits students to its doctoral programs only in the fall semester of the academic year. The Director of Graduate Studies in English will consider only complete admission files. Applicants are responsible for seeing that their admission files are complete by the deadlines for admission published in this catalog.

All applicants must submit the following materials:

  1. Official transcripts of all previous college or university work;
  2. Three letters of recommendation sent directly from persons who testify to the applicant’s ability to do graduate work. Applicants from the M.A. program in English at Georgia State must submit new letters of recommendation, preferably from English department faculty;
  3. Competitive scores (no more than five years old) on the General portion of the GRE;
  4. An essay composed by the applicant stating goals and career objectives; and
  5. A 10-20 page critical writing sample.
  6.  For Creative Writing applicants only: a portfolio consisting of a minimum of 10 poems; or 3 stories totaling no fewer than 30 and no more than 50 pages.  One of the 3 fiction samples may be an excerpt of a longer work (novel, novella, etc.), but we ask that you send at least one complete, stand-alone example of your short fiction. On the first page of the creative sample, the applicant should list her or his name, email address, phone number, and program she or he is applying to (PhD Fiction, PhD Poetry).

Advisement

The Director of Graduate Studies will serve as the student’s initial faculty adviser, whom the student should consult regularly. However, very early in the program, the student should begin to design a course of study leading towards areas of primary and secondary specialization.  The student will be tested on the primary specialization (the doctoral examination and the coursework required for taking it are described below). Optimally in the first semester of the doctoral program, but certainly before the end of the second semester, the student should forma three-member faculty advisory committee composed of at least two faculty members in the primary area of specialization. Working with this committee, the student will define and develop the areas of specialization and determine the courses that can be used to satisfy the specialization requirements.

Doctoral Degree Plans

Students may choose to follow one of three plans. Plan 1 focuses on literary studies. Plan 2 emphasizes rhetoric and advanced writing courses. Plan 3 emphasizes creative writing.

Basic Coursework and Residency Requirements

Depending on the plan chosen by a student, the total credit hours required vary from 50 to 59 beyond the M.A. (30-39 hours of coursework plus 20 hours of dissertation research). To fulfill the residency requirement for the Ph.D. degree, students must enroll for a minimum of 6 hours per term for 4 semesters. Two of these semesters must be consecutive. Each plan has further particular coursework requirements which are specified below.

Doctoral Examinations

After completing coursework and the graduate research skill requirement (see above), students in all concentrations must pass the examination specific to their concentrations.

In the Creative Writing concentration, the doctoral examination in poetry is a two-day, on-site exam. Each examination period is four hours. The examination on Day 1 includes a section of identifications and either two or three essays dealing with the works and authors pre-1900 drawn from the Ph.D. reading list. The examination administered on Day 2 is comprised of three or four essays about the works and authors post-1900 drawn from the Ph.D. reading list. The examination director will decide on the final format for the examination.

In the Creative Writing concentration, the doctoral comprehensive examination in fiction is a two-day, on-site exam. Each day a four-hour examination is administered. The examination on Day 1 includes a section of identifications and either two or three essays dealing with works and authors pre-1900 drawn from the Ph.D. reading list. The examination director will decide on the final format for the examination.

In the Rhetoric and Composition concentration, the doctoral examination is a seven-day, off-site examination. The examination draws on both a primary field of specialization and a research focus within that field . Further information on the format of the doctoral examination in Rhetoric and Composition is available at www.rhetcomp.gsu.edu.

In the Literary Studies concentration, the doctoral examination will be in the area in which the student plans to write the dissertation. The examination consists of three parts: a two and a half hour on-site written, a seventy-two hour off-site written, and a ninety-minute oral. As described in the list of required courses below, in order to take the examination, the student must have completed 12 credit hours (4 courses) in or strongly related to that area. The exam itself will be based on a reading list composed of no fewer than forty texts, devised by the student in consultation with the faculty adviser who will be the primary reader of the exam. The examination reading list must be composed, and approved by the faculty adviser, at least one semester prior to the semester in which the student will take the exam. The examination questions must be approved by the Director and Associate Director of Graduate Studies.

Examinations are not offered in the summer. Students must give the Director of Graduate Studies in English written notification of their intention to take the primary examination by the departmental deadline. Each doctoral examination will be graded by at least three faculty members. A student must pass the examination on either the first or second try in order to remain in the Ph.D. program. Examples of past examination questions and of successful answers are available to students preparing for the examination.

Dissertation

Doctoral students must submit a dissertation acceptable to the Department of English and to the Office of Graduate Services of the College of Arts and Sciences. Stages in the preparation of the dissertation include the following: choosing a dissertation director and dissertation committee, submitting a dissertation proposal, defending the dissertation proposal, writing the dissertation, defending the dissertation.

Soon after completing the doctoral examination, a doctoral student must submit to his or her dissertation committee a written dissertation proposal that should include the following:

  1. A description of the subject, including a statement of the way the proposed approach to the subject differs from, contributes to, or modifies the existing scholarship on the subject;
  2. A description of the proposed method of treatment and an account of the research necessary to complete it; and
  3. A preliminary bibliography, including a discussion of the availability of materials.

After consulting informally with the dissertation director and the other members of the student’s dissertation committee, the student must defend the proposal orally in a meeting with the committee and the Director of Graduate Studies. If the committee judges the student’s proposal to be acceptable, the student will be given permission to proceed with the project.

While writing the dissertation, the student must register for at least 20 hours of ENGL 8999 (Thesis Research). Each student must pass an oral defense of the dissertation administered by the members of the student’s dissertation committee and the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.

Time Limit

Work on the doctorate must be completed within ten years of admission to the program.

Particular Requirements of Individual Ph.D. Plans:

Plan 1: Literary Studies:

In the interests of facilitating professional specialization within the broad fields of linguistic, literary, and cultural study, the following are required:

  1. Thirty hours of course work beyond the M.A. degree (including, if desired, a maximum of nine hours of coursework in related fields offered by other departments);
  2. Fulfillment of areas 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the M.A. course requirements;
  3. An additional three hours in English language study OR literary theory/critical methodology/cultural studies;
  4. In preparation for the doctoral examination and dissertation, twelve hours of coursework in or strongly related to an area of primary specialization (may include courses taken at the M.A. level and a maximum of one course in a strongly related field offered by another department);
  5. Nine hours of coursework in or strongly related to an area of secondary specialization (may include courses taken at the M.A. level and a maximum of one course in a strongly related field offered by another department);
  6. For the purposes of fulfilling requirements 4 and 5, an area of specialization may be defined in terms of geographical region and historical period; literary genre; theory or methodology; or some combination of the preceding. Students should begin to craft their courses of study by meeting with appropriate faculty advisors early in their doctoral program and by meeting with their advisors thereafter on a regular basis to make revisions as the student’s goals evolve. For a list of possible areas of specialization, please refer to the Department of English website.
  7. Electives as needed to complete the 30-hour requirement;
  8. Twenty hours ENGL 8999 (Thesis Research).

Plan 2: Rhetoric and Composition

Information about the rhetoric and composition program is available at www.rhetcomp.gsu.edu. Dissertation research may involve digital and workplace projects as well as textual studies, and the dissertation can be a substantial academic project or a digital project with approval of the director. In the interests of facilitating professional specialization within the broad fields of rhetoric, composition, professional writing, and technical communication, the following courses are required:

  1. A total of thirty hours of course work beyond the M.A. level (including, if desired, a maximum of six hours of coursework in related fields offered by other departments);
  2. Six hours of language, theory, or literature courses, or in any strongly related fields of study outside of English upon approval from the student’s advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies;
  3. ENGL 8125 (if not taken at the M.A. level; should be taken in the first semester, if possible), ENGL 8170 Classical Rhetoric: Greek, ENGL 8120 Writing for Academic Publication (Pro Seminar), and ENGL 8180 (Composition Theory) (the student can enter the Ph.D. program with this requirement fulfilled if these courses or their equivalent were taken at the M.A. level);
  4. Twelve hours of rhetoric, composition courses, technical communication and strongly related courses;
  5. Electives as needed to complete the 30-hour requirement;
  6. Twenty hours of ENGL 8999 (Thesis Research)

Plan 3: Creative Writing:

Students in creative writing select either Poetry or Fiction as their primary specialization and the other genre as their secondary specialization.

All Poetry and Fiction workshops (ENGL 8020 Poetry Writing, ENGL 8030 Fiction Writing), creative writing craft courses (ENGL 8201 Contemporary Poetry, ENGL 8202 Contemporary Fiction Craft, ENGL 8203 20th-Century American & British Poetry Craft I), and form and theory coursework (ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft ) must be completed at Georgia State University during the degree program.

In the interests of facilitating professional specialization within the field of creative writing, the following are required:

Fiction Writers:

The Ph.D. student in Fiction must complete satisfactorily at least 36 hours of graduate coursework beyond the M.A. or M.F.A. (12 courses), plus 20 hours of thesis research credit. Any student who receives more than one C during his or her program will be dropped from the Ph.D. program.

For fiction writers, the following courses and research hours are required:

  1. Twelve hours of ENGL 8030 Fiction Writing);
  2. Three hours of ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft in Fiction;
  3. Three hours of ENGL 8202 Contemporary Fiction Craft;
  4. Three hours of courses in or strongly related to area of primary  specialty;
  5. Three hours of ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft in Poetry;
  6. Six hours of courses in or strongly related to area of secondary specialty;
  7. Three hours of language study, unless satisfied at M.A. level (ENGL 8005 Practical Grammar; 8080 Modern Grammar; 8090 History of the English Language; 8210 Old English; 8250 Middle English; 8230 American English; 8245 African American English)’
  8. Three hours of literary theory/ critical methodology/ cultural studies, unless satisfied at the M.A. level (FOLK 6020, FOLK 6100, FOLK 6110 or FOLK 8200; ENGL 8060 Literary Criticism; ENGL 8065 Foundations of Modern Critical Theory; ENGL 8070 Contemporary Literary Theory; ENGL 8075 Feminist Literary Theory; ENGL 9050 Topics in Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism);
  9. Twenty hours of ENGL 8999 Thesis Research.

Poets:

The Ph.D. student in Poetry must complete satisfactorily at least 39 hours of graduate coursework beyond the M.A. or M.F.A. (13 courses), plus 20 hours of thesis research credit. Any student who receives more than one C during his or her program will be dropped from the Ph.D. program.

For poets, the following courses and research hours are required:

  1. Twelve hours of ENGL 8020 Poetry Writing;
  2. Three hours of ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft in Poetry;
  3. Three hours of ENGL 8201 Contemporary Poetry;
  4. Three hours of ENGL 8203 20th-Century American & British Poetry Craft I;
  5. Three hours of ENGL 8160 Form and Theory of Literary Craft in Fiction;
  6. Three hours of courses in or strongly related to area of primary specialty;
  7. Six hours of courses in or strongly related to area of secondary specialty;
  8. Three hours of language study, unless satisfied at M.A. level (ENGL 8005 Practical Grammar; ENGL 8080 Modern Grammar; ENGL 8090 History of the English Language; ENGL 8210 Old English; ENGL 8250 Middle English; ENGL 8230 American English; ENGL 8245 African-American English);
  9. Three hours of literary theory/ critical methodology/ cultural studies, unless satisfied at the M.A. level FOLK 6020, FOLK 6100, FOLK 6110 or FOLK 8200; ENGL 8060 Literary Criticism; ENGL 8065 Foundations of Modern Critical Theory; ENGL 9050 Topics in Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism);
  10. Twenty hours of ENGL 8999 Thesis Research.