College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Department of English

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Introduction to Graduate Programs


Graduate Studies Brochure

Guide to Graduate Studies in English (2014-15)

Graduate Student Handbook (School of Graduate Studies)

The Department of English offers programs in American and English literature and language leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. At either the MA or PhD level, students may elect a concentration in Writing History and Theory. The department also collaborates with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in offering a Master of Arts in world literature.The department prepares students for academic careers at colleges and universities and for work in closely related fields. Our programs offer:

  • A 1:1 PhD student-to-faculty ratio
  • A 1:3 MA student-to-faculty ratio
  • Full funding packages for full-time MA and PhD students
  • Support for conference and research travel
  • Comprehensive mentoring and advising programs
  • Extensive teaching training and instructional experiences, including opportunities for PhD students to teach literature and professional communication courses
  • An extensive program of professional development workshops, colloquia, and seminars
  • Opportunities and amenities of a large research university, with the feel and intimacy of a small liberal arts college
  • 100 percent placement rate in the first year for doctoral graduates seeking full-time academic teaching jobs over the ten-year period 2002-2011 (75% placement rate 2007-11 in tenure-track or equivalent permanent positions)
  • A strong record of preparing MA students for doctoral programs and non-academic employment

Candidates for graduate work in English should present an undergraduate major in English or a minimum of 18 semester hours of English (or its equivalent) beyond the freshman level. In some cases, students will be required to make up deficiencies without graduate credit. The department requires all candidates for admission to submit their scores on the aptitude sections of the Graduate Record Examination. Candidates are also required to submit a writing sample, consisting of at least 15 pages of academic writing. Students whose native language is not English are normally admitted only as provisional students. After 12 semester hours of satisfactory work, they are granted regular status.

A maximum of six semester hours of transfer credit will be accepted from another institution, provided they were earned in graduate-level courses, with the approval of the department and the dean of graduate studies. Such courses must have been taken within five years of matriculation at Case Western Reserve University and passed with grades of B or better. The department accommodates part-time students.

Teaching is viewed as an essential part of the education of graduate students aspiring to academic posts, and is required of all students working under assistantships. The department provides opportunities for graduate assistants to gain teaching experience in a variety of courses.

New and continuing graduate students may apply for graduate student assistantships, which are awarded by the dean on recommendation of the department. Applicants with previous teaching experience are preferred. Graduate assistants without previous teaching experience will be required to take ENGL 400 Rhetoric and Teaching of Writing before the first semester in which they teach.