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Department of English Graduate Studies

Overview & Programs

The graduate program in English at Washington State University supports students working toward advanced degrees at both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. Students may elect to concentrate either in Literary Studies or Rhetoric and Composition. The English Department also offers graduate certificates in TESOL, Digital Humanities and Culture, and participates in WSU’s interdisciplinary American Studies Program. Along with courses in English, students are free to take specialized seminars in related disciplines such as History, Women’s Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science.


Graduate Programs in English

WSU’s English graduate program is one of the few programs in the nation that fully funds almost all of its M.A. and Ph.D. students. As a consequence, ours is a relatively small program: the total number of students at any given time ranges between 40 and 50, and the normal admission rate is roughly ten M.A. students and five or six Ph.D. students per year. Virtually all of our students receive support in the form of a Teaching Assistantship, which comes with a full tuition waiver and a nine-month stipend to cover room, board, and related expenses. M.A. students are guaranteed their Teaching Assistantships for two years, and Ph.D. students for five years. We also provide students with annual funding for travel to conferences, and opportunities exist within the Department for internships with our academic journals (ESQ and Poe Studies) and our computer lab.

Our time-to-degree figure for doctoral students is significantly lower than the national average. Our job placement rate, meanwhile, is significantly higher than the national average (see our Alumni & Job Placement page for details). We attribute our relative success in this regard to the fact that we provide rigorous academic and pedagogical preparation while simultaneously offering forms of mentoring and pre-professional training that enable our students to compete successfully in multiple postgraduate career paths.


If you are interested in learning more about our program, our faculty, or the opportunities afforded by graduate study in English at WSU, we encourage you to follow the links in the left-hand sidebar on this page. You are also welcome to contact, the current Director of Graduate Studies, Jon Hegglund (  or our Graduate Program Coordinator (, for additional information. We would be happy to help you contact current graduate students or faculty members, and we can also assist you in arranging a visit to campus.

Degrees offered:

Master of Arts (M.A.) Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Areas of concentration:

Rhetoric and Composition, Literary studies (British, American, and post colonial Anglophone literature)

Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes for the English graduate program (both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees) include the following:

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of contemporary English Studies and its various sub-disciplines.
  • Employ substantial knowledge of more specialized areas within English Studies in locating and synthesizing important scholarly sources, with the goal of producing essays and projects of publishable quality that persuasively defend original theses.
  • Conduct original research in such sub-disciplines as literary studies, rhetorical theory, composition studies, digital technology, second-language learning, etc., under the supervision of faculty members expert in that discipline.
  • Disseminate original research findings in appropriate academic settings, such as regional conferences, departmental colloquia, or at WSU’s annual “Academic Showcase.”
  • As a vehicle for articulating new claims and presenting the results of original research and thinking, produce scholarly essays or create texts of other kinds, such as scholarly essays destined for peer-reviewed journals or edited collections, or of academic or creative texts in other appropriate venues.
  • Teach courses in English Studies, including First-Year Composition and courses in literary or rhetorical study.