Our advanced-degree programs in English Literature/Film and Writing Studies are designed to provide students with the training in research and teaching they need to obtain academic jobs. However, because of the limited number of tenure-track faculty positions at colleges and universities today, especially after the 2008 economic crash, our department has pursued career development in and beyond higher education.

Whether our students leave at the master’s level or finishing their PhD’s, they find the degrees provide them with strong leverage in other areas of work or study; in recent years these areas have included law school, library school, technical writing, academic administration, secondary and primary education, computing, entrepreneurship, and union organizing. 

Job Placement Services

We continue to place our literature and film Ph.D.s in tenure-track jobs in levels consistent with peer institutions. We are especially pleased to report that nearly every one of our recent Writing Studies Ph.D.s has secured a tenure-track position. Students succeed because of their strong teaching records and cutting-edge research, and we help them through our extensive job placement services.

The English Graduate Program offers a Placement Service designed to meet the needs of graduates seeking college teaching jobs. A dedicated Job Placement Director helps our graduates, both MAs and PhDs, to create effective applications. They provide individualized feedback on application materials, coordinate efforts by faculty to help job-seekers, give advice about letters of recommendation and interviewing, arrange practice interview sessions in the fall semester, and in all other ways help our graduates in their job search. Our current Director of Job Placement is Catharine Gray.

Graduate College Resources

The University of Illinois has been at the forefront of helping humanities doctoral students gain the experience necessary for jobs both in and beyond institutions of higher education, and the guidance to apply for them. The English Department has also established recurring colloquia for careers beyond the search for a tenure-track teaching position, bringing successful alumni back to describe their careers and how they pursued them. 

The Graduate College has general Career Services open to all students enrolled in our graduate programs. Our students have found the workshops aimed at Ph.D.’s in the Humanities especially helpful. Run out of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, Humanities Without Walls has become a conduit for students seeking to gain work experience and explore jobs beyond higher education.