MA/PhD Program in Literary/Writing Studies

For more than 75 years, the Graduate Program in English at Illinois has provided students with a comprehensive education in literatures in English or in Writing Studies. Our graduates go on to tenure-track jobs across the nation and into a variety of careers, including in publishing, nonprofits, library and information science, and high school teaching.

Our combined MA/PhD program is divided into three stages for both Writing Studies and Literary Studies students: MA Coursework, PhD coursework and Special Fields Exam, and Dissertation and Defense. For a general overview of these stages, including instructions for current graduate students regarding Stage II applications, Special Fields Exam documents, and Prospectus guidelines, visit our "Stages of the Program" page. For subfield-specific requirements at each stage of the program, scroll down to the appropriate header below.

Current graduate students can find detailed academic resources here.

MA Requirements for Literary Studies (details)

Our Master's in Literary Studies provides students with a broad base of coursework in literature, culture, and theory as a preparation for more concentrated work at the doctoral level. 

MA Requirements for Writing Studies (details)

We are one of the top national programs for graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in Writing Studies and its many subfields (including but not limited to composition and rhetoric, discourse studies, literacy studies, language studies, computers and composition, and new-media studies). Students pursuing the Master's in Writing Studies build a foundation across these fields in preparation for more focused study at the doctoral level.

PhD Requirements for Literary Studies (details)

Doctoral students in Literary Studies write innovative dissertations in all areas of English, American, and Anglophone literature, from the medieval to the contemporary, as well as in film studies, cultural studies, and literary theory. Doctoral students also pursue interdisciplinary certificates and minors from departments across campus.

PhD Requirements for Writing Studies (details)

Doctoral students in the Writing Studies specialization focus their coursework and innovative dissertations in one of the many fields in Writing Studies, including composition and rhetoric, discourse studies, literacy studies, language studies, computers and composition, and new-media studies. They also often pursue the Center for Writing Studies Concentration

Stages of the Program (details)

The MA/PhD and PhD Programs are split into three stages, with different requirements at each stage. Find out more here, including information for current graduate students regarding Stage II applications, Special Fields Exam documents, and Dissertation Prospectus guidelines.