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. With academia increasingly shifting away from tenure-track jobs towards temporary positions, our department continues to help our literature and film PhDs secure both tenure-track and shorter-term teaching jobs in higher education as visiting assistant professors, lecturers, postdoctoral fellows, and instructors in levels consistent with peer institutions. We are especially pleased to report that nearly every one of our recent Writing Studies PhDs has been offered a tenure-track position.
Many more of our graduates continue their teaching careers as K-12 instructors and administrators, and some transition into higher education administration. Additionally, our graduates also find careers beyond education, securing positions in data and library science, marketing and communication, writing and editing, and other fields. Current and former students interested in further information should contact the Director of Graduate Studies or the Job Placement Director.
Departmental Academic Career Services
To best prepare our graduate students for the academic job market, a dedicated Job Placement Director helps our graduates, both MAs and PhDs, create effective applications, including services such as hosting workshops, providing individualized feedback on application materials, coordinating efforts by faculty to help job-seekers, giving advice about letters of recommendation and interviewing, arranging practice interview sessions, and so on to help our graduates in their job search.
These services are generally offered to graduate students in the last year or two of their enrollment in the program (Stage III), and begin in May or June, lasting through the fall and spring semesters. Graduate students seeking employment in academia can find more information at the bottom of the Graduate Resources page.
Graduate College Career Services
The University of Illinois has been at the forefront of helping humanities doctoral students gain the experience necessary for jobs beyond institutions of higher education, and the guidance to apply for them. Graduate students and postdocs seeking employment beyond academia should consider the resources available through The Graduate College Career Services, which offers various types of support—from workshops to one-on-one appointments—in securing meaningful careers at Illinois and beyond.
Graduate students may also find useful Imagine PhD, a free digital career exploration tool specifically designed for PhD students in the humanities and social sciences, as well as Humanities Without Walls, a conduit for students seeking to gain work experience and explore jobs beyond higher education.