The department is pleased to offer M.A. and Ph.D. candidates a diversity of intellectual, pedagogic, and community opportunities as well as those resources and facilities necessary to take advantage of such opportunities. We believe that our degree programs strike a crucial balance by combining a generalist vision with a flexible accommodation of individual interests. In both the M.A. and Ph.D. degree programs students pursue a broad-based course of study alongside more specialized work in one of five concentrations or options: creative writing, folklore, linguistics/TESOL, literary and cultural studies, and rhetoric and composition. Graduate students may also supplement their course of study in African American literature, children's literature, critical theory, and women's studies.
The department is committed to creating a graduate community where scholarly, creative, pedagogic, and outreach or activist endeavors can flourish. Prominent guest lecturers, including Cathy Birkenstein, Sandra Cisneros, Robert Coover, Toi Derricotte, Elaine Lawless, Henry Glassie, Gerald Graff, Susan Gubar, Carol Mattingly, Jerome Rothenberg, Elaine Showalter, Stephen Watt, and Joseph Wiesenfarth, regularly bring a sense of the most current work being done both in and beyond the academy. In the meantime, the department also sponsors the annual Levy Lecture, which has over the decades invited to the campus such lecturers as Isaac Singer, Robert Coles, Bruno Bettelheim, Walker Percy, Cleanth Brooks, Peter Gay, Mark Edmundson, Moshe Halbertal, and Andrew Delbanco. Intradepartmentally, workshops and colloquia bring the faculty and graduate students together to share work, discuss literature, critical theory, pedagogy, and those concerns defining the contemporary academy.
Graduate students in the Department of English also take significant part in academic and community endeavors, working at the forefront of local, regional, and national events, including the British Women Writers Conference, “La Vie en Acadie” (the Folklife Festival associated with Festival Acadiens), the annual Deep South Festival of Writers, the Society for the Study of Southern Literature Conference, the annual Louisiana Conference on Literature, Language, and Culture, and the Louisiana Association for College Composition Conference. Our graduate students also participate in editing ventures through work with journals housed at the University of Louisiana; in particular, graduate students have served as staff for the Southwestern Review, Louisiana Folklore Miscellany, and Fairy Tale Review.
The department, aware of the complexity of the job market and committed to successful placement of its graduates, offers instruction in various dimensions of professionalization. In recent years, faculty have led colloquia on constructing curricula vitae, presenting and networking at academic conferences, submitting abstracts and manuscripts, writing job application letters, building dossiers and teaching portfolios, and performing at job and on-campus interviews. Additionally, the department’s network of former graduates across the United States has proven helpful in assessing and enhancing our graduates’ success on the job market. Our Ph.D. graduates in the last five years have acquired faculty positions in universities and colleges all over the country, including Middle Tennessee, Colby Sawyer (NH), University of Illinois at Springfield, Delta State (MS), University of Washington, DC, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Alabama (visiting professor), Winona State (MN), Missouri Southern, and LaGrange College (GA).