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M.A./Ph.D. in English

Message from Dr. Lisa Hinrichsen, Director of Graduate Studies

Welcome to the web pages of the M.A. and Ph.D. Programs in English at the University of Arkansas.  Our university is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, recently ranked by U.S. News as the fifth best city in which to live

We at the M.A. and Ph.D. Programs in English are committed to the thorough advising of our graduate students from the time they start their programs to the time they complete their degrees. We are also dedicated to helping our graduate students 1) complete their degree programs in a timely manner and with as little debt as possible, 2) remain healthy and happy throughout their courses of study, and 3) prepare to be highly qualified candidates for a range of professional careers both inside and outside of academia.

Admission to our graduate programs is competitive. We typically admit three to five Ph.D. students and ten to fifteen M.A. students each fall, providing as many as possible with enough financial assistance to help them avoid accumulating significant school-related debt. Most if not all of our incoming M.A. students are awarded teaching assistantships with full tuition waivers. Most if not all of our incoming Ph.D. students are awarded doctoral fellowships, as well as teaching assistantships with full tuition waivers.

Finally, our department's Program in Rhetoric and Composition systematically and thoroughly trains our new graduate TAs in the teaching of composition and literature through graduate courses, workshops, and peer and faculty mentoring programs.

 graduate handbook coverM.A. Program

Those students entering our M.A. program can choose between two tracks, generalist and specialist, to structure their course of graduate study. The second option allows M.A. students to specialize in Comparative Literature; Cultural Studies; Ethnic and Regional Literatures; Gender and Sexuality; Medieval Literature; Modern American Literature; or Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy. All M.A. students also now have the option of defending a thesis or developing a portfolio to complete their final program project.

Ph.D. Program

Students in the Ph.D. program can currently specialize in a wide range of areas, and our doctoral students are encouraged to customize their courses of study according to their individual interests and areas of expertise. Ph.D. students select their classes with guidance from the Director of Graduate Studies and develop their candidacy-exam reading lists, dissertation topics, and research agendas with guidance from the department's graduate faculty.


The Department of English at the University of Arkansas is committed to encouraging diversity with regard to the courses we offer, the students we recruit, and the academic community we support.  To ensure that we maintain a population of English M.A. and Ph.D. students that reflects a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, we encourage all prospective applicants to check out the financial assistance options described on our own programs' web pages as well as those recommended through the Graduate School's website.  We also welcome direct queries from students regarding our efforts toward diversity, our application process, our program options, and our campus and northwest Arkansas communities.


In addition to being rigorous in terms of the level of research and scholarship they require, our M.A. and Ph.D. programs likewise emphasize professionalization. To prepare students for entering the academic job market, we offer workshops and graduate courses that guide students with regard to presenting conference papers, writing and publishing articles, drafting and revising application materials, and interviewing. To prepare students for entering the nonacademic job market and pursuing alt-ac positions, each year we host at least one speaker panel event focusing upon careers in local industry, the non-profit sector, university administration, publishing, and other areas. We also regularly offer a course on graduate internships in English that allows our students to enhance the marketability of their degree by obtaining further skills in specific areas such as grant writing, copywriting, nonacademic publishing, assisting with the library's special collections division, managing social media outreach, and working within university administration (e.g., English Literature and Writing Living and Learning Community, administered by a department faculty member and the university housing office). The job placement information for our alumni attests to just how successful our graduates have been at both acquiring and promoting their skills and experiences to secure the careers that they want.

For More Information

If you are interested in applying to the M.A. or Ph.D. Program in English at the University of Arkansas, I invite you to peruse the rest of our web pages and, if you have questions about either program, to contact me directly at