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Graduate Studies in English

Saint Louis University’s graduate program in English allows students to gain educational and professional experience in literary studies, rhetoric, and composition.

Our accomplished SLU faculty and  highly engaged students comprise a lively and welcoming community of learners and thinkers. We see ourselves as inheritors of the Jesuit tradition of social justice, innovative pedagogy and deep commitment to the humanities. 


SLU English offers a two-year M.A. and a five-year Ph.D., both of which are fully funded. Ph.D. applicants must have completed an M.A. before matriculation. Our M.A. students who wish to continue to the Ph.D. are offered a streamlined application process. 

Courses and Fields of Study

We offer courses in writing pedagogy, literary theory, and research methods annually. Our other courses change from semester to semester, as our faculty develop graduate seminars based on their current research and debates in their fields. 

Recent Graduate Seminars 

  • Professor Jonathan Sawday’s The Space of the Page: A course about the material history of book pages from the early age of print to the present;
  • Professor Phyllis Weliver’s Liberalisms and 19th Century Literature: A course about the history of British liberalism and its influence on aesthetics; and
  • Professor Stephen Casmier’s Race, Consciousness, and Neo-Liberal Identity: A course about the intersections of race and capitalism in contemporary African American literature.

We offer focused study in a range of literary subfields. The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Vatican Film Library support our strength in medieval and early modern literature. We are the home of the African American Review and offer tracks in both 19th and 20th-21st century African American literature. And we support dissertations in rhetoric and composition focused on pedagogy, rhetorical theory and digital rhetorics. These are just a few of our departmental strengths. Applicants are encouraged to look carefully at our faculty pages to identify faculty with whom they may share interests.

Funding and Teaching 

All full-time students receive full funding unless they are supported by external grants. Our competitive funding packages include health insurance, full tuition remission and a living stipend. 

Students on funding teach courses in writing and literature, work as research assistants for faculty members, assist in departmental administration, tutor for SLU’s Writing Services, and work in the Writing Program’s Compass Lab. 

Competitive departmental grants are available for summer funding and graduate student travel.

Career Placement and Professionalization

We offer professional training in research and teaching, both in the classroom and in lively mentoring relationships with the faculty. At the end of a student’s time with us, our placement initiatives support students as they seek jobs and launch their careers.

The department offers support for both academic and non-academic professionalization. Our graduates routinely go on to careers in college and secondary-level teaching and academic administration, as well as in the non-profit and private sectors. 

Graduate Student Community

We are proud of our supportive graduate student community. The English Graduate Organization (EGO) hosts a wide range of reading groups and social activities and is represented on all standing departmental committees. 

Application Information

See the instructions on our M.A. and Ph.D. pages to apply to our programs. Questions about the program and the substance of the application can be directed to Questions about the application itself (fees, software, etc) can be directed to Graduate Admissions

Graduate Student Resources

Most necessary forms and requirements can be found in our graduate handbook (PDF). Lists for the Ph.D. exams can be found here (PDF). Please contact with any questions.