English, M.A., Ph.D.

Saint Louis University’s Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy programs in English provide students with scholarly training in language and literature, with courses covering subjects from Old Norse to contemporary writing.

About the Program

As a graduate student with SLU’s Department of English, you can choose a specialization from a full range of literary fields, including rhetoric and composition. The program will equip you with the theories and methods of linguistic and literary analysis, which will help prepare you for your professional career.

Program Highlights

Both our master's and doctoral students in English select their own examination advisers and have a prominent voice in shaping examination and thesis boards. Reinforcing the voice our students have in important elements of their program is the English Graduate Organization, an active group that works with the faculty to promote the professionalization of graduate students through activities such as workshops on career preparation, trips to learned conferences and on-campus symposia.

Master's Curriculum and Program Details

The non-thesis option for the Master of Arts in English degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework. The thesis option, which is recommended for those interested in eventually pursuing a Ph.D., allows students to substitute a thesis for six of the 30 required credit hours of coursework. Both options are normally completed in two years.

M.A. students planning to teach at Saint Louis University are required to take a class in the teaching of writing in their first semester, and all must take courses in the methods of literary research and critical theory; other coursework is elective. At the conclusion of coursework, students pursuing the non-thesis option take a one-hour oral examination.

If you pursue the thesis option, you’ll select a topic in consultation with a director, have your completed thesis reviewed by a board, and then be examined orally over both the thesis and the general M.A. reading list.

Ph.D. Curriculum and Program Details

SLU’s Ph.D. in English requires a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework beyond the M.A., followed by a doctoral competency exam and the completion of a dissertation. You will choose from the following tracks for the focus of your Ph.D. studies in English:

  • Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature
  • Medieval and early 16th-century British literature
  • Early modern British literature
  • The British long 19th century
  • 19th-century American literature
  • Modern Irish literature
  • 20th-century British literature and cultural contexts
  • 20th- and 21st-century American literature
  • Transatlantic modernisms
  • Contemporary postcolonial/non-Western literatures and cultures
  • Rhetoric and composition
  • Life writing
  • 18th-21st Century African American Literature
The doctoral competency exam consists of a competency essay (written over seven days) and an oral exam. During the oral exam, students are asked questions about their competency essay, as well as texts on their preparatory reading list. Before taking their comprehensive exams, all Ph.D. candidates must display reading proficiency in one modern foreign language relevant to their research. Students concentrating in medieval or Renaissance literature also need to demonstrate competence in either Latin or classical Greek.  
  • Paul Acker, Ph.D.
  • Saher Alam
  • Toby R. Benis, Ph.D.
  • Harold K. Bush Jr., Ph.D.
  • Vincent Casaregola, Ph.D.
  • Stephen Casmier, Ph.D.
  • Juliana Chow, Ph.D.
  • Ellen Crowell, Ph.D.
  • Ruth Evans, Ph.D.
  • Nathan Grant, Ph.D.
  • Antony J. Hasler, Ph.D.
  • Devin Johnston, Ph.D.
  • Paul Lynch, Ph.D.
  • Janice McIntire-Strasburg, Ph.D.
  • Nathaniel Rivers, Ph.D.
  • Jennifer Rust, Ph.D.
  • Jonathan Sawday, Ph.D.
  • Rachel Greenwald Smith, Ph.D.
  • Anne Stiles, Ph.D.
  • Donald Stump, Ph.D.
  • Joya Uraizee, Ph.D.
  • Sara van den Berg, Ph.D.
  • Joe Weixlmann, Ph.D.
  • Phyllis Weliver, D.Phil.
Recent graduates from SLU’s English program have accepted tenure-track faculty positions at Creighton University, University of Central Florida, University of Detroit-Mercy, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla), Truman State University and University of North Texas, Dallas. Graduates who pursued non-academic paths have accepted positions such as document analyst at the National Geospace Intelligence Agency, corporate training manager at Enterprise Holdings and the director of research communication at Washington University's School of Medicine.
Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2017-2018 Tuition and Fees
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Scholarships and Financial Aid
SLU’s English department aims to provide graduate assistantships to all students entering the program. The typical assistantship affords two years of support for master’s candidates and at least four years of support for doctoral candidates in the form of a nine-month stipend, 18 credit hours of tuition remission each year and health insurance. 

Applicant Criteria

Most admitted students meet the following criteria:

  • Strong GPA, GRE Verbal and Writing scores, writing sample and recommendations
  • Professional goal statement that aligns well with the curricula the department offers
  • Sufficient TOEFL score (for international students)

To apply, you’ll need:

Application Requirements

Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation
GRE G scores
Writing sample (10 pages)
Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

Assistantship Application Deadline

Students who want to be considered for an assistantship must submit their applications by Jan. 1.

Review Process

Members of the department’s graduate committee examine applicants' materials and make admission and funding recommendations.


Department Journals and Colloquia

SLU’s English department is affiliated with the Ong Center for Language and Culture. In addition to participating in various writing programs, including University Writing Services, our English faculty and graduate students participate in departmental research colloquia and reading groups. SLU also hosts the journal African American Review as well as the New Chaucer Society, the world's leading scholarly organization in medieval literature and culture.