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English, Ph.D.

English

Enhance your expertise with a Ph.D. in English with specializations in Literature, Writing, Film, and more. Flexible options.

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English, Ph.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English is offered through the College of Liberal Arts at MTSU and promotes the kind of dual specializations that provide a breadth of knowledge and are often sought in academic employment. Students may seek specializations in the fields of American, British, and Global English Literature; Composition and Rhetoric; Criticism and Critical Theory; and Film Studies. Courses are designed as seminars, and graduate students may expect highly individualized attention from the graduate faculty.

Graduate study in English engages in the deep and intense study of literature and writing, language, and theory, undertaken for the special growth in knowledge and understanding of the world of human expressions and experiences that such studies bring. It also provides preparation and training for careers within and outside of the academy. Students who attain degrees in this program enrich each other through their diversity of experiences and perspectives and take the cultural and intellectual wealth of their interactions and knowledge into their communities with them as they integrate their lives beyond the seminar room.

Pursue the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in English at MTSU with a nationally and internationally recognized faculty teaching diverse courses in literature, writing, film, and various expressions of language and culture. Students are encouraged to think and create freely within a structure that provides support from peers, guidance from faculty, resources for research, challenging goals, and rigorous standards. The relatively small size of graduate seminars allows for encouraging individualized attention. Assistantships are available, as well as awards and fellowships.

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Careers
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Faculty
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News Briefs

Dr. Mischa Renfroe and Graduate Students work on the Complete Works of Edith Wharton

Dr. Mischa Renfroe and Graduate Students work on the Complete Works of Edith Wharton

Though Edith Wharton is widely celebrated as one of the nation’s finest writers, her work has not generated a comprehensive scholarly edition befitting her literary standing. To fill this void, Oxford University Press will publish The Complete Works of Edith Wharton (CWEWh) in thirty volumes that adhere to the highest editorial standards. In 2020, Dr. Mischa Renfroe began editing Volume 13: The Reef (1912), and in the fall of 2022, she received an MTSU Non-Instructional Assignment Grant to support the project. The first step involved acquiring Wharton’s handwritten manuscripts from the Beinecke Library at Yale University and completing transcriptions of almost 800 pages. The project also required careful word by word comparisons of several editions of the novel published during Wharton’s lifetime. The scholarly edition will include a record of Wharton’s revisions, providing important insights into her writing process and concerns. More recently, Dr. Renfroe visited the Wharton Collection at the Beinecke, where she explored unpublished letters, journals, and other archival materials. She also dedicated a day to examining books from Wharton’s personal library at The Mount. This archival work will inform an introductory essay as well as explanatory notes for the edition.

Dr. Renfroe is grateful to the English department for the opportunity to collaborate with two amazing graduate student research assistants. Doctoral candidate Chelsea Meeks served as a co-transcriber, separately transcribing manuscripts and discussing transcription decisions. Doctoral candidate Harley Mercadal collated the American first edition of The Reef with its British counterpart and proofread the typed copy-text from Oxford University Press. These dedicated graduate students have made substantial contributions to the project by working on a word-division list, unearthing contemporary reviews and advertisements, locating academic research, and tracking down valuable materials in archives.

Graduate African American Literature Course

Graduate African American Literature Course

Dr. Laura ٳܰ’s African American Literature seminar (ENGL 6221/7221) offers students an exploration of the rich African American literary tradition through an examination of critically acclaimed writers, texts, and adaptations in film and television. Participants are encouraged to embark on independent research projects that extend beyond the assigned readings and screenings, that culminate in an essay of literary criticism intended for presentation at a specific conference, inclusion in an essay collection, or publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In the fall of 2023, Dr. Dubek's seminar students met up at Starbucks with the primary texts they chose for their independent research projects. The chosen texts included: Kindred by Octavia Butler, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson.

鶹Ӱ’s English Ph.D. program aims to provide a graduate experience with tight-knit faculty, multiple hands-on training opportunities and a supportive environment.  Kylie Petrovich, a current Ph.D. candidate in the program, recently began her dissertation and shared about her decision to pursue her degree within the university’s Department of English.  “When looking at Ph.D. programs, MTSU

News Briefs

Dr. Mischa Renfroe and Graduate Students work on the Complete Works of Edith Wharton

Though Edith Wharton is widely celebrated as one of the nation’s finest writers, her work has not generated a comprehensive scholarly edition befitting her literary standing. To fill this void, Oxford University Press will publish The Complete Works of Edith Wharton (CWEWh) in thirty volumes that adhere to the highest editorial standards. In 2020, Dr. Mischa Renfroe began editing Volume 13: The Reef (1912), and in the fall of 2022, she received an MTSU Non-Instructional Assignment Grant to support the project. The first step involved acquiring Wharton’s handwritten manuscripts from the Beinecke Library at Yale University and completing transcriptions of almost 800 pages. The project also required careful word by word comparisons of several editions of the novel published during Wharton’s lifetime. The scholarly edition will include a record of Wharton’s revisions, providing important insights into her writing process and concerns. More recently, Dr. Renfroe visited the Wharton Collection at the Beinecke, where she explored unpublished letters, journals, and other archival materials. She also dedicated a day to examining books from Wharton’s personal library at The Mount. This archival work will inform an introductory essay as well as explanatory notes for the edition.

Dr. Renfroe is grateful to the English department for the opportunity to collaborate with two amazing graduate student research assistants. Doctoral candidate Chelsea Meeks served as a co-transcriber, separately transcribing manuscripts and discussing transcription decisions. Doctoral candidate Harley Mercadal collated the American first edition of The Reef with its British counterpart and proofread the typed copy-text from Oxford University Press. These dedicated graduate students have made substantial contributions to the project by working on a word-division list, unearthing contemporary reviews and advertisements, locating academic research, and tracking down valuable materials in archives.

Graduate African American Literature Course

Dr. Laura ٳܰ’s African American Literature seminar (ENGL 6221/7221) offers students an exploration of the rich African American literary tradition through an examination of critically acclaimed writers, texts, and adaptations in film and television. Participants are encouraged to embark on independent research projects that extend beyond the assigned readings and screenings, that culminate in an essay of literary criticism intended for presentation at a specific conference, inclusion in an essay collection, or publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In the fall of 2023, Dr. Dubek's seminar students met up at Starbucks with the primary texts they chose for their independent research projects. The chosen texts included: Kindred by Octavia Butler, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson.

鶹Ӱ’s English Ph.D. program aims to provide a graduate experience with tight-knit faculty, multiple hands-on training opportunities and a supportive environment.  Kylie Petrovich, a current Ph.D. candidate in the program, recently began her dissertation and shared about her decision to pursue her degree within the university’s Department of English.  “When looking at Ph.D. programs, MTSU

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CAREERS

English Ph.D. Careers

The Ph.D. program in English enjoys a highly successful placement record for its graduates. Some potential professional careers include:

  • academic/university official
  • academic or career advisor
  • advertising/public relations executive
  • archivist
  • brand strategist
  • college professor
  • communications officer
  • content manager
  • copywriter
  • creative writer
  • director/support staff for non-profit organizations
  • editor
  • human resources generalist
  • instructional designer
  • internal communications executive
  • lawyer (after law school)
  • librarian
  • manager
  • marketing associate
  • playwright
  • professional/technical writer
  • public servant
  • publisher
  • reporter
  • researcher
  • reviewer
  • school administrator
  • search engine optimization (SEO) specialist
  • social media manager
  • software developer
  • teacher
  • translator
  • writing coach

Present and past employers of MTSU English Ph.D. alumni include

  • Accurate Healthcare Professionals
  • University of Alabama, Huntsville
  • Alabama State University
  • Appalachian State University
  • Aquinas College
  • Auburn University
  • University of Arizona
  • Belmont University
  • C. S. Lewis Foundation (Oxford, England)
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Columbia State Community College
  • Covenant College
  • Cumberland University
  • University of the Cumberlands
  • Daytona State College
  • Fisk University
  • GardaWorld/Feisty Records
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Goodworks Global Ministries
  • IQTalent Partners, Inc.
  • Ingram Books
  • Ingram Content Group
  • Judson College
  • Kansas State University
  • Kennesaw State University
  • King Saud University
  • Langston University
  • Lipscomb University
  • Longwood University
  • Madisonville Community College
  • Metro-Nashville Public Schools
  • Michigan State University
  • 鶹Ӱ
  • University of Mississippi
  • Missouri Valley College
  • University of Montana
  • Motlow State Community College
  • University of North Alabama
  • University of North Carolina, Pembroke
  • Northern Borders University
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Northrop Gurmman
  • Northwest University
  • Oakland High School
  • Premier Industrial Solutions
  • Riverdale High School
  • Roane State Community College
  • Rust College
  • Rutherford County Schools
  • Savannah State University
  • Smyrna High School
  • Southern Adventist University
  • University of Southern Indiana
  • State University of New York, Adirondack
  • Stonebridge Wealth Management
  • Sumner County Board of Education
  • Talladega College
  • Tennessee State University
  • Tennessee Technical University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Tishreen University
  • Trevecca Nazarene University
  • Umm Qura University
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Volunteer State Community College
  • Watkins College of Art and Design
  • West Virginia Higher Education Commission
  • Western Kentucky University

REQUIREMENTS

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FACULTY

INFORMATION

Admission Process for Graduate Program in English:

You may or by filling out and sending in an application (found in the back of the graduate catalog). A $35 application fee is due at the time of application. In order to complete your application, you will need to see that the following materials are sent to the College of Graduate Studies, Sam H. Ingram Building, MTSU Box 42, Murfreesboro, TN 37132:

  • All undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation (These can be emailed to[email protected])
  • GRE scores (We look primarily at the Verbal and Analytical portions of the General exam; the English subject test, though not required, is recommended.)
  • A short statement of purpose (500 words or so) in which you present your reasons for wishing to pursue graduate studies in English (your professional plans, areas of interest, etc.) as well as any relevant experience that prepares you for graduate studies.

APPLICATION DEADLINESfor fall semester admission:

February 1st for those wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships

March 1st for all others

APPLICATION DEADLINESfor spring semester admission must be completed by October 1.

For more information, visit the English Department section of the,, and.

For more information, visit the English Department section of theGraduate CatalogandAdmissions to the College of Graduate Studies.

Assistantships

If you would like to be considered for a graduate assistantship, in addition to the material required for the general application, you will need to fill out an application for anand send it to the Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department (P.O. Box 70, Department of English, 鶹Ӱ, Murfreesboro, TN 37132) along with a short statement of purpose (500 words or so) in which you present your reasons for wishing to pursue graduate studies in English (your professional plans, areas of interest, etc.) as well as any relevant experience that prepares you for graduate studies.

Ph.D.-level graduate assistants:
Doctoral level assistants are generally given teaching assignments (two courses a semester), if they have some previous tutoring or teaching experience. If they have not already taken appropriate pedagogy courses, they will be expected to take Seminar in Teaching Composition (ENGL 6821/7821) intheir first year of the program. Doctoral-level stipends are presently $14,000 for a twelve-month contract, with a waiver of tuition and fees.

For more information, visit the.

 

Awards

In addition to providing full tuition to graduate assistants, MTSU rewards excellence by offering the Albert and Ethel Carver Smith Award ($2,000). In addition, the English Department offers the following to qualified graduate students:

  • The Peck Award
  • The Neil D. Frazier Writing Award
  • The William R. Wolfe Graduate Writing Award
  • The John McDaniel Excellence in Teaching Awards
  • The Kevin J. Donovan Graduate Award for Excellence in Scholarship

Other Resources

Please visit the department'spage for more information.

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