The graduate program in English at Washington University in St. Louis is innovative, approachably sized, and generously funded, with all seven incoming students receiving full tuition scholarships plus yearly fellowships worth more than $20,000 in the 2012-13 academic year. Our faculty of thirty-six includes Guggenheim Fellows, winners of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In recent years, we have been recognized as the nation’s fourth-ranked English department in faculty research productivity. A participant in the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate, we exemplify an integrated community of scholars and writers, and are home to one of the top ten MFA programs in the U.S. We sponsor multiple reading groups, regular faculty and student colloquia, and an extensive lecture series. The endowed Hurst Visiting Professorship brings eight or more distinguished creative and critical voices to the department each year. Charles Altieri, Michael Bérubé, Simon Gikandi, Sandra Gilbert, Louise Glück, Jorie Graham, Donna Haraway, Edward P. Jones, Bruno Latour, Jerome McGann, Paul Muldoon, Marjorie Perloff, Richard Powers, Salman Rushdie, Helen Vendler, Priscilla Wald, Slavoj Žižek, and other Hurst Professors not only present public talks but also lead small workshops open only to graduate students.
While our program is rooted in the materials of literary history, medieval to post-postmodern, interdisciplinarity is more than an aspirational slogan here. It is no accident that English faculty members founded both the university’s American Culture Studies major and its Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities, or that our professors have headed the campus-wide Center for the Humanities and the Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry postdoctoral program endowed by the Mellon Foundation. Many of our classes are designed to promote movement across various humanities units and disciplines, from History to Comparative Literature, African American Studies to the Center on Religion and Politics. As a complement to their grounding in Anglophone literature, our PhD students may earn formal certificates in American Culture Studies, Film and Media Studies, Translation Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the Teaching of Composition.
We believe that intellectual community is fostered by concrete working relationships between professors and students and offer collaborative teaching opportunities with experienced faculty. No student is required to teach during his or her first two years of graduate study, however. Without exception, admitted students are funded through fellowships during their four semesters of required coursework. Starting in their fifth semester, students teach one course per term in intimate classes capped at fifteen. Teaching assistantships and co-teaching positions in advanced undergraduate literature classes then follow. In their fifth or sixth year, PhD candidates are regularly awarded a one-year dissertation writing fellowship freeing them from all other service. Graduate students in good standing can expect six years of full funding in all.
To counteract the worst of the rocky academic job market, we offer the year-round assistance of a Graduate Placement Committee led by three professors. With their help, our PhDs of the past ten years have found tenure track positions at institutions such as Drury University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Rutgers University, San Francisco State University, St. Andrews University in Scotland, Susquehanna University, the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, the University of Dayton, the University of North Carolina, Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and Wittenberg University. We believe that we are successful in placement because of the unusual level of support we offer in the first critical years of graduate work, and because of our faculty’s commitment to careful mentoring in the years beyond them. The long-term value of such mentoring can be measured in the publication records of our PhDs, several of whom have issued books with major university presses including Cambridge, Notre Dame, Oxford, Penn State, and Yale.
We would be pleased to have you visit Washington University in St. Louis—founded by T. S. Eliot’s paternal grandfather in 1853 and ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the nation’s fourteenth best national university in 2012. Ours is a beautiful Collegiate Gothic campus next to the largest urban park in the U.S., both set within a historic gateway city that features several major (and free) art museums, a noted symphony orchestra and jazz scene, and any number of good restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, and bars. Housing here is varied, often excellent, and relatively inexpensive. For several of these reasons, Washington University was rated number nine for quality of life among all U.S. universities in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review.
Contact the Assistant to the Graduate Program:
Campus Box 1122
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899