Great Expectations

The doctoral program in English at the University of Kentucky is among the best in the country.  The 2010 National Research Council (NRC) survey of 119 PhD programs in English Language and Literature generated an overall score evaluating faculty, students, and the program as a whole (the “S” ranking).

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Based on its NRC-based rankings, University of Kentucky’s doctoral program in English is #12 out of the 119 English departments in the United States that grant PhDs.  The English Department at the University of Kentucky is ranked 8 among public institutions.  This ranking highlights the University of Kentucky’s exemplary record in faculty research and graduate student training, research, and job placement.  We scored particularly well in two key measures: faculty publications and graduate student placement. Since 2000, we have placed 94% of our doctoral students in academic jobs.

Graduate Study in English

The Department of English consists of forty full-time faculty members.  At present, there are around seventy students enrolled in graduate study in English.  We annually admit approximately 15 students to the MA and PhD programs, most of whom are awarded teaching assistantships and fellowships.

The Literature Program offers a range of courses in British, American, African-American Literature, Women’s Literature, Creative Writing, Film, Linguistics, and Composition and Rhetoric.  The Department encourages students to develop a broad knowledge of literary history.  Students wishing to complete the MA in English choose one of the following concentrations:  Literature, Film, or Linguistics.  The literature concentration offers a thesis and non-thesis option (Film and Linguistics only have the thesis option.)  To earn the PhD, students must complete required coursework, fulfill three years of residency, pass the Qualifying Examinations (written and oral), and write and defend a dissertation.  Also, many students go on to earn graduate certificates in Social Theory, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Teaching and Learning.

The department has an excellent placement record with students obtaining positions at the University of Arkansas, Kansas State University, University of North Dakota, Gonzaga University, Cardinal Stritch University, Chicago State University, Marshall University, and Western Kentucky University.

The University of Kentucky

English Department programs are made possible by a nationally recognized faculty, a strongly supportive University of Kentucky Research Foundation, an active university press, and a research library of 1.2 million volumes.  A $58 million library opened in 1998.  Strong in most areas for the study of literature, the library has developed outstanding collections in Nineteenth-Century English and American literature, including Appalachian literature and Women’s Studies.  Recently, the library acquired the papers of Harriette Simpson Arnow, author of The Dollmaker

UK is located in Lexington, Kentucky, center of a metropolitan area of approximately 300,000 people in the renowned Bluegrass Region.  Several prestigious colleges are nearby such as Berea College, Transylvania University, and Centre College, and Eastern Kentucky University and University of Louisville are a short drive away. Also, Lexington is in the heart of horse country, with its rolling green hills and white fences, and has a thriving cultural scene, particularly strong in literary and musical traditions.

Students interested in the program should take a look at our information on our curriculum, degree requirements, and admissions process.  If you have any questions about the program, please contact us (Jeanette Heinrichs, Graduate Studies Assistant).

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