About the PhD Program

The PhD program in English at LSU offers advanced instruction and research in a wide array of areas. Our traditional strengths in critical theory, Southern literature, and American literature thrive; yet we have about forty internationally-known graduate faculty in most established and many emerging areas of study. Among them are cultural studies, Victorian, post-colonial, Rhetoric and Composition, Louisiana and Caribbean, folklore, African-American, Atlantic studies, and many more.

Because we mostly admit PhD students we can support financially, our incoming class is moderately sized:  we typically admit twelve into the PhD or MA/PhD program per year. For students entering with an MA in hand, the program is designed to take four to five years; for those entering with a BA only, the program will probably take six to seven years.  Students entering with a BA typically acquire the MA during coursework. Graduate seminars are small, normally averaging around ten or twelve. Our highly-qualified students come from all over the country and even the world, most recently from Japan, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, France, Ireland, England, Bulgaria, and Afghanistan.

We pride ourselves on individual Programs of Study that each PhD student designs with the guidance of professor-advisors. The PhD Program includes two tracks:  Literary Studies and Writing & Culture.  Each track permits a variety of concentrations, such as Medieval and Renaissance or post-colonial studies within the Literary Studies track, and Rhetoric and Composition or women’s and gender studies within the Writing & Culture track. In addition to focusing on a concentration, our PhD students fulfill course requirements for breadth and pedagogical training. Students also have the option of completing a minor either within English or in another department.

A major advantage of our program is that our graduate students teach one course per semester.  This is an attractive teaching load for Graduate Teaching Assistants. It is low enough to avoid slowing down anyone’s degree progress while providing substantial teaching experience in a variety of courses, including literature. We also have a long-standing set of annual workshops to coach our students on strategies for placement and to help them develop professionally.