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Graduate Coursework Requirements

Note: In their first 3 years, student must be registered for a minimum of 3 course units (CUs) per semester in order to be considered full-time students in good standing and to be eligible for the fellowship stipend. 1 grad seminar = 1 CU. After coursework, students are enrolled in placeholder courses that account for the independent work they are completing.

Graduate Coursework Requirements

MA students must complete a total of 8 grade-bearing graduate seminars, 4 per semester, including at least 1 7000-level course.

PhD students must complete a total of 14 grade-bearing graduate seminars in their first 2 years, inclusive of ENGL 6000 (First-Year Proseminar) and ENGL 8000 (Pedagogy). PhD students must take at least 5 7000-level courses. We recommend a 4:4 schedule in the first year, and a 3:3 schedule in the second year. In cases where a student has an outstanding coursework requirement at the start of their third year, they must complete their requirement by the end of the fall semester. PhD students must also fulfill distribution requirements (see requirements below).

Graduate Coursework Rules

MA and PhD students may take 1 graduate-level course per semester outside of the English Department. Graduate-level courses taken outside of English may count toward the coursework requirement. 

MA and PhD students may take graduate-level courses at participating universities in the Ivy+ Exchange Program, and at Rutgers University, with whom we have a separate reciprocal agreement. Graduate-level courses taken under these agreements may count toward the coursework requirement. 

PhD students may take up to 2 grade-bearing independent studies, contingent on the permission of a faculty advisor and the graduate chair. Up to 2 independent studies may count toward the coursework requirement.

MA students may take Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) courses. MLA courses may count toward the coursework requirement. PhD students may not count MLA courses toward the coursework requirement.

ENGL 8500, ENGL 8510, and ENGL 9950 may not be counted toward the coursework requirement. 

Students will receive a letter grade for their seminar performance. MA and PhD students must maintain a 3.0 (B) average to be considered in good standing.

Graduate students are permitted to take up to 1 long incomplete per year. See Incompletes page more information.

MA and PhD students may audit a maximum of 2 courses per semester. This includes undergraduate- and graduate-level language courses in other departments. 

PhD students in their third year and beyond may take up to 1 additional graduate seminar per semester.

Graduate Seminar Levels

Most of our graduate seminars are categorized as either 5000- or 7000-levels.

5000-level courses are broader in conception and aimed at coverage of a particular literary period, genre, or author(s). Instructors are encouraged, but not required, to include assignments that venture away from conventional academic writing (public-facing, creative, creative-critical, multimodal, etc.).

7000-level seminars will be narrower in conception and will address more circumscribed problems, themes, objects, or methods. Instructors are encouraged to assign a full-length (20- to 25-page) academic essay as their final assignment. 

ENGL 6000, First-Year Proseminar, is our department's introduction to graduate study in literature. PhD students are required to take Proseminar in the fall semester of their first year. MA students are welcome to take Proseminar, but are not required to. 

8000-level courses include our Pedagogy courses and workshops, field exam preparation, and dissertation proposal workshop. 

9000-level course include independent studies, independent reading, and dissertation courses.

Distribution Requirements

PhD students must fulfill the following distribution requirements through coursework:

a. One course pre-1700

b. One course 1700-1900

c. One course post-1900

d. One course on literature of the Americas

e. One course on literature outside the Americas

f. One course in minority literature (racial, ethnic, gender, sexuality)

The general expectation is that PhD students will take at least 2 seminars from outside their primary period, national or geographic area, and methodological or theoretical area of study.

A single course may be counted toward 2 requirements. For example, a course on "Race and Empire in Eighteenth-Century English Literature" would fulfill 2 of any of the following distribution requirements: b, e, or f.

In cases where ther is uncertainty about the classification of the course, students should consult the Graduate Chair. In general, a course will count toward a distribution requirement if the student's final paper or project engages substantially with that requirement's subject matter.