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«HANDBOOK FOR GRADUATE STUDY IN ENGLISH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE 2012-2013 INTRODUCTION The Department of English at the University of Delaware ...»

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The Department of English at the University of Delaware offers the M.A. and Ph.D.

degrees. The M.A. program emphasizes a comprehensive knowledge of literature,

whereas the Ph.D. program encourages students to define and pursue original scholarship

in the field of English studies. This handbook provides an outline of the requirements for these degrees. Many aspects of graduate work at the University of Delaware are covered by university regulations and can be found in the “Academic Regulations for Graduate Students” section of the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogue.

Nearly all graduate students in our programs are fully supported as either Graduate Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants. Valuable information about being a teaching assistant can be found in the TA Handbook, issued by the Center for Teaching Effectiveness. That handbook also provides a convenient summary of university policies that apply to the appointment of teaching assistants.

Other useful information on matters such as campus life, computer technology, policies on responsible computing, resources for foreign students, student health insurance, as well as a convenient index can be found at the Office of Graduate Studies’ Web site for current graduate students.

Material regarding the admissions process can be found in the relevant sections of the Graduate Catalogue and on the Department of English Web site.

English Graduate Handbook / 2


M.A. DEGREE The M.A. program is designed to introduce students to literary research, to extend their knowledge of British and American literature and culture, to offer training in literary theory and criticism, and to broaden the professional opportunities available for students preparing to teach composition and literature. For a flow chart of the M.A. degree, see Appendix A.

COURSEWORK The M.A. requires ten courses and a one-credit colloquium (31 credit hours) or eight courses (24 credit hours) plus thesis (6 credit hours) of ENGL 869, and the one-credit colloquium. All M.A. students must take the following required courses in the first year

of study:

• ENGL600, “Introduction to Graduate Study in English”

• ENGL688, “Teaching Composition”

All M.A. students must take the following required course in the second year of study:

• ENGL684, “Introduction to Literary Theory”

All MA students must also satisfy the following distribution requirements:

• One course in literature pre-1700

• One course in literature 1700-1900

• One course in literature 1900-present

• One course in literary or literary or cultural theory, or genre studies.

At least one of these courses must be in British and one in American literature. A reasonable balance between 600- and 800-level courses should be maintained. Courses numbered below 600 do not count toward the degree.

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Students must be able to demonstrate their comprehension of a language other than

English. Students may fulfill the language requirement in one of the following ways:

• Pass a comprehension examination administered by the English Department: a dictionary may be used to read a passage of approximately 1,000 words of critical prose in a foreign language. (Latin and Greek are exceptions: those passages will be of primary texts.) Then the student will answer a set of three or four questions based upon the reading. The questions and answers will be in English. An exam for any given language will be administered only once per year, either in the fall or spring depending on the language choice. Places and times of the examinations (usually in September or February) are announced at the beginning of each semester.

• Pass "French Readings: Ph.D. Candidates" (FREN533) or "German Readings:

Ph.D. Candidates" (GRMN533). Each is a three-credit course taught by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature. Only one of these courses is English Graduate Handbook / 3 offered per year.

• Submit proof of completion of an intermediate language course (typically the fourth course in the undergraduate sequence) or equivalent in which the students have received a grade of at least a B during their undergraduate education.

• By making alternate arrangements approved by the Graduate Committee.


All students will take a written comprehensive exam that is designed to ensure that they have the broad knowledge of the discipline that provides the most effective base for a career in teaching or publishing, as well as for specialized study in the doctoral program.

The exam will be based on a list of sixty-seven items, covering British, American, and Anglophone literature. See Appendix B for a description of the exam format and Appendix C for the reading list.

The exam will be administered just prior to the start of the second year of the MA program and will be graded as High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, or Fail. Failure on the exam will preclude admission to the PhD program. Any students who fail have the opportunity to retake the exam (with new questions) before January 30th in order to pass and be eligible for admission into the Ph.D. program. A student who fails the exam a second time may submit a portfolio of materials, including seminar papers and letters of support from faculty, demonstrating the acquisition of the necessary skills and critical knowledge to satisfy the requirements for the MA. See Appendix D for a description of the Portfolio.


The M.A. thesis is optional. If a student chooses to write a thesis, then the student selects a thesis topic approved by the advisor and works under the direction of that advisor. The advisor, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, appoints a second reader.

Before any work is begun, a brief statement of the nature and significance of the thesis topic (250-400 words) must first be approved by the advisor and second reader and then submitted to the Graduate Committee for its approval by April 15 of the first year in the program. Submission of the thesis is in accordance with the regulations outlined by the Office of Graduate Studies. All theses must conform to the University of Delaware “Thesis and Dissertation Manual,” available online from the Office of Graduate Studies.


M.A. students who wish to continue on to the Ph.D. program will apply directly to the Director of Graduate Studies by January 1st of their second year. The application materials are identical to those submitted by external applicants: a formal personal statement, a sample of academic writing, and three letters of recommendation. GRE test English Graduate Handbook / 4 scores (general and subject) and transcripts need not be resubmitted because these are already part of the student’s file in the Graduate Program office. Internal applicants do not need to pay an application fee and should not use the online application system based at the university’s graduate office.


The Ph.D. degree is designed to bring students with generalist preparation into specialized work in a significant area of British, American, and Anglophone literary and cultural studies and/or theory. Students are prepared to teach at the university level and to publish their research with reputable journals and presses.

All PhD students will be funded on a five-year Teaching Assistantship contingent upon successful completion of required coursework, the examinations, and satisfactory teaching. After successful completion of the Specialty exam and Dissertation Proposal, students enter candidacy. If funding permits, in the Fall term of the fourth year students will receive a semester long fellowship with no teaching.

When their Teaching Assistantship expires, students may continue to teach for the department on an S-contract. Contingent upon good teaching, students are eligible for a 2/2 teaching assignment in year six. The department cannot guarantee teaching past the sixth year of the PhD.

For a flow chart of the Ph.D. degree, see Appendix E.

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The Ph.D. requires eight courses (24 credit hours). At least one of these courses must be in British and one in American literature. A reasonable balance between 600- and 800level courses should be maintained, and students are welcome to take courses in other departments and programs with the approval of the Graduate Director. Courses numbered below 600 do not count toward the degree.

M.A. transfers may be required to take ENGL600 (Introduction to Graduate Study in English) and ENGL684 (Introduction to Literary Theory) if they have not had such courses. M.A. transfers who are Teaching Assistants are required to take ENGL688 (Teaching Composition) unless this requirement is waived by the Director of Writing.

These required courses are in addition to the eight courses required for the Ph.D.

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methodological or thematic areas of strength in the department that bring together faculty and students with interests in a variety of national literatures and historical periods.

Normally, students wishing to pursue a particular track will take two courses during the MA and four during the PhD to complete a track. Each semester the graduate director, in consultation with faculty members teaching during a given semester, will identify certain courses as ones that may be counted towards a given track. The department will offer at least one course in each track every semester.

The tracks will be reevaluated by the graduate committee every five years to insure that they continue to reflect the shape of the faculty and current directions in scholarship.

The tracks:

1. Print and Material Culture Courses that include a strong focus on the history of the book, publishing history, the material conditions of print and publication, as well as those focusing on objects, object theory, and visual culture.

2. Race and Ethnicity Courses organized around the literatures of various racial and ethnic groups, including African American, African and black diaspora, Jewish, Irish, South Asian, and Latino/a and courses dedicated to studying how the category of race functions in literature and culture.

3. Transatlantic/Transnational Studies Courses dedicated to studying the circulation and exchange of literature and culture across national, political, and geographic boundaries.

–  –  –

All Ph.D. students are required to demonstrate either (1) an ability to read and work in two languages other than English; (2) an advanced ability to read and work in one language other than English; or (3) the acquisition of a skill or body of knowledge important to the student’s dissertation topic. For the methods of examination under option 1, see “Language Requirement” section for the M.A. degree (above). For option 2, students must pass a graduate course in their chosen language with a grade of B or better.

Option 3 may take many forms, such as relevant work experience, volunteer service, or coursework at the University of Delaware or elsewhere directly related to the dissertation.

Some possible topics might include paleography, statistical analysis, and print technology. Because the skills requirement will vary depending upon the student’s research specialization, the graduate committee must approve proposals for a skills requirement. Should a student wish to satisfy the skills requirement through past work or English Graduate Handbook / 6 volunteer experience, the department will require a contemporary demonstration of the skill, such as a seminar length paper, a formal presentation, or workshop, as a condition of approval. Students will be required to submit a formal proposal to the graduate committee explaining precisely how their skill or body of knowledge will contribute to their scholarly, intellectual, and professional development. A supporting statement from the dissertation adviser should accompany the proposal.

The language/skills requirement must be fulfilled in order for a Ph.D. student to move to candidacy status.

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Students continuing in the PhD program after successful completion of the MA at UD will have their teaching reviewed in the Fall of the third year of the PhD. Students who have received their MA from another institution will be reviewed on the MA student cycle in the Spring of the first year and the Fall of the second year and then again in the Fall of the third year. The first two reviews will be conducted by the Director of Composition.

The third and most comprehensive review, which all PhD students will complete in the Fall of the third year, will be conducted by the Director of Composition and the Director of Graduate Studies and will include a portfolio review, class observation, and a survey of teaching evaluations. Any student whose teaching is deemed unsatisfactory as a result of this review will not be funded for the last two years of the Teaching Assistantship.

The Teaching Portfolio

Each student must submit a teaching portfolio as part of the PhD teaching review. This

portfolio will include:

1) A 250-500 word statement of teaching philosophy

2) Sample syllabi and sample assignments

3) A direct observation report

4) A letter of support from at least one faculty member other than 5) + the student’s dissertation director


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