We offer two graduate programs in English, the MA and the PhD, both of which provide a comprehensive education in the field of English Studies. With particular strengths in multicultural American literatures; rhetoric, composition, and technical and professional writing; and critical theory, our award-winning faculty work closely with students to design a program of work that fits their particular scholarly interests and career goals.

Our diverse course offerings will soon be connected by a sequence of themes, beginning with “Imagining New Worlds” in Fall 2020. Faculty will develop their courses in light of this theme and in conversation with one another, thus providing dialogue and coherence across subdisciplines and methods as various as archival scholarship, composition studies, digital humanities, feminism, literary studies, posthumanism and environmental studies, race theory, and rhetoric.

Each theme will be synchronized with the English Department’s annual lecture series, the Hermanns, so that conversations begun in classrooms can flourish and grow in a public-facing setting, informed by the work and presence of prominent scholars. As one theme is phased out after a two-year period, another takes its place, the emergence of a new theme periodically renewing and rejuvenating our course offerings.

Being a Graduate Student at UTA

While many of our students are enrolled full time in graduate work, our program also accommodates working professionals, offering the option of part-time enrollment and the flexibility of both day and evening classes.

Our close-knit department fosters a vibrant community of learning. An active graduate student association, EGSA, sponsors events throughout the year, including writing groups, get togethers, and information-sharing panels on milestones and challenges like comprehensive exams and the academic job search. A yearly highlight is the annual graduate student conference that EGSA organizes every spring. Department research clusters comprising faculty and advanced doctoral students allow for shared intellectual inquiry in areas such as posthumanism and the scholarship of teaching and writing in English.

Students in our program have multiple opportunities for professional development. The department offers graduate courses in the teaching of composition as well as literature. Doctoral students supported by a teaching assistantship teach the first-year writing sequence, and they often have the opportunity to teach a sophomore-literature course as well. Students in our program, both MA and PhD, may also work as consultants in the Writing Center. Advanced doctoral students can gain administrative experience working as Assistant Directors in the Writing Center or the First-Year Writing Program.

Our graduates are employed in tenure-stream positions at liberal arts colleges and research universities; full-time and tenure-stream positions in community colleges and area secondary schools, both public and private; administration in secondary and higher education; publishing; and technical writing, among other career paths. Our MA students wishing to pursue the PhD have been very successful in their application process, many of them receiving excellent offers from premier PhD programs across the nation, while some of our MA students pursue advanced graduate study in our own nationally-ranked doctoral program.


The M.A. in English provides a strong grounding in scholarly methods and in theory, making it an ideal preparation for doctoral study in disciplinary or interdisciplinary programs. M.A. graduates in English pursue careers in journalism, educational administration and services, publishing, and many business fields that demand writing and communication skills. The M.A. in English is also useful for prospective or experienced teachers who want both to sharpen their ability to teach literature and writing, and to advance professionally.

GRE Waiver

UT Arlington undergraduates whose GPA equals or exceeds the minimum described above and who have graduated in the last three years with a major in English (or closely related program) qualify for a waiver of the GRE admissions requirement.

Degree Requirements

  • The program has thesis and non-thesis options.
  • Students should take ENGL 5300: Theory and Practice in English Studies within the first twelve hours of coursework and must earn a grade of P (Pass) in order to satisfy this requirement.
  • The thesis option is a 30 credit-hour program and requires 24 hours of coursework (a three credit-hour core course and 21 hours of electives) and at least six hours of thesis. The degree culminates with the defense of thesis.
  • Students must apply for the thesis option during their 24th hour of coursework.
  • The non-thesis option requires a 36 credit-hour program of coursework (a three credit-hour core course and 33 hours of electives) and the submission of a portfolio.


The doctoral program in English prepares students at the most advanced stage in the interpretation and composition of texts. The program emphasizes rigorous critical study in the fields of rhetoric, composition, critical theory, cultural studies, pedagogy and literary studies. Rather than offering separate tracks, the program allows the student in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and the student's dissertation committees to design a program of work that best suits their particular scholarly interests and career goals. The combination of a diversity of course offerings, required and elected courses, and the requirement that each student defines a focus that reflects his or her intellectual and career interests provides students with the flexibility to adapt to changes in English studies. Specifically, the English doctoral program prepares students for careers in writing, including digital media and technical writing, as well as in teaching in community colleges, small colleges or regional state universities. The department trains students for college-level teaching several ways, but most importantly, by offering graduate courses in the teaching of literature and the teaching of composition. Doctoral students in English present papers at scholarly conferences, publish essays in scholarly journals and participate in other professional activities.

Degree Requirements

  • The Ph.D. requires thirty semester hours of coursework beyond the M.A., followed by a minimum of 9 hours of dissertation work (ENGL 6999).
  • Students should take ENGL 5300: Theory and Practice in English Studies within the first twelve hours of coursework unless they have already taken ENGL 5300 while in the M.A. program and earned a grade of P (Pass).
  • All students are also required to take ENGL 5311: Foundations of Rhetoric and Composition or ENGL 5359: Argumentation Theory as early in their programs as possible.
  • In consultation with the Graduate Advisor and/or the Graduate Coordinator, students may take up to 9 hours of coursework outside the English Department.
  • The Ph.D. track in English requires basic proficiency in translation in one

Students must consult with the Graduate Advisor and the chair of their dissertation committee to carefully construct a coherent focus for their coursework and comprehensive examinations. Students are allowed to take 9 hours of coursework outside the English department. Students should take ENGL 5300: Theory and Practice in English Studies within the first twelve hours of coursework and must earn a grade of P (Pass) in order to satisfy this requirement

The Ph.D. track in English requires basic proficiency in translation in one natural language other than English. The language must relate to the student's dissertation research and career goals. Some committees may require an additional language, depending on the student's area of specialization. After completing coursework and satisfying the foreign language requirement, the student will take a written comprehensive examination. While studying for the comprehensive exams, students may enroll in English 6391: Graduate Readings, supervised reading for the Ph.D. exam, graded R. By the end of the first semester after successfully completing the comprehensive examinations, the students must submit a dissertation prospectus to their committee. The dissertation must be an original, substantial and significant contribution to a scholarly field. Students should work closely with the chair of their committee while researching and writing their dissertation. While researching and writing their dissertation, students must enroll in dissertation hours (ENGL 6399, 6699 or 6999). In the final semester of dissertation work, students may enroll in ENGL 7399. Once the student, the chair of the committee, and the primary readers agree that the dissertation is sufficiently completed, the student may schedule the defense. The student must furnish each committee member with a copy of the dissertation, including notes and bibliography, at least three weeks prior to the defense date. The defense of the dissertation is oral. The defense is open to all members of the faculty, graduate students and invited guests of the university community. Questioning of the candidate will be directed by the student's dissertation supervising committee, but any person attending the defense may participate. Committee members may request that the dissertation be further revised and may withhold final approval of the dissertation until the revisions have been made. For more specific information regarding degree requirements, please consult the Graduate Handbook of the Department of English.


Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) are the primary source of support for graduate study in our Department. The most common type of GTA is the Dean’s Doctoral Assistantship (DDA), which is awarded on a competitive basis to newly admitted PhD students. The DDA provides a generous stipend and is renewable for up to five years so long as satisfactory progress is made toward the degree.

The Department’s First-Year Writing Committee screens applicants by reviewing their academic records, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and GTA application. Promising applicants are then interviewed. PhD students who do not receive a DDA—and, more rarely, exceptional MA students—may be awarded a different type of GTA.

To hold a GTA, a student must be admitted unconditionally into our MA or PhD program (for a DDA, into our PhD program), take the minimum number of hours as specified by the terms of the assistantship in each long semester, and make satisfactory progress toward the degree.

GTAs need to have an MA or a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in English. In addition, GTAs must enroll in the composition pedagogy courses ENGL 5389 (during the first year) and ENGL 5359 (during the second year). All new GTAs must attend an orientation held in August, shortly before the start of the classes.

GTAs typically teach two courses and take three courses each long semester; occasionally, summer teaching opportunities are available, but summer support is not guaranteed. Initially, GTAs teach first-year writing courses; however, after passing their PhD comprehensive exams, GTAs may have opportunities to teach sophomore-level literature and/or technical writing courses, based upon their coursework and other qualifications and upon departmental needs. They may also, as needed, work as consultants in the Writing Center and the First-Year Writing Program.

A benefits package, including health insurance, is provided. Optional vision and dental insurance are available for a fee. GTAs pay in-state tuition, which is among the lowest in the nation. See the UTA Office of Graduate Studies Website for information about tuition and fees.

The GTA application form may be downloaded here. Applications are accepted and reviewed as they are received, with offers made to qualified candidates until all assistantships are filled. To receive full consideration for an assistantship we recommend submitting your GTA application by April 15th. Assistantships are contingent upon unconditional admission to graduate studies in English, but we will consider your application while admission is pending.

Please direct all inquiries to:

Dr. Justin Lerberg
Director of First-Year Writing
Department of English
Box 19035
The University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX 76019-0035

Note: GTAs in English are restricted to PhD students in our Department. Students in other academic programs at UTA should pursue funding through their own departments.

Other Sources of Funding

Contingent upon available funding, secondary forms of support for graduate students in English may include dissertation fellowships and travel awards.