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Pursue a Graduate Degree

by Chris Thomas — Posted Jun 29, 2015 03:41 PM

Penn State’s graduate program in English offers students access to an extraordinary faculty of award winning scholars with national and international reputations in their fields. We offer small seminars with close interaction between faculty and students across the full spectrum of areas that define contemporary studies in literature, culture, rhetoric, and writing.  The students we produce are the future leaders of the profession and we take the job seriously.

We Rank Among the Top Ten of Graduate English Programs

The National Research Council’s long-awaited report on graduate programs is in. The NRC generated two sets of scores, including an overall quality assessment of survey-based weights that evaluated departments’ faculty, students, and program as a whole (the "S" ranking).  The NRC did not provide single ordinal rankings this time, but the independent website used the NRC’s data to determine rankings.  According to its ranking method, Penn State’s doctoral program in English is #6 out of the 122 English departments in the United States that grant PhDs! ranked Penn State #2 among public university English departments.  Please see the rankings on →

The NRC itself only reports a range of scores (at the 5th and 95th percentile), and it shows Penn State as ranked between 4 and 18 in terms of overall quality. The NRC study and’s rankings highlight our strong record in faculty research and graduate student training, research, and job placement.

We Have an Excellent PhD Placement Record

We have an exceptional graduate placement record that puts us in the top tier of research universities nation wide. Between 1998 and 2008, Penn State placed more graduate students in jobs at Carnegie Foundation designated “Research Very High” universities than any other institution in our university cohort.

Contact Info

Debra Hawhee, Director of Graduate Studies
Graduate Studies Office, Department of English 
The Pennsylvania State University 
108 Ritenour Building, University Park, PA 16802-6202
Telephone: (814) 863-3069