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The Graduate Program in English

Welcome to Penn State’s Graduate Program in English. We invite you to explore this website to learn about the large and vibrant community of scholars who teach and study in our uniquely designed six-year program. *

All our graduate students are fully funded through teaching and research assistantship stipends, tuition remission, and substantial health insurance contributions. Post-doctoral teaching fellowships are available for students who have defended their dissertations.

Our program supports student participation in a wide array of scholarly, creative, professional, and pedagogical initiatives. Entering graduate students join a talented cohort of teachers, beginning as instructors-of-record in first year writing classes and moving into more advanced English courses. Doctoral students pursue innovative research agendas, acquire versatile professional skills, deliver papers at national and international conferences, and publish their work in academic, public, and creative venues.

We are keenly aware of the national trend that has seen the number of tenure-track teaching jobs contract over the past several years, and we are addressing this shift through coordinated efforts to prepare our doctoral students for the pursuit of careers both within and outside of the academy.

The Penn State Graduate Program in English is committed to ongoing efforts to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the department and University communities. We receive guidance from the English department’s standing Committee on Anti-racism and Equity, the elected members of which include faculty, graduate students, and administrative staff.

The most recent rankings by the National Research Council lists Penn State’s doctoral program in English #6 out of the 122 PhD-granting English departments in the United States.

* Please note that we do not offer a stand-alone MA degree, nor do we offer an MFA degree, and only occasionally do we admit MA-holding outside applicants directly into our PhD program. For our program’s vision and structure, see How Our Program is Designed.

Join Our Program

Applications for Fall 2023 admission to the program will open in October 2022.

Director of the Graduate Program

Associate Director of the Graduate Program

Janet Lyon
Director of the Graduate Program
Faculty-in-charge, Disability Studies Minor
Associate Professor of English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Xiaoye You
Associate Director of the Graduate Program
Liberal Arts Professor of English and Asian Studies
Director of the Center for Democratic Deliberation

For more information, please contact:

Graduate Program Office
Department of English
The Pennsylvania State University
403 Burrowes Building, University Park, PA 16802-6202

Phone: (814) 863-3069