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Overview of Graduate English Courses

Higher Education Articles June 19, 2015

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and master’s degree programs in English offer various courses in different areas. Students usually concentrate in writing or literature; however, both areas feature the same foundational courses.

Information on Graduate English Courses

English courses are as varied as the teachers who conduct them; however, some courses are commonly offered at all schools, which include courses related to fundamentals of expository writing and research, in addition to literature courses that focus on specific eras and cultures, including 19th-century world literature or British literature. Graduate students, who take electives in areas aimed at enhancing their dissertation or thesis, build their programs. Student teaching is also in many graduate programs. In this article, we take a look at some English courses commonly offered in graduate programs:

Course Related to American Literature Until 1865

A broad overview of major pre-Civil War literary movements is available through this required class that involves discussion of cultural, social, and political influences on literature, as well as the works of important writers. Additionally, assigned texts and books are read, and the critical ideas expressed in American literature of this era explored.

Course Related to British Literature of the 20th Century

Dominant styles and themes of 20th-century British literature and individual works of literature are in this class. Assigned readings from plays, books, prose, and poetry usually form the basis of classroom discussions. Well-known writers and the economic, intellectual, political and social factors that influenced them are also in the class.

Course Related to British Literature of the 19th Century

The themes and ideas present in major works of British 19th-century literature are in this class. Students discuss the advent, evolution and ebb of literary movements, apart from selected authors, works, and critical ideas. Coursework may also include assigned readings such as prose, dramatic works or poetry, and novels.

Course Related to Literary Research

Literary research is often a required class with an emphasis on the performance of original research employing original sources. The focus of coursework is on techniques employed in the identification of primary texts and the evaluation of their context and authority.

Course Related to American Literature since the Civil War

This required English course focuses on major post-Civil War literary themes, trends, genres and styles. Courses involve finding a balance between an overview of literary criticism of the period and in-depth examination of specific writers, either as a group or individually, and representative works.

Course Related to English Rhetoric and Composition Course

Their skill at expository writing is developed by students in this course. Examples of modern and classical rhetoric are examined by students while developing their personal style and voice; this typifies a core class.

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