At the College of Liberal Arts, you can earn an English master’s degree or a PhD. Our programs provide foundational training in the major areas of literary and cultural studies as well as more specialized seminars in research topics. Learn more about our admissions requirements, tuition and fees and graduate resources and get to know our areas of study and doctoral faculty.
Earn Your MA or PhD in English
Temple University is a Research I university, and the Graduate Programs in English offer the M.A., the Ph.D., and the M.F.A. in Creative Writing. The literature programs balance theoretical sophistication with historical scope and are designed to give students a foundational knowledge in traditional and emerging fields in English studies and a grounding in the methods of literary research. Our strengths are in cultural studies and interdisciplinary studies, gender studies, minority literatures, film, visual and spatial studies, and critical theory. In addition, we are strong in such traditional areas as Composition and Rhetoric, pre-1800 British literature, American literature, and ethnic and global literatures. We are building our Digital Humanities area, and our faculty and students work with the Charles Library’s Digital Scholar’s Center.
Graduates with a Ph.D. typically go on to careers in college teaching and related fields. We also offer a two-year, 30-credit M.A. program. Temple M.A.s in English find employment in high schools or preparatory schools, in editing or publishing, or as professional writers; they also go on to doctoral study at Temple and other institutions.
Our M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing is a two-year, 33-credit program in either fiction or poetry. The Creative Writing faculty includes nationally recognized writers in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The writing component features small, intensive workshops, supplemented by one-on-one tutorials and courses in literature and the craft of writing. Temple M.F.A.s in Creative Writing find employment as writers, teachers, publicists, writing consultants, or publishers; they also go on to doctoral study in English or other disciplines.
MA in English
If you want to earn only a master’s degree or you want to explore education at the graduate level before committing to a PhD program, the Department of English offers a two year MA in English program. MA Graduates find employment in high schools or preparatory schools, in editing or publishing, or as professional writers. Others go on to doctoral study at Temple and other institutions. Funding is usually reserved for PhD students.
Learn More about the MA in English
PhD in English
Graduates with a PhD typically go on to careers in college teaching and related fields. Foundational courses provide the broad background needed for independent research, while our advanced graduate classes allow you to engage with cutting-edge faculty research. Our special topics courses have recently covered the following subjects:
- Literary Aesthetics
- Photography and Literature
- Transatlantic Feminist Theory
- Queer Poetry and Poetics
- Documentary Poetics
- Environmental Studies
Following course work, you will choose a concentration in one or two of our main areas of strength, each of which will prepare you for teaching and research in the field. Our main areas of strength are listed below (see listings with faculty at the bottom of the page).
- American Literature
- British Literature
- Critical and Cultural Theories
- Ethnic and African American Literatures
- Gender and Sexuality
- Literature and Visual Studies
- Poetry and Poetics
- Postcolonial and Global Literatures
A PhD in English at Temple takes anywhere from 4-7 years to finish, depending on whether you already have a master’s degree and whether you have fellowship support, teaching responsibilities and other factors.
Learn More about the PhD in English
Areas of Study and Doctoral Faculty
English PhD Job Placement
In recent years, 40% of our PhDs have found work in tenure-track positions. Another 24% have found work in non-tenure full time teaching. In addition, 15% are working in non-teaching positions for which a PhD serves as a qualification. While some PhDs find work immediately upon graduating, it’s not uncommon for recent graduates to work as adjuncts for one or more years before securing a full-time position. Our graduates tend to find jobs in the Northeast, demonstrating the enriching effect of Temple’s English graduate programs on the region. However, PhDs also take jobs outside the region in states that include California, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Temple offers financial support to eligible doctoral students. All applicants will be considered for funding, and no special application is required. Our fellowship support is for five years, and it includes tuition remission, a living stipend, and health care. English TAs have one non-teaching semester as they approach their dissertation. Graduate students are eligible for research and travel grants as well. Fellows are required to teach, and they may be assigned as graders or as instructors of record in composition courses and in lower level literature classes. Doctoral students are eligible to apply for the Dissertation Completion Grant and other special funding; they may also serve as adjunct instructors after they have entered the dissertation stage and assuming their five-year funding has expired.
As an applicant to our graduate programs in English, you should have the equivalent of an undergraduate concentration in English with broad chronological coverage of literature or have completed equivalent coursework. Successful applicants also have a strong record of academic achievement. When applying to Temple, you must declare whether you plan on earning your master’s or doctorate.
We accept students in the PhD program with or without the MA in English. For those coming from another institution, up to 15 transfer credits (5 courses) will be allowed toward the Temple degree. We offer funding to four or five students each year, which includes five years of support (stipend, tuition, health care). Other students who have been admitted will be placed on the Waiting List for funding. Students are admitted to the MA program without funding. The deadline for students seeking funding is December 15. We accept applications until February 15.
Applicants to the Creative Writing M.F.A. program should visit the Creative Writing website and follow those applications instructions.