English Graduate


Specialize in the study of literature, creative writing or TESOL.

The entire English faculty works in collaboration to provide our students with a well-rounded education to prepare them for careers, either immediately in the workplace or through further graduate study. We offer close guidance and opportunities for students to gain practical writing and editing experience by working on the Vermillion Literary Project, interning at South Dakota Review, or taking classes in publishing.


Master of Arts (M.A.)


The M.A. program with a specialization in Literature provides students with opportunities to explore a wide range of English literature with a span of periods and genres. We offer classes in British and American literature, from Shakespeare to the postmodern novel. The program emphasis a solid foundation in general literary studies that provide our students with the broad knowledge to be able to work on their own areas of thesis specialization.

Creative Writing

The M.A. program with a specialization in Creative Writing provides students a chance think about writing in an open way, to experiment with subject, form, and sound, to focus on writing first and categorization later. We offer classes in Poetry, Fiction, Non Fiction, Memoir, Hybrid Forms, and Publishing. Our workshops integrate frequent writing projects with substantial reading lists as a way of reimagining the workshop model.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

The M.A. program with a specialization in TESOL is unique in that students are socialized into the world of English literature while taking a range of applied linguistic courses. Students have opportunities to work closely with our Intensive English Program and Writing Center, providing graduates with valuable and relevant work experience that can be applied to their future professional contexts. With an M.A. in English with a TESOL specialization, graduates are competitive in an expansive job market, both in the United States and abroad.

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The M.A./J.D. is available only to candidates who are concurrently enrolled in the School of Law. Ordinarily, students complete the first year of the J.D. before beginning the M.A. in English.

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


  • Literary Studies- Critical
  • Literary Studies - Creative

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Admission Requirements

Application requirements can be found at Graduate School Admission Requirements and include:

  1. Completed Graduate Application
            Apply Online
  2. $35 application fee
  3. One official transcript verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit earned
  4. Three letters of recommendation
            Letter of Recommendation Form
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. Official copy of GRE scores (Ph.D. only)
  7. 10-15 page critical writing sample (15-20 pages for Ph.D. applicants)
  8. Creative writing students must submit an additional 15-20 page creative writing sample (20 page minimum for Ph.D. applicants)
  9. Applicants with degrees from countries other than the United States: a TOEFL score of at least 105 (Internet-based test), 620 (paper-based test) or 260 (computer test); an IELTS score of at least 7.0; or a PTE score of 70.

For more detailed admission requirements, please refer to English in the current graduate catalog.

The Classroom & Beyond

  • Read some of the most fascinating works of literature ever written. ¬†Develop your writing voice. ¬†Prepare to inspire the world with your ideas.

  • Alpha Mu Phi is USD's local Sigma Tau Delta chapter. This organization's central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies.

  • Assistant Professor Prentiss Clark presents "How to Say Things with Genre: American Essays, Novels, and Poems as Test Case."