College of Arts & Sciences English

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Because of the relatively small number of graduate students and the congenial atmosphere of the department, professors provide the support and guidance students need to be successful as graduate students and professionals. Professors work intensively with graduate students on their writing and scholarship, successfully preparing students to present and publish their work.  

The department's resources in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary studies are especially strong, with well over half of our faculty doing research and writing in these areas. We also offer courses in literary theory and linguistics, as well as in creative writing.   

Degrees Offered:


To receive all necessary application forms, please Send us a Request for an application packet. Please see the M.A. and Ph.D. pages for specific admissions information.

Teaching Assistant Program 

Students who are fully admitted to the M.A. program are eligible for teaching assistantships. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis and are renewable for a total of two years, with a stipend of $12,000 and a reduction in tuition to one-third of the in-state graduate tuition rate. Beginning M.A. teaching assistants also enroll for credit in the Department's Teaching Practicum, which provides essential training and support for new teachers.

Incoming Ph.D. students are generally offered teaching assistantships, renewable for a total of four years, with a stipend of $14,500. All teaching assistants receive a reduction in tuition to one-third of the in-state graduate tuition rate. Most teaching assistants teach two sections of an introductory writing or literature course each semester.

The background and experience that graduate students gain in the English Department's Teaching Assistant program offer tremendous benefits to those pursuing careers in education, business, law, or any other field which involves leadership or public speaking. The application form for the teaching assistantship is available as part of the English Department's application packet or from the USD Graduate School.

Other Financial Assistance

The Department's major source of financial support for graduate students is the Teaching Assistantship. Some additional assistance is available in the form of awards to continuing students whose academic performance or creative achievements have been outstanding. Graduate students are also eligible for loans and for work-study programs administered by USD's Office of Financial Aid.

Publishing & Writing Opportunities

The English Department sponsors two periodicals.

  1. South Dakota Review, a quarterly journal, publishes both critical and creative work for a national audience.
  2. The Vermillion Literary Project produces an annual anthology of local fiction, poetry, and artwork.

Graduate students contribute to and participate in editing both of these publications. Students interested in gaining writing experience outside an academic setting can enroll in the Department's Internship in Writing, enabling them to receive credit for on-the-job experience in writing for businesses, news media, and organizations in the region.

Employment After Graduation

The M.A. in English offers excellent preparation for further study or for employment in any field which values critical thinking, strong writing skills, and research experience. Many recent graduates of the M.A. program have pursued careers in teaching at the secondary school or community college level, or have taken positions in business, industry, or the non-profit sector. Others have entered professional schools or pursued Ph.D. degrees.

We prepare our Ph.D. students well to compete for jobs after they complete their degrees. Nearly all of our graduates are employed full-time in either tenure-track or non-tenure-track teaching positions. To assist doctoral students entering today's difficult academic job market, we offer help developing the various components of a successful job application. 

To help students locate employers, the English Department subscribes to job information lists published by the Modern Language Association and the Associated Writing Programs. The USD Career Development Office maintains listings of non-academic jobs.

Still Have Questions?

See our Events, Activities & Resources pageMaster of Arts FAQs and Ph.D. FAQs pages.

ContactUs  English Department Chair
Darlene Farabee, Associate Professor
(605) 677-5229