M.A. and Ph.D.
Be a part of a vibrant literary community.
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 emphasizes 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.
The M.A. program with a specialization in Creative Writing provides students a chance to think about writing in an open way, to experiment with subject, form, and sound, and to focus on writing first and categorization later. We offer classes in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, memoir, hybrid forms and publishing. Our workshops integrate frequent writing projects with substantial reading lists as a way of reimagining the workshop model.
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.
Accelerated Master's Program: B.A. or B.S. with M.A.
Up to 12 graduate credits applied toward the B.A. program may be used to satisfy graduate credit.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The Ph.D. program with a critical specialization is built around the English Department’s seminar offerings in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American literature, taught by faculty members publishing work on naturalism, Virginia Woolf, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and cybernetics and modernism, to name but a few of the topics. Students construct their own plan of study to reflect their interests and to prepare them for writing their dissertation. The selective nature and small size of the Ph.D. program ensure that students receive the mentorship they need. Ph.D. students are also given the opportunity to teach a range of courses in order to help them develop their professional credentials.
The Ph.D. program with a creative writing specialization is built around the English Department’s seminar offerings in creative writing, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and publishing, as well as nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American literature. Students construct their own plan of study to reflect their interests and to prepare them for their dissertation. The selective nature and small size of the Ph.D. program ensure that students receive the mentorship they need. Creative writing Ph.D. students are also given the opportunity to teach a range of courses, including introductory creative writing classes, to help them develop their professional credentials.
For more detailed admission requirements, please refer to English in the current graduate catalog. Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements.
Application Review Begins for Fall Admission:
Ph.D. Applicants (with Teaching Assistantship): January 15
M.A. Applicants (with Teaching Assistantship): February 1
M.A. Applicants (no Teaching Assistantship/Classes only): 6-8 weeks before classes start
The Classroom & Beyond
Get an in-depth look into the studies and focuses of our graduate students!
Stay updated on the happenings in the USD Department of English with the Graduate Program Newsletter.
Our graduates continue their active, engaged literary and educational lives after USD. Graduates go on to academic, alt-ac, and non-academic jobs, as well as further graduate study.