Earn Your MA or PhD in English

Temple University is a Research I university, and the Graduate Programs in English offer the MA, the PhD, and the MFA 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. The English program provides foundational training in the major areas of literary and cultural studies as well as more specialized seminars in research topics. In addition, we are strong in such traditional areas as Composition and Rhetoric, pre-1800 British literature, American literature, and ethnic and global literatures. 

Master of Arts in English

If you want to complete your educational journey with a master’s degree or 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 master of arts degree. 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.

English PhD

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 coursework, 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. A Temple PhD in English takes anywhere from four to seven to finish, depending on whether you already have a master’s degree and whether you have fellowship support, teaching responsibilities and other factors.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Our MFA degree in creative writing is a two-year, 33-credit program in either fiction or poetry. The Creative Writing Program 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 creative writing MFA graduates find employment as writers, teachers, publicists, writing consultants or publishers; they also go on to doctoral study in English or other disciplines.

image of students in library

English PhD Job Placement

In recent years, 46% of our PhDs have found work in tenure-track positions, non-tenure full-time teaching and 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.

  • 35 students received a PhD since 2014
  • 6 are employed in non-teaching positions where PhD is relevant
  • 2 are employed as independent school teachers:  2
  • 1 post-docs, fellowships
  • 8 are unknown
  • Learn More about English PhD Careers

Funding Opportunities

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 courses. 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.

Admission Requirements

As an applicant to a Temple English graduate program, 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 (five courses) will be allowed toward your 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.

Graduate Resources