UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara


Division of Humanities and Fine Arts
South Hall 2500-2700 (Faculty Offices and Research Centers)
South Hall 3400 Suite (Advising & Administrative Offices)
Telephone: (805) 893-7488
E-mail: englishinfo@english.ucsb.edu
Website: www.english.ucsb.edu
Department Chair: Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook


Graduate Program

The Department of English offers two closely related graduate programs: an M.A./Ph.D. program for students who have completed the B.A., and a Ph.D. program for those who come to UCSB with an M.A. from another institution. The Department of English does not offer a terminal M.A. Both programs include extensive coursework in English and American literature, two qualifying examinations (the first of which also serves as the M.A. examination), and a doctoral dissertation. The M.A./Ph.D. is normally a five-year program. The Ph.D. program for students who enter with an M.A. is designed as a four- or five-year program. In addition to departmental requirements, candidates for graduate degrees must meet university degree requirements found in the “Graduate Education” section of the UCSB online catalog.

Students entering either the M.A./Ph.D. or the Ph.D. program should be aware that they are undertaking not only to deepen their enjoyment and understanding of major literary texts, modes, and movements, but also to explore their potential as interpreters, scholars, and in many cases, teachers of literature and language. They are embarking on a systematic course of study designed to ensure an understanding of literary history and its major achievements and to make them fully participating members of a professional community of scholars.


In addition to departmental requirements for admission, applicants must also meet the university requirements for admission described in the “Graduate Education” section of the UCSB online catalog. Students admitted to the M.A./Ph.D. program will normally have completed an undergraduate major in English or have done extensive undergraduate work in English. For admission to the Ph.D. program applicants must have completed an M.A. in English or a closely related field. The department does not offer a terminal M.A. Admission to both programs is based on six criteria: (1) transcripts; (2) letters of recommendation; (3) scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test (the GRE subject test in English Literature is optional); (4) a writing sample; (5) a statement of purpose; (6) a statement of personal achievements and contributions. The writing sample should normally be a substantial paper written in an upper-division or graduate English literature course, ideally in the applicant's primary area of interest.


The Yvonne Gartrell Memorial Scholarship is awarded on an annual basis to a deserving incoming graduate student. The William and Marjorie Frost Award for Scholarly Writing by a Graduate Student is given each year to one graduate student in the English department for a scholarly essay. The Donald Pearce Award is given annually to one outstanding graduate student in support of dissertation work. The Richard Helgerson Graduate Student Achievement Award is given annually in support of dissertation work. The Outstanding Teaching Assistant in English Award is given annually to English graduate teaching assistants. In addition to these awards, the department and graduate division make a number of fellowships available to incoming students on a competitive basis. Continuing students may compete for other graduate division fellowships as well.

Master of Arts – English (Requirements - PDF)

Doctor of Philosophy – English (Requirements - PDF)

Doctor of Philosophy – English, Continuing Students (Requirements - PDF)

Optional Interdisciplinary Emphases

Students pursuing a doctoral degree in English may petition to add the following Optional Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphases: Black Studies, Cognitive Science, Environment and Society, European Medieval Studies, Feminist Studies, Global Studies, Information Technology and Society, Translation Studies, Writing Studies.

Requirement sheets for each emphasis may be found on this page.