Ph.D. students Nicole Green and Matt Whitaker participate in a panel with alums Linda Garcia Merchant, Erin Bertram, and Angel Garcia

Erin Chambers

Resources for Current and Prospective Students

The Department of English offers the M.A. and Ph.D. in English for students interested in Literary and Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and Composition and Rhetoric. In addition to specializations in these areas, there are opportunities for students to obtain an interdisciplinary specialization in Ethnic Studies, Great Plains Studies, Nineteenth-Century Studies, or Women’s and Gender Studies. We also offer graduate certifications in Digital Humanities and the Teaching of Writing.


Open letter to prospective students

Dear Prospective Graduate Student,

We appreciate your interest in the graduate program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln! The Department of English offers a vibrant, diverse, and intellectually stimulating place to do your graduate work.

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M.A. and Ph.D. Specializations

A specialization is a well-defined area of study allowing students to focus their graduate work in a way that is noted on their official UNL transcript. Students are not required to declare a specialization, but can take advantage of both departmental and interdisciplinary specializations to enhance their course of study.

Composition and Rhetoric

The Composition and Rhetoric program prepares teacher-scholars as active contributors to their school, disciplinary, and community settings. The program offers a generalist M.A. specialization and an individually-tailored Ph.D. specialization. Students who take this specialization will gain expertise in the areas of pedagogy, composition, rhetoric and literacy studies.

Creative Writing

Every year, the Creative Writing program accepts applications only in a specific genre—poetry or fiction/nonfiction—alternating each subsequent year. The M.A. thesis consists of creative activity and scholarship; Ph.D. students complete a dissertation that includes a book-length work of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction, and a scholarly component.

Literary and Cultural Studies

M.A. and Ph.D. specializations in Literary and Cultural Studies emphasize the analysis of literature within larger cultural, social and political contexts, and utilize a wide range of critical methodologies, such as textual recovery, archival work, digital scholarship, and theoretical analyses.

Graduate Certificates

A graduate certificate comprises a set of credit-bearing graduate courses representing a specific subject area. Students may pursue a graduate certificate and graduate degree simultaneously, although concurrent enrollment is not required.

Digital Humanities

Teaching of Writing

How to Apply

The annual application deadline is December 1. Students with a B.A. may apply for the M.A. or for direct admission into the Ph.D. Students with an M.A. or M.F.A. may apply for the Ph.D.

Each year, the Creative Writing Program accepts applications to the M.A. or Ph.D. programs only in a specific genre. Admissions in "poetry" or "fiction/nonfiction" alternate in each subsequent year. Visit our admissions page for details.



Paper copies of the following forms can be obtained in the main office, located in Andrews Hall room 203. If you have questions regarding the forms, email graduate assistant Anne Nagel at

Contact Information

Stacey Waite
Associate Professor and Graduate Chair

Anne Nagel
Graduate Assistant

Graduate Student Directory

Want to know who's who among our graduate students? Browse our students' profiles and catch a glimpse of the breadth of research, writing, and teaching that takes place here.

Meet Our Students

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Teaching and Assistantship Opportunities

Our financial aid packages include teaching and reading assistantships for M.A. and Ph.D. students that offer stipends and/or tuition. Reading assistantships give students the opportunity to partner with faculty on their research, plan conferences, work on special projects, or join the staff of the Prairie Schooner. Teaching Assistantships place M.A. and Ph.D. students in the classroom as instructors. In addition, many of our graduate students have obtained fellowships and assistantships in other campus offices, including Women’s and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, the Center for Digital Research in Humanities, and the College of Arts and Sciences Academic and Career Advising Center.

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Job Preparation and Placement

We are committed to training our students for life after graduate studies, and we take job preparation very seriously. Our Placement Advisor works closely with students, and all our faculty assist students with their job searches. Many students have obtained tenure track jobs in colleges and universities, while others have found excellent jobs in publishing or other areas, such as with the MLA. A number of our recent graduates have already published books, both academic and creative.

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Award-Winning Faculty

Our English department faculty are internationally recognized leaders in their fields of research and creative work, and consistently win the most prestigious teaching awards at the university. Many faculty also serve as editors or on the editorial boards for national and international journals.

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Affiliated Interdisciplinary Programs

Many of the department faculty and graduate students are actively engaged and have partial appointments with interdisciplinary academic programs at UNL. These interdisciplinary programs host many activities - including symposia, conferences, outside speakers, and panel discussions - in which department faculty and graduate students often participate.