Welcome to the English Graduate Program


    In the 1930s, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren set the stage for LSU’s powerful standing in literary theory, American literature, Southern literature, and creative writing.  Our strength remains particularly robust in those areas.  

    But with an international reputation in Victorian studies, Atlantic studies, Louisiana and Caribbean studies, Rhetoric and Composition, and folklore; with prominent visibility in Renaissance and Medieval literature, post-colonial literature, and African-American literature; with high profile faculty in cultural studies, linguistics, women’s and gender studies, and many other fields, the LSU Department of English enables students to specialize in a wide range of literary and cultural texts through a diverse set of approaches.  We have over 50 graduate faculty, and we pride ourselves on the individual programs of study our students undertake.

    Our MFA program is one of the best in the country, ranked 21st by Poets and Writers for 2012.  The PhD program is also rated well by both the National Research Council and US News and World Report.  LSU is a Comprehensive Doctoral university in the Carnegie rating system (what used to be called a “Research One” university) and a top-tier university according to the US News and World Report.

    The MFA program in creative writing combines careful supervision of students' work with extensive literary study.  The close link between our MA, PhD, and MFA programs provides a unique opportunity to learn creatively and critically together.  Students in all three programs do almost all their course work in small graduate seminars or workshop classes.

    We are highly selective in our application process. For those programs, we typically offer Graduate Teaching Assistant stipends of $17850, plus tuition waivers.  We fund PhD and MFA students equally.  These stipends, which generally require teaching one course per semester, compare to the best schools in the country and rank in the top three nationally for MFA programs.  

    The low teaching load allows steady progress through the degree while preparing our students thoroughly to teach a variety of courses and levels.  We provide ample pedagogical training and close mentorship.  

    Additional grants are available to help support conference travel; our students regularly present papers and publish.  We have an excellent placement record.

    The widely acclaimed Southern Review (founded by Brooks and Warren) continues to flourish at LSU as a mainstay of the national literary scene. In addition, current or emeritus members of the department founded the Henry James Review and now edit three other journals:  1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era; Atlantic Studies: Literary, Cultural and Historical Perspectives and Exquisite Corpse.  

    Our professors also edit four book series: Theoretical Horizons in American Culture, Literary Conversations, Feminist Theory and Criticism, and Modern Dramatists Research and Production Sourcebooks. The LSU English Department is a member of the Dickens Project, an invitation-only consortium of universities studying nineteenth-century literature and culture.

    For decades the English Graduate Student Association at LSU has organized and run the annual EGSA Mardi Gras Conference, always held the weekend of Mardi Gras.  Each year they bring in a keynote speaker (such as Brian McHale, Cathy Davidson, Terry Eagleton, or Margaret Homans), attracting national and international participants first to present papers and then to stay on to enjoy the parades and festivities of Carnival.  

    Students also have regular opportunities to hear important visiting scholars and writers through several distinguished speaker series, including Readers & Writers.

    Beyond the rich intellectual and creative life our students enjoy, LSU has the good fortune to be located in Baton Rouge, which guarantees great food, exuberant street festivals, authentic jazz, Cajun and Creole culture, Mardi Gras, and our neighboring city of New Orleans, just 80 miles away.

    If you have any questions on particular aspects of our MA, MFA, or PhD programs, please contact the Director of English Graduate Studies, Dr. Jacob Berman at  egs@lsu.edu.  If you have questions pertaining to the application process, please contact our Administrative Program Specialist, Ashley Thibodeaux, at athib13@lsu.edu or by phone at 225-578-5922.