Welcome to the English Graduate Program

    In the 1930s, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren set the stage for LSU’s international prominence in literary theory, American literature, Southern literature, and creative writing. Our strength remains particularly robust in those areas. But with an international reputation in Creative Writing, Victorian studies, Atlantic studies, Louisiana and Caribbean studies, Rhetoric and Composition, and folklore; with prominent visibility in Renaissance and Medieval literature, post-colonial, Global Anglophone, multi-ethnic, and African-American literature; with high profile faculty in cultural studies, English education, linguistics, women’s and gender studies, and many other fields, the LSU Department of English enables students to specialize in a range of literary and cultural texts through a diverse set of theoretical and methodological approaches. We have over 40 graduate faculty and pride ourselves on the individual programs of study our students undertake.

    Our MFA program in creative writing is one of the best in the country. 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 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. We typically offer Graduate Teaching Assistant stipends of $17,850 to students, plus comprehensive 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. The low teaching load, which puts us ahead of many of our peer institutions, allows efficient 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 in a very difficult job market. A jobs placement officer also mentors students through the annual job cycle.

    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 have edited various other journals, such as The Exquisite Corpse and Atlantic Studies. Faculty currently edit, in various capacities such as editor, North American editor and contributing editor, at least four journals including 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era, ECCB: The Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography, Nineteenth-Century Theatre & Film and The Volta, a creative writing journal. Faculty also serve on the editorial boards of journals too numerous to list here! Our faculty members are pioneers in the field of Digital Humanities, founding and editing the prestigious Archive Journal. Faculty leadership in their various fields is not just limited to the number of books authored and journals edited. LSU faculty members also edit book series including Theoretical Horizons in American Culture, Feminist Theory and Criticism, Best American Short Plays, and American Theatre 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 our graduate students bring in a literary luminary as a keynote speaker. Over the last decade, keynotes have been given by:

    • Terry Eagleton (2006)
    • Timothy Brennan (2007)
    • Cathy Davidson (2008)
    • Dana Nelson and Russ Castronovo (2009)
    • Brian McHale (2010)
    • Dominick LaCapra (2011)
    • Meredith McGill (2012)
    • Katherine McKittrick (2013)
    • Henry Abelove (2014)
    • Ian Bogost (2015)
    • Marcia Gaudet and Robert Collins (2016)
    • E. Patrick Johnson (2017)

    The conference, and the reputation of the keynote speakers, have attracted 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 as well participate in an in-house Works In Progress series.

    Our MFA program also hosts multiple reading series, including The Underpass Reading Series, which features MFA students alongside guest authors, and Readers & Writers. We are also delighted to announce that in 2016-2017 we will launch the LSU Writer-in-Residence Program; one distinguished writer will spend a week with students each semester, offering workshops, manuscript consults, craft talks, and a reading. Each spring, the MFA students curate, organize, and host Delta Mouth, a vibrant three-day festival with a national reputation. Editors of the student-run graduate literary journal, New Delta Review, frequently sponsor readings as well.

    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. Pallavi Rastogi at egs@lsu.edu or by phone at 225-578-7803. 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.