English (PhD, MA)

Program Overview

The graduate program in English at Binghamton University has distinguished faculty and outstanding graduates in a variety of fields. The English Department offers opportunities for study in all major areas of British and American literatures, with strengths in American studies, British modernities, critical theory, gender and sexualities, medieval studies, early modern and Renaissance studies, postcolonial studies, race, empire, and global diasporas, rhetorical discourse, ethnic studies, cultural studies/science studies and creative writing.

Within both the MA and PhD programs, students may choose to focus on either literary research or creative writing.

Doctoral Program highlights:

  • Streamlined time to degree
  • Flexible, individualized course work
  • Substantive teaching experience
  • Close mentoring in our small program
  • Graduate student-run conferences, journals, and reading series (see below)

Master’s Program highlights:

  • Flexible, individualized course work
  • Optional thesis for the MA in English/Literature
  • Creative thesis for the MA in English/Creative
  • Graduate student-run conferences, journals, and reading series (see below)

Qualified doctoral students are typically eligible for 4 years of funding, usually as teaching assistants (or in some cases, graduate assistants). Students usually begin as teaching assistants to department faculty, take ENG 589: Teaching College English, teach for two years in the University’s Writing Initiative, and in their fourth year have the opportunity to teach literature or creative writing courses within the department. Doctoral students have the opportunity for a fifth year of financial support by developing and teaching their own courses relevant to their research and/or creative focus. Unfunded students sometimes teach in the Writing Initiative as well. These exceptional teaching experiences prepare students for future careers in academia and make our graduates more competitive on the job market.

The University also offers Clark Fellowships for underrepresented populations.

Degrees Offered

  • PhD in English
  • MA in English

Internships, Research Opportunities and More

Our department and our graduate students are busy! Through their thesis and dissertation projects, students become well-versed in research methods, critical and theoretical approaches, and bibliography. These skills prepare students for continued success in academia. Faculty and advisors provide close guidance as students begin to share their work at professional conferences and to publish.

The department publishes its own literary journal, Harpur Palate, which is edited by graduate students and enjoys both domestic and international circulation. The University also hosts readings and workshops for creative writers, such as the Binghamton Center for Writers’ Distinguished Writers series which brings well known authors to the Binghamton area for free readings. The Global Imaginary program celebrates international solidarity through literary translation while Common Ground gathers undergraduate and graduate students to share their creative work. Faculty and alumni readings bring to forefront the extraordinary work that Binghamton produces. The Binghamton Poetry Project, a literary service program, offers additional avenues for creative writing students to connect with the larger community and develop leadership skills by serving as instructors of five-week workshop sessions, coaching youth and adults in reading and writing creatively.

For those interested in literary theory and criticism, the Department’s Spring Speakers’ Series gives graduate students the chance to meet and learn directly from leading scholars from around the country. Recent themes for the series have included neoliberalism, human rights and literature, and approaches to literatures on refugees and migration.

Department graduate students also host and organize a biennial conference on creative writing, Writing by Degrees, as well as an annual conference entitled Shifting Tides, Anxious Borders (STAB). STAB is an interdisciplinary graduate conference by and for scholars whose work explores the changing contours of literary studies, cultural studies, post- and decolonial studies, and / or multimedia studies. Comparative and transnational in scope, the conference is run entirely by Binghamton graduate students and draws participants from all over the world, offering those involved the opportunity to showcase and develop their research in front of an academic audience. STAB is always in need of organizers and planners. To lend support or find out more, contact to shiftingborders@gmail.com.

Our active Graduate English Organization welcomes the involvement of all graduate students in the department. The GEO aims to assist graduate students in advancing their interests academically, professionally, and socially. Recent workshops organized by the GEO have focused on topics such as securing internal and external funding and the creative writing job search.

After You Graduate

Our graduates pursue meaningful careers both within and beyond academia. Over the past 10 years, about two thirds of our PhDs have secured full-time, permanent academic positions in the U.S. and internationally. They serve as assistant, associate, and full professors at institutions ranging from research institutions to small liberal arts colleges to regional and community colleges. Others have become administrators in writing programs and academic advising and as deans. Some graduates have pursued careers in public and private high school teaching, while others work in editing, publishing, and media communications. Some of our creative writing graduates devote themselves full-time to their writing.

The Director of Graduate Studies, assisted by other department faculty, holds regular job placement workshops throughout the year that are focused on academic and non-academic careers as well as career options specifically for MA students. The DGS also advises MA students who are interested in pursuing doctoral studies. Our job search workshops address topics such as navigating the academic job market, preparing documents for academic and non-academic jobs, and interviewing. Department faculty are also available to conduct mock interviews for academic jobs.

Admission Requirements


There are many funding and scholarship opportunities at Binghamton. We encourage prospective students to review available program-specific scholarships and awards, and visit the program's website for additional information. PhD students who are registered and/or certified full-time will receive a scholarship that covers the cost of broad-based fees (this does not include international student fees). Note: Master's students are generally self-funded, although funding opportunities occasionally arise.

Accelerated/4+1 Degrees

You may also be interested in our accelerated/4+1 degree programs which allow students to complete their bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in just 5 years!

Susan Strehle

Distinguished Service Professor; Director of Graduate Studies in English

English, General Literature and Rhetoric