Master of Arts
30 credits required. The only specifically required course is ENCR 801 (Introduction to Literary Research). This intensive one-week course, offered in late August and graded on an S/U basis, is a practical introducton to the techniques and uses of literary scholarship, tied to the resources of the Univeristy library system. In addition to ENCR 801, the M.A. requires 24 graded credits at the 500, 800, or 900 level, taken in residence at the University and completed with a grade of B or higher. These courses must satisfy the following distribution requirements:
- two courses in a different period of literature before 1800
- one course in the history of criticism or literary theory
Students must also complete a final exercise: either an oral examination or a thesis. (Those electing to write a thesis enroll in ENGL 895, which counts as 3 graded credit hours.) Finally, all students register for the 3-credit, placeholder course ENXX991, enabling them to meet the 30-credit requirement set by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. There is no transfer credit accepted toward the M.A. Students who receive two or more failing grades are not permitted to remain in the program.
M.A. students are required to demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language. This requirement is normally satisfied by passing a translation exam given by the appropriate University department. M.A students may also satisfy this requirement with courses taken as an undergraduate: twelve hours at any level, with a grade of B or better in the final six hours, or a grade of B or better intermediate or advanced course work.
Doctor of Philosophy (Language, Literature, and Research)
In addition to the general University requirements for the Ph.D. degree, the candidate must normally satisfy the following requirements:
I. Research Course: All entering doctoral candidates, including those who have earned an M.A. degree, must take ENCR 801, Introduction to Literary Research, a three-credit course for an S/U grade. This is usually offered at the end of August before the fall semester begins. (See Master of Arts requirements).
II. General Coursework: Doctoral candidates who come to the program without an M.A. must take twelve graded courses (at the 500, 700, 800, or 900 level) in graduate English or approved related courses, in addition to ENCR 801 in the first semester and ENGL 998 in the fall of the fourth year. These courses must be chosen to satisfy the M.A. distribution requirement. In the first semester, they enroll in three courses plus ENCR 801. In the following three semesters, they enroll in three courses plus ENGL 991, Independent Research, a place-holding course that fills out the number of fee-carrying credits required by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students must take care to enroll in a total of four ENGL 991 courses; the department provides guidelines to help plan enrollment for the right combinations of credits.
Normally, students who enter the doctoral program with the M.A. degree in hand will be allotted the equivalent of a year’s course credits, and will enroll in six graded courses at the 500, 700, 800, or 900 level, plus ENCR 801 and ENGL 998. These “M.A. transfer” students are required to take two ENGL 991 fee-carrying courses.
III. Additional Coursework, Contiguity, and Seminar Requirements: All doctoral candidates audit two courses during the third year (or the year after full-time coursework is completed). In addition, students take ENGL 998, the Dissertation Seminar, during the fall of their fourth year (or the fall after taking the oral examination and before the dissertation presentation). The entire record of a doctoral student’s coursework (including audits or transfer credits) needs to satisfy two other requirements. The transcript must include three 900-level seminars, and it must reflect what is termed “contiguity”: two courses each must belong to two fields contiguous to the student’s major field. The relevance of the two related fields may be temporal, geographical, or theoretical/methodological. Often, the Renaissance scholar will take two courses in Medieval literature, and two in the eighteenth century, but a student of the nineteenth-century American novel might offer two courses in nineteenth-century British literature, and a course in narrative theory and a course theorizing a genre related to the novel.
IV. Orals: Students must pass a two-hour qualifying oral examination, consisting of two parts: historical teaching and research field, and other teaching and research field. The second field may be a genre, a historical field, or any professional specialization of substance and breadth. Lists are prepared in consultation with a dissertation committee of three faculty members.
V. Dissertation: Doctoral students prepare a prospectus for a dissertation, which is subject to the approval of the three-person dissertation committee. Within a calendar year of the approval of the prospectus, candidates offer a public presentation of conference-paper length at a forum open to members of the department (this is not an examination). The completed dissertation is read by the dissertation committee and a member of the faculty from another department, and the candidate meets with them for a defense of the project. Completion of the dissertation requirement depends on the approval of its final form by all four faculty appointed for the defense. (Other members of the University community may attend a defense at the invitation of the candidate, subject to the decision of the committee and fourth reader as to whether the defense shall be private.)
VI. Foreign Language: Demonstrate either a “reading knowledge” of two languages or a “mastery” of one. The candidate may demonstrate “mastery” by either
- achieving passing grades in two graduate semester-courses in French or German literature offered in the foreign language itself (not in translation) and taken at the University of Virginia. Such courses, which may also be counted toward completion of the course requirements for the Ph.D. in English, must be approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies, or
- passing a two-hour examination (administered by the language department in question) designed to ascertain the student’s ability to read literary and critical texts in the foreign language (with the aid of a dictionary) and to write discursively in that language.
Under the two language option, one of the languages offered must be French, German or Latin. The second language may be French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Latin, or Greek. (Students who wish to pursue their research in the medieval period must pass the locally administered Latin examination.) For the second language, the department also considers petitions to substitute a language not mentioned above, but appropriate to the candidate’s field of study.
Under the two language option, the candidate demonstrates “reading knowledge” of the languages by passing a ninety-minute examination in each, administered by the appropriate language department at the University and designed to ascertain the student’s ability to translate prose (with the aid of a dictionary).
The full foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. must be completed before the student is permitted to take the doctoral oral examination.
Students may not satisfy the foreign language requirements through qualifying examinations taken at other universities.
Gain teaching experience by assisting with instruction of undergraduate courses. Second year Ph.D. students enroll in ENPG 885 concurrently with their teaching assignment in a historical survey or Shakespeare lecture course. The requirements of this course consist of staff meetings and class preparation, and it fulfills 3 of the total semester credits required for Ph.D. coursework. Students also participate in systematic training in writing instruction.