Our Graduate Programs

Graduate study in English at the University of Oregon includes traditional literary history and textual study, as well as coursework in critical theory, ethnic literatures, gender studies, cultural studies, rhetoric and composition, postcolonial studies, ecocriticism, folklore, film and television, and popular culture. 

Students in the MA Program may pursue a traditional master of arts degree emphasizing any of these fields. Students in the PhD program may pursue a traditional doctoral course of study in any of these fields OR may tailor their coursework and independent research by enrolling in one of several “Structured Emphases,” which reflect the Department’s strengths in the areas of Ethnic American Literary Studies, Film and Media Studies, Folklore, Literature and the Environment, Medieval Studies, Poetry and Poetics, and Rhetoric and Composition.

Special note for applicants interested in specializing in film, television, and/or media: MA and PhD students working in these fields take courses and work with faculty in both the English and Cinema Studies departments. MAs and PhDs in film or television are administratively housed in English, but faculty in field are found in both departments – see the many Cinema Studies faculty here. Film and television studies PhD students will receive teacher training in both units but will do much of their teaching in Cinema Studies. Also check out University of Oregon’s graduate certificate in New Media and Culture!

For complete information about the program and how to apply, explore the links to the right.

☞  The Graduate School has issued temporary changes for Winter/Spring 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Graduate News

Our graduate programs equip students to produce creative, critical, social justice-informed work during and after their degree programs. Below are recent examples of the strong projects our students are undertaking.

Cassandra Galentine Awarded a CSWS Research Grant

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Cassandra Galentine, a Doctoral Candidate in the English Department,  was recently awarded a 2021-2022 CSWS Research Grant for her intersectional work on the material conditions of poverty and the resulting racial discourses of hygiene in U.S. women’s working-class literature. Galentine’s project argues that the reading of dirty materials like dirt, dust, and garbage and the resulting discourses of hygiene are an environmental justice issue wherein the responsibility and burden of environmental harm is shifted to its victims through racial capitalism. Her analysis of works by Anizia Yezierska, Sanora Babb, Ann Petry, and Alice Childress explores how women within these texts resist “gendered imperatives of hygiene” by embracing dirty material. Galentine’s analysis further insists that such resistances reveal the “limits of liberal individualism,” in turn “refocus[ing] blame on the structures of injustice.” Ultimately, her work argues that dirt “becomes a central material through which these women defy the constructed borders of gender, the body, the private sphere, and the nation.”

(Read more about Cassandra here)


Lisa Fink Awarded an Oregon Humanities Center Fellowship

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Lisa Fink, a PhD Candidate in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy, has been awarded an Oregon Humanities Center Fellowship for her dissertation project “Unsettled Ecologies: Alienated Species, Indigenous Restoration, and U.S. Empire in a Time of Climate Chaos.” Fink’s work “traces environmental thinking about invasive species from Western/colonial, Indigenous, and anti-imperialist perspectives within the context of settler colonialism, immigration, and climate change.” The inherent promise of Fink’s project proposes a more capacious and ethic politics by considering both human and other-than-human beings in a world marked by increasingly unstable climatic and economic conditions. When asked about the scope and stakes of her work, Fink answered that her research “enters the thorny arena of ‘incommensurability’ between Native American and immigrant organizing, pointed out by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, in order to think with other scholars about opportunities for advancing both groups’ objectives.”

(Read more about Lisa here)


Teresa Hernandez Awarded a CSWS Research Grant

Headshot of Teresa Hernandez

Teresa Hernádez, a Doctoral Candidate and first-generation college student in the English Department, has been awarded a 2021-2022 CSWS Research Grant for her transdisciplinary work within critical border feminist and Chicanx nationalist discourses. Her dissertation, “Contested Motherlands,” is invested in the futurity of Chicanx and Latinx literary studies through a new spatial imaginary wherein she examines “the overlapping and contentious geopolitical spatializations in Mexican and Mexican American literature and cultural studies.” Hernández’s work interrogates intersections of sovereignties and nationalisms, challenging current definitions of decolonization and border feminisms. In a self-analysis of the stakes of her work, Hernández humbly suggests that while her work cannot “correct the violence committed in the name of nationalism in the fields of Chicanx and Latinx literary studies,” she does see the final realization of her work as “one that begins with admission and ends with possibility.”

(Read more about Teresa here)

ancient painting of people holding hands in a circle

Gina Filo has been named the 2019-2020 College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellow for her explorations of sex and self in early modern England.

Filo's project, "Sexuality and the Contours of the Self in Early Modern English Verse,” analyzes how early modern poets such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Andrew Marvell, Richard Crashaw, Robert Herrick, and Thomas Traherne use sex and eroticism to reimagine the relationship between body and self.

Filo observes that, in early modern England, sex was deemed "highly destabilizing to the invidual in both physical and psychological ways." Scholars have generally argued that poets were anxious about this instability and used their verse to maintain the identity categories that sex would seem to deconstruct. But Filo sheds light on the ways that early modern poets reveled in sex and the idea of a less-than-stable self:

In this project, I show that the poetry of Shakespeare, Donne, Marvell, Herrick, Crashaw, and Traherne ... embraces, rather than rejects, the annihilation of self and category (like gender and the human) that sex brings about. I show how these poets articulate new varieties of pleasure, diffuse and unstable forms of selfhood, and non-normative models of self-other relations that operate outside of conventional power hierarchies - and demonstrate that, far from being anxious, they take pleasure (intellectual, imaginative, and erotic) in so doing. 

Analyzing these alternative ideas about sexual pleasure, Filo adds, can give modern readers ways to rethink how "natural" their sexual practices and ideologies are:

This period [1485-1685] is posed just before the consolidation of both modern identity-based models of sexuality and the ideal of companionate heteroerotic marriage, both of which are so naturalized as to be coercive in the way we understand sex today. As such, the exploration of alternate, unstable forms of pleasure and eroticism in the period gives a sense of the what-might-have-been, one that is quite different than the what-is.

UO's Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS) awards Celeste Reeb the 2019-2020 Jane Grant Dissertation Fellowship

Reeb's dissertation presentation photographReeb's "Captions: Reading between the Lines" is a provocative dissertation that explores the intersections of gender and closed captioning in American film and television. The project extends Reeb's research in sound studies, audience reception, and film and new media.


Stephanie Mastrostefano and Carmel Ohman land CSWS Research Grants

Mastrostefano has won a CSWS Graduate Research Grant for “Manufacturing Race at 24 Frames per Second: Creative Voice at the Intersection of Disney Animation and Audience." Mastrostefano's research interests include contemporary American popular culture, film and media studies, children's studies, women's and gender studies, and feminist studies.

Ohman has also won a CSWS Research Grant for “Beyond Binary Consent: Sex, Power, and Embodied Performance in U.S. Black Feminist Novels and T.V., 1975-2018." Currently a Doctoral Fellow for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada), Ohman works in twentieth- and twenty-first-century American literatures; race and ethnic studies; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; visual culture; literature and the environment; and rhetoric and composition.