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University of Oregon

Intellectual Environment

Intellectual Environment

Graduate students in English at the University of Oregon enjoy the benefits of a mid-sized program, one that fosters close, mentoring relationships with faculty, as well as the resources of a major  research university. The department has two degree programs: a one- or two-year Master of Arts Degree  that offers breadth and flexibility and a five-year Doctor of Philosophy Degree that provides training in traditional literary studies, contemporary critical theory, and a range of emerging fields.  Ph.D. students also have the option to customize their graduate curriculum 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

Students and faculty in the English Department enjoy a stimulating and collegial intellectual environment. Rich conversation, creative collaboration, and interdisciplinary course offerings are the mainstay of the Department, as witnessed in the numerous teaching fellowships awarded to faculty for the development of new seminars, such as “Shakespeare, Gender, Opera,” “The Natural History of Modernism,” and “Contested Events in American Culture.”  Encouraged by a blend of new and veteran faculty and a generous collegiality that exists throughout the department, faculty and graduate students frequently form reading and discussion groups that reflect the broad range of their shared interests.  Groups that have been particularly active in recent years include the Medieval Studies Reading Group, the Renaissance Reading Group, Mesa Verde (Ecocriticism), the Comics Reading Group, the Theory Group, the Women’s Discussion Group, the Film Studies Reading Group, the Contemporary Poetry Group, and the Modernism Group.  The English Graduate Organization (EGO) also holds monthly brown-bag meetings that offer additional opportunities for graduate students and faculty to gather informally.

The English Department is able to offer graduate students diverse and flexible programs of study due to its strong partnerships with other divisions, departments, and centers throughout the university. Opportunities for interdisciplinary research exist with the  Comparative Literature Program, the Environmental Studies Program, Medieval Studies, the Theater Arts Department, and other centers on campus. Working closely other humanities units, the English Department annually sponsors a wide variety of guest lectures, symposia, and international conferences. In recent years the Department has hosted a symposium on Thing Theory; a Native American literature conference; the Global Baroque Conference; a symposium on Trans-American Critical Perspectives; the Walter Scott, Scotland and Romanticism Conference; and the Prospects and Problems of Globalization conference. Visiting scholars have recently included Cornel West, Cathy Caruth, Robin Kelly, David Lynch, N. Scott Momaday, Charles Bernstein, Cary Nelson and bell hooks. In addition, the English Department maintains a strong scholarly presence through its affiliation with several prominent publications, including the journal Comparative Literature, the on-line review Jump-Cut, and the Northwest Review, a tri-annual journal of literature, culture and the arts that is among the nation’s oldest and most esteemed literary reviews.

The English Department prides itself on maintaining a rigorous intellectual and professional program within a community of congenial and generous thinkers. The successes of our academic programs hinge on the dynamic intellectual environment of the English Department and the larger university.