Welcome to Graduate Studies in English at NDSU


Dear Prospective Students --

Thank you for your interest in Graduate Studies in English at North Dakota State University.

Our program offers a PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture and an MA in English. Most of our graduate courses are held in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate working professionals within driving distance of NDSU. We also offer an intensive, 1-week seminar in the summer, as well as one online or hybrid summer course. 

We recommend that you e-mail me and one or two other graduate faculty members in your area of interest prior to the formal application. We ask that you identify at least one professor who might be interested in working with you in your statement of purpose.

We also recommend that you find out which materials will be required of you at How to Apply. We pay close attention to the statement of purpose and the writing sample: the statement should reflect your familiarity with our program; your writing sample should be academic, in the discipline, and demonstrate your research skills.

Prepare your materials and gather your documents early so you need not worry about materials reaching us on time. NDSU uses an online application system. It is administrated through the NDSU Graduate School.

Our application deadline is February 1. 

Know, please, that the department cannot view applications until they are complete and have been processed by the Graduate School. Once all of your materials have been received and forwarded to us, we make our admission decision within a month after the February 1 application deadline. You will be notified of our decision during the first half March. 

We look forward to reviewing your materials!      

Adam Goldwyn, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies 

Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

The Ph.D in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture offers students the opportunity to pursue advanced, interdisciplinary study in a number of areas within the fields of rhetoric, writing, and textual and cultural studies. In addition to providing a robust core in theory, methods, and pedagogy, the program encourages students to develop a specialized research skill and engage in experiential learning options that prepare them for the workplace--in administrative roles, for teaching in a range of educational contexts, and as participants in the broader profession of English studies.

At NDSU, doctoral students work with faculty who have professional expertise in a variety of specialized areas: writing assessment, writing program administration, curriculum development, the impact of globalization on writing, technical and professional writing, usability and user experience, medical rhetoric and disability studies, feminist rhetorics, pedagogy, teaching English in the two-year college, applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, critical theory, women’s and gender studies, and textual and cultural studies.

Together, our faculty prepare students to become active participants in research and pedagogical conversations within the fields of rhetoric, writing, and cultural studies. We help to cultivate our students' ability to test and question hypotheses, to insist on deep inquiry, to navigate complex research problems, to use ethical and rigorous research methods, and to participate in scholarly conversations within the profession.
Students who complete the PHD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to interdisciplinary engagement across rhetoric, writing, textual and cultural studies
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of major conversations, theories, and theorists in rhetoric, writing, and textual and cultural studies
  • Demonstrate an ability to design and apply specific disciplinary and interdisciplinary research methodologies, such as:
    • Qualitative methods
    • Quantitative methods
    • Historical analysis
    • Discourse analysis
    • Rhetorical analysis
    • Cultural analysis
  • Identify significant texts central to their major strands of study within the field and develop and support arguments on questions important to scholars
  • Demonstrate knowledge of major pedagogical theories and debates within rhetoric, writing, and cultural studies
  • Engage in experiential learning that transfers and applies theoretical skills to practical, real-life work environments, be they academic, pedagogical, or professional
  • Demonstrate a trajectory for continued growth as a professional, including a sustainable research, writing, and teaching agenda

Our graduates most typically move into positions as writing program administrators and faculty in English and Communications departments. Click here to read some of our students' success stories. 

Degree Requirements
The PhD program requires 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree and a minimum of 60 graduate credits beyond the MA and at NDSU. 

  • Students must take a minimum of 30 credits at the 700- or 800-level. 
  • Students must take 48 of 60 credits at NDSU from within the Department of English. 
  • No more than 10 credits may be transferred into the program. 
  • Students with a master's degree in another discipline may be required to complete additional graduate course work in specific areas of English, as specified by their advisor and supervisory committee.

NOTE: PhD students are also required to record a three-minute dissertation video that shares their final project with a non-expert audience. An example of one such video can be found in the mp4 at the top of this page. Visit this link for additional guidelines from the Graduate School.

For more information, download our PhD Planning Worksheet and Curriculum Guide.

M.A. in English

M.A. in English
Our MA in English encourages individuality and collaboration as it prepares candidates for academic and non-academic careers. Graduates have gone on to top-tier PhD programs or opted to work for national and local nonprofits. Click here to read some of our success stories.

Degree Requirements
The Master of Arts program consists of 27 credit hours of letter-graded course work with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better, and (at least) a 3 credit Master's Paper. 

For more information, download our MA Planning Worksheet.



All required application materials must be received and processed by the Graduate School before your file is forwarded to the department for review. Incomplete files cannot be reviewed. It is your responsibility to make sure all materials have been received by the Graduate School. 

Application Deadline: February 1.  



  1. A $35 application fee
  2. All official transcript(s) (grade report) 
  3. Three (3) letters of recommendation (2 of which must be academic), addressing your abilities as a student and your potential for graduate work 
  4. An academic writing sample that demonstrates your abilities as a writer: a research paper (including citations) 
  5. A statement of purpose that includes the following:
    • how your education and/or life experience have prepared you for graduate work
    • research you plan to pursue
    • faculty members with whom you wish to study
    • coursework you plan to complete in the program
    • a sense of what you hope to do once you have completed a graduate degree in English
  6. A letter of interest in a teaching assistantship, describing your qualifications and prior experience, if any. If no teaching assistantship is desired, please state your source of outside funding.
  7. Official TOEFL or IELTS scores, English Proficiency Requirements for international applicant 
    • TOEFL ibT 100
    • IELTS 7

Note that the GRE is not required of any applicants. Interviews in person or via video software may be used to evaluate applicants to our graduate program. Once the department has completed its review, recommendations will be forwarded to the Graduate School and applicants will be notified. Final admission decisions are made by the Graduate School. 

For additional questions, contact the Graduate Program Director at verena.theile@ndsu.edu

Current Course Offerings


English 653: Social and Regional Varieties of English
MW 3:00–4:15 pm

 Dr. Bruce Maylath

Linguists now talk not about English as a language in the singular but rather World Englishes—linguistic varieties in the plural. This course examines today’s global lingua franca for business, science, entertainment, and international diplomacy; its diffusion to territories throughout the world; and its local character wherever it takes root as its users adapt English to their own needs. The course will highlight essential linguistic features, including the tensions between language for communication and language for local identity; the geographic, social, economic, and political factors of isolation, which give rise to language differences; the status of English(es) in the 21st century; and the phonetic, morphological, and syntactical features that distinguish language varieties.
Students will also be asked to examine emerging linguistic features in English at present and to consider where English is headed. All students, undergraduate and graduate, will read Wolfram & Schilling-Estes’s American English: Dialects and Variation. In addition, undergraduates will read Hughes, Trudgill, & Watt’s English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of English in the British Isles, which includes a CD of dialect voices, and Wolfram & Ward’s American Voices. Graduate students will read Kortmann & Schneider’s 4-volume Varieties of English: An Interactive Textbook, which likewise comes with a CD of dialect voices. Undergraduates and graduate students alike will discuss with each other in groups and in class what they have been learning from their respective readings so that each may gain insights from what the others are reading. All students will be assigned to read various topical articles and Websites posted on Blackboard. A primary research project will be a major assignment as graduate students lead undergraduates in teams investigating linguistic changes identified by the teams as currently unfolding

ENGL 654 Language Bias
Th 5:00PM-7:30PM

Instructor: Dr. Kelly Cameron

Course Description
English 454/654, Language Bias, examines the relations among gender, sexuality, race, power and language, and specifically how asymmetrical power relationships are reflected and sustained through language. The course requires rigorous reading, data collection, daily writing, and projects that explore interdisciplinary research methods, pedagogical practices, and applications of theory. Some of our course texts will include Robin Lakoff's influential work Language Wars and Cheryl Glenn's Unspoken: A Rhetoric of Silence. We will also read Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill's "Why I Choose to Write in Irish: the Corpse that Sits Up and Talks Back" and Ashleigh Shackelford's "Decolonizing My Pussy."

ENGL 682-01 Renaissance Literature: Pop Shakespeare in Theory and Adaptation
Tu 5:00PM – 7:30PM

Instructor: Dr. Verena Theile

Course Description
This course serves as an introduction to Shakespeare on the graduate level and as a theory-focused, in-depth study of Shakespeare at the undergraduate, senior level. Focusing on the plays, we will read Shakespeare in the context of both literary and adaption theory, paying close attention to early modern and pop cultural explorations of the plays. Specifically, we will look at the ways in which criticism and cinema have shed light on issues of contention in his writing (religion, faith, superstition, performance, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, marginality, social in-/exclusion, print culture). 
The books for the course include the Norton Anthology of Shakespeare's Plays (Greenblatt et. al.). Thomas Leitch's Adaptation and Its Discontents, Linda Hutcheon's A Theory of Adaptation, and Jonathan Gil Harris' Shakespeare and Literary Theory.  

ENGL 683-01 Topics in British Literature: Postcolonial Studies
Tu/Th 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Instructor: Dr. Anastassiya Andrianova 
Course Description                
This course offers intensive study of colonial and postcolonial writers central to the literature of Britain and the Commonwealth, with a focus on empire, gender, and nature, from a number of critical perspectives, including: postcolonial studies, feminism, ecocriticism, posthumanism, and animal studies. Students will become familiar with major debates in the field of postcolonial studies (such as the focus on national identity), key terminology (“orientalism”; “third world” versus “global “south”), key figures (Said, Fanon, Bhabha, Spivak), and critique (postcolonial scholars’ reliance on literary data; the discipline’s embeddedness in elitist neo-colonialist institutions), along with scope (where does the so-called “second world” fit in?). 
Course readings include: Achebe, Aidoo, Coetzee, Fugard, Hedayat, Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Soyinka, and others.

ENGL 755 Composition Theory 
Tu 5:00PM-7:30PM

Instructor: Dr. Mary McCall

Course Description
Composition  Theory is a reading intensive course focused on a historical overview of the emergence and formation of composition theory as it intersects with the rise of Composition as a discipline of study. We will investigate the ways that scholars have investigated some of the very foundations of what defines the discipline, including but not limited to conversations on the following:

  • Questioning relationships between composition with/in general English Studies (in the profession and in departments)
  • Defining the role of rhetorical theory in Composition (in its emergence and practice)
  • Developing (and adapting) methodologies to research, capture, understand and explicate writing
  • Understanding the relationships between texts, authors, language, and discourse (or disavowal of these terms altogether?
  • What challenges arise in the teaching of writing, and why? What are the limits and possibilities of those proposals that claim to address these challenges?
  • How can writing teachers best negotiate student identity in the composition classroom, especially issues of cultural, racial/ethnic, or linguistic difference? 
  • Some of the questions guiding this course are: How have theories-changed composition as a field? What is the relationship between theory and practice--and how do we go about maintaining that relationship? What is the realm and work of Composition?

By the end of the course, I hope you will have a greater understanding of how the field of Composition came to be, differences between theories and how these have shaped historical and contemporary issues/concerns of writing scholars, and the ways that theories shape how we define and perceive classrooms, writers, writing and our field of study (both its object and approach). One of my primary goals for this course is for you to be able to apply this knowledge to how you articulate and enact your scholarly and pedagogical orientations.

English 758: Teaching Composition in the Two-Year College
Tu/Th 2:00PM-3:15PM

Instructor: Dr. Holly Hassel

Course Description
Building on students’ developing knowledge of the teaching of postsecondary writing, this seminar will introduce participants to some of the key values, controversies, and features of teaching in open-admissions and two-year community, technical, or junior colleges. By delving more deeply into the work of teaching writing (and other courses) in two-year colleges, the course will expand students’ abilities to design, assess, and teach in a wide range of programs that are common in two year colleges. We will examine the role and function of two-year colleges in the public higher education sector, learn more about the diverse student populations who are served by these institutions--what Nell Ann Pickett called 'democracy in action."
The course offers students an opportunity for additional study of the teaching of writing including developmental writing, as well as principles to engage a wide range of learners. The last part of the course will familiarize students with principles of assessment that are key to evidence-based practices on the program, course, and text-levels, as well as the multiple sites of teaching and learning that predominate in the two-year college (developmental education, online writing instruction, writing studio, and dual credit courses). This course will be of interest to any students who are considering a career path in a teaching-intensive position in higher education.
Students will complete several activities in the course, including regular analysis and response papers; an interview project with a two-year college teacher scholar (from a list provided by the instructor of active teacher-scholars in two-year college English); and a seminar paper investigating a topic in depth and involving primary research or classroom research that is of personal significance to the student. 
Our course text is Teaching Composition at the Two-Year College: Background Readings, Bedford/St. Martin's. 2017, which is available as a complimentary resource from the publisher hereCourse readings will include articles and book chapters by Kathleen Yancey, Asao Inoue and Mya Poe, Mina Shaughnessy, Pierre Bourdieu, Ira Shor, Lynn Bloom, Paolo Freire, Lisa Delpit, bell hooks, Anne Beaufort, Mike Rose, Brian Huot, Ed White, Linda Adler-Kassner, Elizabeth Wardle, Howard Tinberg, and others.

ENGL 762 Critical Theory
W 5:00PM-7:30PM

Instructor: Dr. Adam Goldwyn

Course Description:
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with some fundamental questions regarding contemporary literary theories and practice, and to examine in-depth the various contemporary approaches to criticism.  By the end of the course, students should develop familiarity with these theories, should be comfortable in using the terminology of theories, and should achieve some felicity in the application of theories to a wide variety of texts.  Required course texts: The Norton Anthology of Theory & Criticism, 3rd ed., Eds. Leitch, et al., and How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies, 3rd ed., Robert Dale Parker.  Individual literary and critical theory monograph or anthology selections/ excerpts TBD.

FALL 2018

English 649: Usability and User Experience (3 credits)                                           
Th 5:00-7:30pm @ Minard 308

Instructor: Dr. Mary McCall
Email: marymccall@ndsu.edu

Course Description
This course will form the basis for teaching the core competencies for working in the English department UX lab. Additionally, it will be paired with a usability course collaborating in the Transatlantic and Pacific Partnership to create better documentation and to test UX documentation that is happening in other countries. 

Ideally, you will adopt two goals for this course: 1. You will want to talk the talk of a usability/UX expert through brainstorming, collaboration, and questioning. 2. You will want to create UX strategy documents and conduct usability research that captures insight and strategies for improving documents and other products that involve writing, inscription, and other language practices.

Our first, and primary goal, will be to help you become well versed in both UX and usability design concepts.  This means reading our class texts, learning the vocabulary, and becoming conversant in the discourse as it evolves online (this is a fast-moving discipline). In order to both learn and become reflective about the culture of usability and UX experts, you will write UX strategy documentation and reflective responses about our course readings and weekly discussions. To demonstrate your “walk” you will be creating a final usability report along with several smaller projects. 
English 655: International Technical Writing (3 credits)                                       
W 5:00-7:30 pm @ Minard 308

Instructor: Dr. Bruce Maylath 
Email: bruce.maylath@ndsu.edu   

Course Description 
The global economy has resulted in technical documents being globalized or localized (including translated) almost as a matter of course. To conduct or oversee the globalization and localization processes, technical writers need to know how cultures, languages, and rhetorical strategies differ for documents used in nations and language areas outside their own. In this course you’ll learn how to prepare English-language documents for use in other languages and cultures by working with usability testing students in Finland and translation students in Belgium, France, Greece, and Italy.
English 674: Native American Literature (3 credits)                                                 
TTh 3:30-4:45pm @ Minard 118

Instructor: Dr. Alison Bertolini
Email: alison.bertolini@ndsu.edu

Course Description
This course will expose you to a variety of texts by contemporary American Indian intellectuals, short story writers, novelists, poets, and filmmakers. We will also consider how native peoples are portrayed by non-native writers. Although genocide is central to the study of American Indian literature, the American Indian story is also one of cultural resistance and survival, deft adaptability and humor. These qualities, as well as anger and despair, surface in the native works we will study this semester. Some of the distinctive features to be explored include the continuation and survival of Native values and beliefs, the roles of women in Native American culture, and resistance against cultural and physical annihilation. Ultimately, American Indian literature will be seen in terms of its contributions to a more broadly defined mainstream American literary tradition.

Additionally, this class aims to equip you with the tools and strategies necessary to think about what you’ve read and communicate your perceptions and opinions thoughtfully and effectively. Through close reading, lively discussion, and classroom activities, students will gain a deeper understanding of indigenous peoples, their cultures, and students’ own relationship to these peoples. The completion of a substantial research paper will allow students to strengthen their skills in writing, thinking critically, and using source materials.
English 751 Tools for Academic Writing: Clarity and Style (1 credit)                            
8 Weeks: Oct 16 – Dec 8

Instructor: Enrico Sassi
Email: enrico.sassi@ndsu.edu                                                                                                                           

Course Description
The main purpose of this course is for students to learn and practice using specific strategies for writing clear, correct, and audience-appropriate academic documents. In addition, students will investigate writing expectations and analyze academic writing in their own disciplines. The class structure will follow the lessons in Joseph Williams’s Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace.

English 752  Tools for Academic Writing: Writing Your Manuscript (1 credit)                                                            Individual weekly meetings

Instructor: Enrico Sassi
Email: enrico.sassi@ndsu.edu
Course Description
This course is based on the assumption that individualized feedback is the most effective tool for students to improve their academic writing. This course leads students through a semester of intensive academic writing with extensive individualized feedback.
Students will do the following:

  • Develop a semester-long writing plan for a major paper or part thereof (e.g., disquisition, article for publication, grant application)
  • Obtain approval and guidance from their advisors
  • Write intensively, receiving weekly individualized feedback from a graduate writing consultant
  • Report to both their advisors and the Graduate CFW director to ensure they are progressing appropriately

English 760 Graduate Scholarship (3 credits)                                                                 
W 5:00-7:30pm @ Minard 318F

Instructor: Dr. Verena Theile
Email: verena.theile@ndsu.edu

Course Description
From MLA (Modern Language Association) to CCCC (Conference of College Composition and Communication), a number of organizations codify, organize, and discipline English Studies.  In their publications and websites there is a conversation about what constitutes good research and teaching practices.  In order to enter this conversation, one must have the tools. This class will introduce you to the lexicon and ways of knowing that comprise the field of English:

  • Understanding English Studies as a discipline.
  • Becoming familiar with NDSU’s English Department, its faculty, and how we fit in the larger field.
  • Developing an identity as an academic professional.
  • Conducting research in English Studies. 

Primary Texts & Course Materials

  • The Craft of Research Wayne Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams
  • English Studies: An Introduction to the Discipline(s), Bruce McComiskey (ed)
  • Graduate Study for the 21st Century: How to build an academic career in the Humanities, G. C. Semenza
  • A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
  • Faculty scholarship and CVs
  • Various professional articles that will be made available through Blackboard
  • MLA Handbook or access to the Purdue OWL

Written assignments for this course are designed to introduce you to the discipline and to buttress your seminar paper. In order, they include the creation of several professional social media profiles and weekly posts, four 1-page precis, one field report, a book review, a forum analysis, a CV, and a (collaborative) seminar paper (8 pages for MA students, 12-15 for PhD students), complete with bibliography and paper proposal.

English 764 Classroom Strategies for TAs (3 credits)                              
TTh 11:00am-12:15pm @ SE 314     

Instructor: Dr. Lisa Arnold
Email: lisa.arnold@ndsu.edu

English 765 Upper Division Writing: Pedagogy, Practice, and Technology (3credits)     
TTh 11a-12:30pm @ BB Fieldhouse 110

Instructor: Dr. Mary McCall
Email: marymccall@ndsu.edu

Course Description
We have four goals for the course: 1. To have you design a course and sketch out your strategies for teaching that course 2. To introduce you to the theory that will inform your approach to the particular upper-division class you are designing, 3. To have you articulate (through both meta-genres and micro-genres) both the course you design and the theory that informs its creation, and 4. To have you observe, practice, and reflect upon the components that go into a high-quality UDW writing course.
This graduate seminar should help you connect what you do in the upper-division writing classroom with two things: 1. The writing program here at NDSU, and 2. Writing theory and practices that can help you understand unify your approach. We will explore advanced disciplinary writing theory, pedagogy, and technology. You will get a chance to think about what you teach and why in discussions, class observations, and blog reflections. You will get a chance to pre-script a future upper-division writing class with textbook reviews, syllabus, and unit plan.

*English 790 Graduate Seminar: Empire and Film (3 credits)         
Th 5:00-7:30pm @ Minard 318F

Instructor: Dr. 
Rebecca Weaver-Hightower (listed under “Fraser” on Campus Connection)
Email: r.weaverhightower@ndsu.edu
Like to discuss movies, culture, and politics?  Then join me this fall for an exploration of empire and film.  Viewing a film a week and reading Ella Shohat and Robert Stam’s Unthinking Eurocentrism as well as selections from Weaver-Hightower and Hulme’s Postcolonial Film, we will discuss such timely issues as the politics of multiculturalism and identity, neocolonialism, colonial stereotypes, and images of race and ethnicity. 
We will watch familiar films, like Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and not so familiar films, like Battle of Algiers (1965); Hollywood films, like The Searchers (1956) and “Bollywood” films from India, like Earth (1998); contemporary films, like Tsotsi (2005) and classics, like Stanley and Livingstone (1939).  Do these films merely record events of empire?  Do they acts as agents of oppression, disseminating stereotypes?  Do they participate in anti-colonial and postcolonial resistance?  We’ll see. 
As well as practicing critically viewing and discussing film, we will—through daily writing assignments, regular writing workshops and three formal essays—work on writing about film like professionals.
Texts:  Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media, Routledge, 1995. 

Other readings (articles and book chapters) will be posted to blackboard

*English 797 Master’s Paper (1-3 credits)
English 899 Dissertation (1-15 credits)
Notify Michele if you are planning to register for disquisition credits. She will create a section for you under your advisor’s name and with the requested and appropriate number of credits.

*Note that the MA in English follows Plan B, as outlined by the Graduate School:

Plan B: Master's Paper/Comprehensive Study-based Master's
The Plan B master's student will develop a thorough understanding of existing knowledge and the ability to apply that existing knowledge to a problem of interest. Note that under this degree, the new knowledge being created is limited, and this is the primary difference between the Plan A and Plan B degrees. The precise nature of the individual creative component is defined by the program. Examples of possible creative components include a comprehensive paper, a portfolio, or an integrated field experience. Candidates for the Master of Arts degree will meet the general requirements and those specific requirements in the humanities or social and behavioral sciences; these typically include two years of a foreign language.

Each candidate would assemble a supervisory committee and pass a final oral examination. Following a successful defense, the candidate will compose an executive summary or assemble other appropriate documentation as defined by the program to be submitted to the Graduate School. This submission to the Graduate College is to be approved by the student's supervisory committee.

Past Course Offerings


English 692: Study Abroad in Scotland, England, and Ireland (1-3 credits)                               
May 15 – May 24, 2018

Faculty Leader: Dr. Verena Theile                  
Co-Leader: Mary Pull  
verena.theile@ndsu.edu                           Email: mary.pull@ndsu.edu

Course Description
This Study Abroad program will trace literature’s travel through time and examine how literature becomes part of pop culture, in film and TV adaptations, in stage performances, print history, and through public events or public places of commemoration and celebration. Together, we will explore, first in theory and in our US classroom and then in practice and in our Irish and UK immersive travel experience, how/why/to what extent a given literary text (this includes oral and written literature) has been echoed or is made to represent, preserve, and, in some cases, alter and impact a culture.

Course Objectives
Through a combination of close reading, film studies, in-depth online and on-site research, sustained discussion, and various written assignments (here and abroad):

  • We will explore literature as an immersive experience, in which audience and author interact and become co-producers of culture.
  • We will study how literature is both culturally embedded and representative of a culture.
  • We will examine how research, both primary and secondary, enriches literature, exposing it as a cultural phenomenon that derives inspirations from moments as well as locales, both in deliverance and consumption.
  • We will analyze how the goals of a given cultural adaptation might overlap, differ from, or extend the source text and how audience, auteur, and actors collaborate in literature’s performance.

Required TEXTS (plus 4 additional TEXT choices)

  • James Joyce. The Dubliners. W. W. Norton & Company; Norton Critical Edition (January 23, 2006)
  • JK Rowling. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic. 1998
  • Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. From Hell (Top Shelf, 2004) ISBN: 978-0958578349
  • Fodor's London 2018. 978-1640970045
  • Fodor's Scotland. 978-1101879641
  • Fodor's Essential Ireland. 978-1101880074

In addition to 8/9-days of exploring Irish and English culture and literature, the 2018 Study Abroad Literature and Popular Culture program requires attendance at all regularly scheduled pre-departure meetings (4 for undergraduate students and 5 total for graduate students).In addition, student travelers will complete the following written and oral assignments: a reading and a travel journal (to be submitted at the beginning and the conclusion of the trip, respectively), an author report and a cultural/site report (to be submitted prior to departure and delivered orally while abroad), and the collaborative creation and maintenance of a travel blog online (throughout the duration of the course, starting prior to departure and continuing through our studying abroad).Both morning and evening meetings (30min each) will take place daily while abroad. The course’s written work, the website, and course as a whole will be graded on a pass/fail scale.

English 790 Graduate Seminar: Summer Scholars Seminar (3 credits)
Teaching and Learning with Technology: Language, Writing, and Intercultural Skills, in the Classroom and Beyond”  
June 25 - 29, 2018; 
 daily 9am-4pm       

Instructor: Dr. Elisabet Arnó-Macià (Barcelona Technical University)
Email: elisabet.arno@upc.edu

Elisabet Arnó-Macià is associate professor of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, where she teaches technical communication courses to engineering students. For a number of years she has been involved in the use of technology for teaching and learning English in higher education, carrying out research, teaching and designing online courses and instructional material. Among other activities, she coordinated the Quantum LEAP (Learning English for Academic Purposes) project (2003-2012), which involved the creation of an online environment for the development of students’ academic English and critical thinking skills. She co-authored the textbook English for Academic Purposes: Learning English through the Web (Edicions UPC, 2001), and co-edited the book Information Technology in Languages for Specific Purposes: Issues and Prospects (Springer, 2006). Since 2012 she has been a member of the TAPP (Trans-Atlantic and Pacific Project), an international network connecting students and instructors who collaborate on projects for the development of communication and intercultural skills.

Course Description
As an integral part of our daily lives, technology has become an essential tool in education at all levels, transforming the ways in we teach language and writing. Faced with the evolution of technological tools and with the challenge of teaching generations of digital natives, teachers and researchers must make the most of technology to design effective courses and materials and especially, to help technology-savvy students use appropriate skills and strategies to support their learning.

After examining some theoretical perspectives on the use of technology for the learning of language and writing, this course will examine some real projects the instructor has been involved in, the design and teaching of online courses, the development of a versatile online platform for course and self-access work, and participation in a telecollaboration network of cross-cultural virtual teams (CCVTs), to help participants reflect on and develop their own perspectives on the use of technology in education so that they can critically approach their own technology-based projects. 

Key topics that will be examined in this course will include: (a) designing specialized language and writing courses for different disciplines, (b) designing and assessing materials for developing language and critical thinking skills, (c) fostering learner autonomy. The list of readings prior to the start of the course will provide a general theoretical overview which will help participants explore those topics from an informed perspective. Through different practical examples of projects and research studies, participants will reflect on a variety of questions, such as the following:

  • How has the evolution of technology affected teaching and learning practices? How can we harness technology to maximize learning opportunities? What are teachers’ and students’ roles and attitudes?
  • What can we use technology to help students develop different language, cultural and critical thinking skills? How can technology be related to learner autonomy and motivation?
  • How can we design specialized writing courses/materials using technology-based resources? What is involved in the delivery of online and blended courses? How can we balance disciplinary and language-related contents?
  • What is the rationale behind certain instructional designs based on the use of technology? How effective are they?
  • What challenges do we face when teaching “digital native” students to develop appropriate strategies for using technology in academic settings?
  • How can we use technology to bridge different types of “digital divides”?
  • What is involved in the setup of telecollaboration networks? How can we get students to collaborate internationally in cross-cultural virtual teams?
  • What are current interests in research on technology-enhanced language learning? What make appropriate topics and methods? What research (or action-research if we are practitioners) can we develop in our contexts?

This course has been designed with a dual focus on teaching practice and research, to suit different participants’ interests. Accordingly, the course assignment that participants will develop can involve either the design (or critical evaluation) of technology-based instructional activities or the planning of a small-scale research study focusing on an aspect of the use of technology to enhance learning.


English 652 History of the English Language
Meets M/W 3:00-4:15pm

Instructor: Dr. Bruce Maylath 

Course Description: 
Tracing the development of the English language from its Germanic origins to the present day, this course examines key episodes in the history of a small, tribal language expanded through colonialism to become today’s global lingua franca for business, science, and even entertainment. Events such as the blending of Anglo-Saxon with Old Norse, the infusion of French following the Norman Conquest, the Great Vowel Shift between Chaucer’s and Shakespeare’s eras, the proliferation of linguistic varieties through geographic and social isolation, the status of English(es) in the 21st century—all come into focus as students are asked to contemplate the question, How did English get this way?

Students will also be asked to examine emerging linguistic features in English at present and to consider where English is headed. All students, undergraduate and graduate, will read David Crystal’s The Stories of English. In addition, graduate students will read Crystal’s English as a Global Language, 2nd ed., and take turns leading discussions of it with the rest of the class. All students will be assigned to read various topical articles and Websites posted on Blackboard. A primary research project will be a major assignment as graduate students lead undergraduates in teams investigating linguistic changes identified by the teams as currently unfolding.

English 676 Topics in Am Literature: “
Race Science in the Long Nineteenth Century”
Meets Th 5-7:30pm 

Instructor: Dr. Gordon Fraser

Course description:
What is race, and where did it come from? In this seminar, students will explore recent scholarship on the emergence of a “race science” in the long nineteenth century. In particular, we will consider how a set of literary and scientific texts convinced ordinary people that phenotypical differences between human begins revealed innate differences. We will also consider the emergence of “fugitive” scientific discourses, which contested the so-called mainstream science of race in the United States. Students will read nineteenth-century authors including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Banneker, Martin Delany, Pauline Hopkins, and others. Students will also consider an array of scholarly perspectives, from the work of Britt Rusert to Bruno Latour. Graduate students will be expected to write a 20-25 page seminar paper. Undergraduate students will be expected to write a 10-page conference paper. [For undergraduates: completion of either English 317 or English 340 prior to enrolling in this course is highly recommended.]

English 686 Romantic Literature: “Romantic Autobiography”
Meets T 5-7:30pm

Instructor: Dr. Anastassiya Andrianova

Course Description:
In this course we will focus on the genre of Romantic autobiography, tracing its origins from Saint Augustine’s Confessions through various iterations in the Romantic period both in and outside of Britain. After grounding ourselves in the theory of autobiography (Philippe Lejeune’s “Autobiographical Pact,” Elizabeth Bruss, Eugene Stelzig), we will examine many different examples of this genre in British, French, German, Russian, Ukrainian, and American fiction and poetry, contextualizing them historically as well as critically, both within the broader autobiographical tradition and the development of literary and cultural studies.

So, for example, we will read William Wordsworth’s long autobiographical poem The Prelude (1799, 1805) both as an insight into the “Growth of a Poet’s Mind” (its subtitle) and an opportunity to introduce and discuss environmental criticism, relying on Jonathan Bate’s Romantic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environment Tradition (1991), which, according to prominent ecocritic Lawrence Buell, “inaugurated British ecocricism.” As part of our discussion of feminism, we will read Barbara Johnson’s analysis of women’s autobiography in “My Monster/My Self,” her close reading of Mary Shelley’s 1831 Introduction to Frankenstein. As part of our discussion of gender, we will read Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite (1980), along with Michel Foucault’s introduction and selections from Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble and Morgan Holmes’ “Locating Third Sexes” (Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, ed. Gilbert Herdt). For postcolonial studies, we will turn to The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789), Mikhail Lermontov’s semi-autobiographical novel A Hero of Our Time (1841), and Taras Shevchenko’s collection of poems Kobzar (The Bard, 1840). For the intersection of literature and medicine, we will read Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821).

We will proceed chronologically through primary readings while also bringing in contemporary readings and debates, thus researching and documenting the ongoing relevance of Romanticism and especially Romantic autobiography to today’s literary and cultural studies. Primary texts by: Augustine, Goethe, Rousseau, Equiano, Barbin, Mary Shelley, De Quincey, Byron, Keats, Lermontov, Shevchenko, Charlotte Brontë, Whitman, and others.

Relevant selections from secondary texts will be provided, and students will also be responsible for conducting their own research into their specific areas of interest. Course requirements include in-class presentations (teaching demos for graduate students), annotated bibliographies, and two short research papers for undergraduate students (5pp. and 10pp.) and one longer research project for graduate students (18-20pp.). All students will also be asked to compose and submit their own autobiographical sketches accompanied by brief theoretical analyses, explaining their rhetorical choices (e.g., autobiography, memoir, or semi-autobiographical fiction; first, second, or third person perspective) and contextualizing their work within the literary tradition of Romantic autobiography.

English 751 Tools for Acacemic Writing: Clarity and Style (1 credit)
Meets Th 5:30-7:10pm (for 8 weeks: Jan. 8 - Mar 2)

Instructor: Enrico Sassi

Course description:
The main purpose of this course is for students to learn and practice using specific strategies for writing clear, correct, and audience-appropriate academic documents. In addition, students will investigate writing expectations and analyze academic writing in their own disciplines. The class structure will follow the lessons in Joseph Williams’s Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace.

English 751 Tools for Academic Writing: Writing your Manuscript
Individual weekly meetings at the Graduate Center for Writers

Instructor: Enrico Sassi

Course description:
This course is based on the assumption that individualized feedback is the most effective tool for students to improve their academic writing. This course leads students through a semester of intensive academic writing with extensive individualized feedback. Students will do the following:

  • Develop a semester-long writing plan for a major paper or part thereof (e.g., disquisition, article for publication, grant application)
  • Obtain approval and guidance from their advisors
  • Write intensively, receiving weekly individualized feedback from a graduate writing consultant
  • Report to both their advisors and the Graduate CFW director to ensure they are progressing appropriately

English 756 Composition Research
Meets Tu 5-7:30pm

Instructor: Dr. Kelly Sassi

Course Description:
In Composition Research we will build on the research concepts (designing questions, using sources, building arguments) introduced in the Graduate Scholarship course. Specifically, we will survey the basics of research design and then explore various methods and methodology commonly applied in the field of composition. We will experiment with theoretical frames, practice analytical skills, and consider how to situate our work within broader conversations. The major assignment for the course is to compose a new research proposal for dissertation work or complete a scholarly paper on a research project already in process.

We will examine different methods of collecting data and will have access to the data from IRB-approved studies on various writing issues for hands-on application of the methodological approaches we will study. There will be opportunities to practice collaborative approaches to data analysis.

Throughout the course, we will consider the connections between theory, teaching, and research in composition, as well as how our work matters in broader contexts. Furthermore, we will consider the ethics of the choices we make in carrying out research in composition. In order to be prepared for this work, students should have completed IRB training prior to the start of the course.

Required Texts: 

  • Creswell, J. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
  • Nickoson , L. and M. Sheridan (2012). Writing Studies Research in Practice: Methods and Methodologies. Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Smagorinsky, P. (2006). Research on composition: Multiple perspectives on two decades of change. New York: Teachers college press.
  • One book to be chosen from a list of recommendations 
  • Selected articles

English 758 Topics in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture: “Participator Action Research Applied to Community Literacy” 
TuTh 2:00-3:30pm

Instructor: Dr. Kevin Brooks

Course description:
This course will look at practical and theoretical considerations and concerns for doing Participatory Action Research, especially as it relates to community literacy.  Students will read scholarship from rhetoric and composition, education, and anthropology in order to get a sense of the disciplinary differences and intersections, and they they will spend time in the community meeting potential partners and exploring possible research topics.   

Tentative Readings: 

English 762 Critical Theory
W 5:00-7:30

Instructor: Dr. Emily D. Wicktor

Course Description:
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with some fundamental questions regarding contemporary literary theories and practice, and to examine in-depth the various contemporary approaches to criticism.  By the end of the course, students should develop some familiarity with these theories, should be comfortable in using the terminology of theories, and should achieve some felicity in the application of theories to a wide variety of texts.  Required course text: Literary Theory: An Anthology, 3rd ed., Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan.  Individual critical theory monograph or anthology selections/ excerpts TBD.

English 766 Teaching Literature
M 5-7:30pm

Instructor: Dr. Verena Theile

Course Description:
English 766: Teaching Literature is aimed at introducing graduate and professional students to successful teaching strategies for the literature classroom. This course follows a genre-oriented approach and focuses on integrating student-teacher experiences in the reading and teaching of literary texts. That means that we will study literature alongside literary and pedagogical theory and practice the teaching of literature in front of our peers and, when possible, in undergraduate literature classrooms.

Our goal this semester is to explore and test ways in which college teachers can relate works of literature to students effectively and guide them toward theoretically informed responses to literature. We will discuss both practical and theoretical issues of literature instruction. Some of the questions we seek to address this semester are:

  • What do we teach when we teach literature?
  • Who’s our audience?
  • What are reasonable expectations for different level literature courses?
  • What’s the role of theory in the literature classroom?

Among our topics for discussion will be planning a literature course and writing an effective syllabus, motivating and engaging students, becoming proficient at a variety of instructional modes and pedagogies, designing paper topics and exam questions, commenting on and grading papers. Among the major projects for this class are: designing a course syllabus for a lower-level literature course, planning how to teach a text (or texts) in three different kinds/levels of literature courses, teaching examples of the various genres we will study together to an undergraduate audience. 

Tentative readings:

  • Blau, Sheridan D. The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers. 2003.
  • Charters, Anne, and Samuel Charters, eds. Literature and Its Writers. 2012.
  • Harmon, William, and Hugh Holman, eds. Handbook to Literature. 2011.
  • Showalter, Elaine. Teaching Literature. 2002.
  • Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today. 2014.
  • Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear.
  • Mary Shelley. Frankenstein.
  • Toni Morrison. Paradise.
  • Philip K. Dick. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
  • Alan Moore. Watchmen.



Rebecca Weaver-Hightower, PhD
Chair and Professor of English

Office: Minard 318G
Phone: 701-231-6587 
      Michele Sherman
      Administrative Assistant

       Office: Minard 318D
       Phone: 701-231-7143  

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